***Editor’s Note: The “I Became an Engineer” blog runs every Friday. To share your story email email@example.com***
This week’s story comes to us from ECN reader Patty Felts, principal product manager—product strategy, cellular, u-blox Americas.
As a kid, I gravitated toward math and science, I really enjoyed it.
My dad was a civil engineer. Often he would bring work home and invite me to help him with simple tasks. Examples were growing spores in a petri dish and counting their growth after a few days, or reading a strip chart recorder of water flow measurements (those were the old days!). On a few rare occasions, he also brought me with him to work to show me his office and tasks in the field (this was before the days of ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day,’which we now have in U.S.). This greatly influenced me.
My mother instilled in me that I would be educated, graduate from college, and support myself and my family. It wasn’t an option.
I attended an all-girls private high school, Girls Preparatory School, in Tennessee. In that environment, all girls are encouraged to follow their dreams, all leadership positions are filled by girls, we were programmed to go-for-it and to achieve. One hundred percent of students went on to university (that also was not an option). There weren’t any boys around so we never had any stigma, competition, embarrassment, or discouragement from STEM topics.
In high school, my chemistry class went on a field trip to the Tennessee-American Water Company, a water treatment facility. The tour guide was a chemical engineer. He showed us the unit operations of how raw or used water is treated/cleaned and then released into the river. On that trip, I decided on chemical engineering—that was it. The lightbulb went on!
I graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga., with Bachelor of Chemical Engineering.
Graduating is one of my proudest accomplishments. I think my graduating class was 20:1, male:female (something like that).
Fast forward ‘too many years than I care to tell you’…and here I am.
Read other stories, here:
- A Note From The Editor: An Engineer’s Story
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