"Raytheon addresses some myths that keep women out of tech fields." check out below.
|Valecia Maclin decided in the 8th grade to become an engineer after her father showed her how he turned drawings into creations.|
What's a typical "engineer" look like? Some might picture a cubicle-dwelling, introverted nerd. And engineers are also all men, right?
For those whose only exposure to engineers is watching the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," here's a dose of reality: engineers are men and women from every walk of life, and they are as diverse as the rainforest. And to prove it, Raytheon.com turned to some of our own employees to debunk some of the more common myths about women in engineering.
Myth No. 1 — You’ll be the only woman in the office.
Not true. When Angela Juranek began her career at Raytheon in El Segundo, California, 21 years ago, she was surprised to see more women engineers at work than at school. On her current assignment, which involves the assembly of a spectrometer, a device that analyzes the wavelengths of light, Juranek manages the program with three team leads -- all of whom are women.
Juranek said the secret to advancing your career, regardless of gender, is that you have to be hungry for advancement and set goals. Many of our female engineers belong to an employee organization called the Raytheon Women’s Network, which holds conferences and seminars to support them.
“You have to own your own career. You have to ask for those hard assignments,” said Juranek, a senior manager in mechanical engineering at Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems business.
Juranek said that career-minded women can find allies in senior women. She mentors many herself, guiding them in ways to advance professionally and personally.
“You don't have to be aggressive to succeed as a woman in engineering,” she said. “But you do have to believe in yourself and exude confidence, because then you will project that.”
Myth No. 2 — Women don't occupy top positions in engineering.
False. At Raytheon, women lead the engineering departments of two of the company's four divisions: Laura McGill at Raytheon Missile Systems and Danielle Curcio at Raytheon's Integrated Defense System's business. Women also hold top positions throughout the company, like Valecia Maclin, a cybersecurity program director at the Intelligence, Information and Services business.
In the 8th grade, Maclin’s teacher assigned her to write a paper on "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up." Maclin planned on writing about her ambitions to become a doctor…then she had to dissect a frog. Soon thereafter, her father, an aerospace mechanical engineer, took her to work, and her term paper topic and career plans changed STAT. She was hooked on engineering.
"He showed me designs that he had drawn on paper, and then showed me the finished product," Maclin said. "I was inspired by how he was able to make something on a piece of paper come to life, and he was doing it for a noble cause—to protect our men and women in uniform. Also, it didn't hurt that he had a really big, nice office."
Maclin has risen through the ranks during her career in engineering through a combination of technical, financial, people and leadership skills.
"Math is a great equalizer, because it's not subjective. There's a right answer and a wrong answer," she said. "It's problem solving and coming up with solutions."
But number crunching isn't all engineers do. Which, Maclin said, busts another myth: "I think there's a misconception that engineers sit in dark rooms and don't get much sunlight. But there's nothing further from the truth. We're still a people business. I love building relationships and working with people."