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Why I Became an Engineer: I Became an Engineer: Because of the Society of Women in Engineering and a Little Entropy.

To all the readers who are outliers, or have randomly found engineering, I hope my story resonates with you. I have always been an individual who was fascinated by many things. I have always liked science, but in high school, I was a four-year varsity athlete, who played the baritone horn in marching band and spent almost six months as an exchange student in Hamburg, Germany.

As I looked into colleges and possible career choices, I was lucky to have a guidance counselor that suggested I apply for an engineering scholarship through the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE). Growing up, I had limited exposure to the field of engineering and did not know any engineers. But my counselor said it would be a good fit for me with my strong math and science skills. I also had an interest in chemistry, journalism, and pre-med, and considered pursuing these majors in college. Fate had other plans for me. I received an acceptance letter to the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and I was elated. I always liked to be challenged and knew that engineering would a new opportunity for me. The decision was made!

I entered the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois and became an active member of the school's SWE chapter. In the group, I was able to connect with my fellow female engineering students. Many of us came from a similar background and had limited exposure to engineering before college. We experienced a lot of the same challenges with classes, encouraged each other to work hard and stay with engineering. It was a wonderful experience to start and finish my undergraduate engineering program with my fellow SWE members. I am still in contact with some of them today.

In 2004, I graduated with a BS in Materials Science in Engineering. Since then, I have worked as a materials engineer supporting litigation activities at Bodycote Materials Testing and lead failure analysis on electronic solutions at Molex. In July 2019, I will celebrate my thirteenth anniversary at Molex. I have also earned my MBA in Marketing and International Business, and I am responsible for four highspeed mezzanine connector product lines.

Today, I enjoy communicating the practical applications of engineering. Engineers can have a successful career designing, optimizing, diagnosing, funding, and tooling ideas. As the technological needs of our society have changed, the demand for engineers has only increased. At Molex, I am proud to co-lead our engineering recruiting efforts at the University of Illinois, representing Molex at SWE event and I am on the board of directors at the SciTech Hands On Museum.

I like to think it was SWE and a little bit of serendipity that brought me to engineering. I enjoy sharing my story, because along the way, I realized an engineering degree is an excellent foundation for a fulfilling career. I am always solving a problem. Today, I still encounter and speak to kids who have limited knowledge of what an engineer does and the industry overall. I am working to help educate those kids. If my message resonates with one individual who wants to proactively solve problems, and wants to embrace a little entropy, I hope they will consider becoming an engineer too.


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Author:Dytko-Madsen, Nadine
Publication:ECN-Electronic Component News
Date:Jun 1, 2019
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