2018 Women in Engineering Empowerment Essay – Arika N Arnzen

In November, I stood before my elementary school to present what it means to be a software engineer. The boys and girls were so excited, bubbling with questions about designing games and what computer viruses really are. I was thrilled and I wanted individuals with their enthusiasm to take engineering by storm, indifferent of the stereotypes imposed by our society, so I gave them hope and excitement. A small individual step toward a future where engineering can be an equal opportunity.

Through my previousresearch into the gap between women and men in STEM, I have felt that there are several specific changes that need to be made to improve the representation of engineering.More resources should be invested into mentorship programs for women in engineering, marketing should better describe and advertise classes for men and women, and the lack of women in engineering should be made more apparent to the public to gain more support for this issue. Along with those suggestions, conventions and conversations should be held in regard to the misconceptions about engineering to shed light on the opportunities offered and dispel the geeky/techie stereotypes. Women currently in industry should also be supported and presented as role models and mentors to younger women. It’smost important to make this issue known to institutions and society that may not be realizing what is pushing women away from computer science. Once institutions realize these issues, they can take steps toward supporting women, adding diversity and new ideas to the ever-advancing world of engineering.

I see the representation of women in STEM being reshaped in the future though small acts also, like when I presented to my old elementary school about engineering, or when I was also featured in a video promoting software engineering, which is displayed at WSU’s website for software engineering. Each small act toward promoting engineering will make a difference, because once young girls and boys are given examples to look up to, they aspire to be like the people they see and admire. This idea can be effectively deployed when people see the problem that needs to be solved and understand the significance behind a solution.  There will always be obstacles in solving problems. There will be men and women alike who do not see the issue and who choose to overlook something they feel will never change. These people can only be made aware of these problems with the hope that they will realize what is true. People in today’s society need to be informed of the issues that are still present so that the reality of the lack of women in engineering is in the open. With a thoroughly educated society, people will stand up for what is right, that is humanity itself. Women have a bright future in engineering alongside men, and I have hope that people will realize the differences they personally can make, and will have the courage to step forward to do so.