February 25, 2021

According to the Society of Women Engineers, females who earn their engineering degree are less likely to work in engineering professions than men. In fact, nearly 40% of female engineers leave the engineering workforce by the middle of their career.

So, what can we do to address the issue? We caught up with a few of our female engineers to learn more about their experience in the field and find out what advice they have for future women engineers.




How are women changing the image of engineering?

For a very long time, and honestly even still today, engineering has been a man’s world. When I graduated from Purdue University, roughly 22% of my civil engineering class was female, and a minuscule amount of that 22% represented women of color. I think that by continuing to advocate for other women, encouraging one another to go after positions of power, and fostering the desire in the next generation of women to pursue STEM careers, we are slowly diversifying the field of engineering in a fantastic way. Just four years after I graduated from the civil engineering class at Purdue, enrollment by women was up to 28%, and that’s an encouraging sign that we are making an impact.

Allison Hampton, P.E.
Structural Project Engineer
Building Engineering
Nashville, TN



What do you see on the horizon for women in engineering, and what advice do you have?

Women are changing the image of engineering because we are proof that there is no “stereotypical” engineer. Engineers come in all sorts of packages! My advice to women in engineering is to look for opportunities for growth and advocate for women in leadership roles.

Jessica Lucyshyn, P.E.
Executive Vice President & Market Vice President
Land Planning
Nashville, TN



What can be done to increase the number of women in engineering and technology leadership roles?

I think that highlighting women who currently serve in engineering and technology leadership roles will encourage young female engineers to pursue a career path. These women have paved the way for women in engineering, and I think it’s important to hear how they got there. For me, transparency is key. I believe female leaders need to be advocates for young female engineers—whether it’s sharing their experiences as a woman in engineering, discussing how they have handled challenges along the way, or what we can do to move forward and change the gender dynamic in engineering.

Lily Moritz, E.I.
Civil Engineer-in-Training
Land Planning
Nashville, TN



What made you want to become an engineer?

Construction always fascinated me as a kid, although I had no idea what an engineer did. The encouragement I received from my high school math and science teachers was incredible. As soon as I took my first engineering class in college, I fell in love. I believe I can truly make an impact in my community being an engineer!

Katie Nolan, P.E.
Vice President
Water + Environment
Cincinnati, OH



How are women changing the image of engineering?

Women are changing the image of engineering in the same way that our country is experiencing a change. From the first female vice president to the first full-time female NFL referee to work the “Big Game,” we are showing the upcoming generations that anything is possible once you set your mind to it! As a mom to two young daughters, I am thrilled they are seeing these events firsthand.

As women, we can accomplish great things in the engineering field—breaking through glass ceilings and past stereotypes to become leaders. Gender should not be a factor in what one can accomplish. Instead, factors such as perseverance, patience and drive provide the fuel to accomplish one’s dreams. Women in the engineering field today embody these qualities and are proving that we are capable of anything. We can be successful and impactful in both the engineering field and in our society. The more women pursue careers in engineering, the more the perception and image of women in the industry will change, and women who pursue diverse careers pave the way and inspire our colleagues, children and other women to pursue dreams in science, technology and engineering.

Rachel Westerfield, P.E., CFM
Senior Engineer
Jackson, MS