Happy International Women in Engineering Day! Now in its seventh year, this special day celebrates women in engineering, while encouraging people all over the world to help raise the profile of women in engineering and to persuade girls and young women to consider engineering as a profession.
At Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, we are extremely proud of our women in engineering and the work they do every day to enhance the guest experience, bring innovation to our airfields and terminals, and strengthen our regional economic impact.
What inspired some of them to pursue engineering?
Sarina Stoor, Resident Engineer, says that when she was in 8th grade, “I wanted to be in the “Project Lead The Way” engineering program in high school and was told my grades weren't good enough to be in the program. I loved math & science and was determined to pursue engineering. Once I got into the engineering program at Drexel, my grades went up because I was in classes that had topics that interested me and I was eager to learn. I started at PHL as an intern and came back because of the opportunity to learn and grow in my career. There are so many different aspects of engineering that take place at PHL.”
For her part, Sobi Babu, Engineering Specialist, mentioned that it was her mom’s encouragement to become the first women engineer in her extended family what led her to pick engineering as her career. “Since we have lot of women in our department, I feel like women are not a minority anymore. By improving the facilities at the airport, I am actually helping people from all around the world.”
“I decided to pursue Construction Management because I wanted to make a difference in the world and be able to convert ideas on paper into reality,” mentioned Jacqueline Pawlowski, Construction Engineer, and whose personal mantra is ‘do what is right, even if it's not popular’. She also said that what she enjoys most about the airport is “interacting with contractors in a collaborative fashion, followed by seeing the fruits of my labor each time I fly out of PHL” and that she helps shape the world “by encouraging more women to pursue this career and to be aware they will be as successful as their male counterparts.”
What advice would you give women entering engineering and similar industries?
Api Appulingam, Deputy Director of Aviation, Capital Development, says that, “I live by this motto: when one door closes another opens and if it doesn’t open then kick it down! One piece of advice I would give to women is to not be afraid of saying yes to an opportunity that comes your way, even if it’s challenging and unfamiliar. Every opportunity will help grow your talent and career and help you kick that door down!”
“Be confident in your abilities. Engineering shapes the world we live in and finds solutions to modern day problems. Each project is unique from planning, to design and construction. After closing a project, look back to learn lessons from your mistakes, solutions and achievements, and implement the techniques if applicable in future projects. Each project is like giving birth to a new child. You have such a good feeling after seeing the end product,” stated Babu.
According to the Society of Women Engineers, “women have increased their numbers in many professions previously dominated by men, including law, business, medicine, and other STEM fields in the United States; however, the number of women in engineering in the U.S. has not increased since the early 2000s.” Currently, less than 20% of engineers in the workforce are women.