Today marks International Women in Engineering Day 2021 – an occasion that seeks to celebrate the work and achievements of women engineers. This year has put a particular focus on womens’ engineering heroes. Eve Cassidy, who works with Kirby Group Engineering thought carefully before nominating a group of people she felt fit the bill.
“In my undergraduate engineering course there were around 20 young women in a class of about 120 students. We were a force of nature when we got together and we had a collective attitude of ‘well if they can do it, why can’t we”, when it came to any project or situation. Arriving in college and meeting these other young women who thought like I did, who were interested in how things worked, just like I was, was so exciting. Each one of these women has gone on to have a great career in engineering, including civil, biomedical, chemical and more, and they have been a wonderful source of support for me. These friends are undoubtedly my Engineering Heroes.
Before college, I didn’t really have a role model in the engineering world. I used to get my fix of learning how things worked by watching shows like Grand Designs, Room to Improve, and anything construction-related on the Discovery Channel. It didn’t occur to me then that the stars of these shows are men for the most part.
I had male and female relatives working in sectors that had an element of engineering in them and I was always fascinated by their jobs. I was happily checking out structures around the house and garden while travelling on my tractor when I was four and in secondary school. I loved maths and technical graphics.
Now, as my experience and skillset grow, it’s dawning on me that my friends and I have the opportunity to play the part of role model to today’s female students and graduates. I really feel for the young people facing into Leaving Cert assessments and exams this year and their 2020 counterparts, because it couldn’t have been easy to find the time or headspace to figure out what was the right course for them. If it’s any help to girls and women out there who are facing the change of mind deadline for the CAO on July 1st – if you are considering an engineering course, I say go for it. My engineering heroes and I are proof that sometimes, even if you can’t see it – you can be it, and become the hero that other young people need.