Mireya Roman, junior civil engineering major, saw a need for a space to celebrate women in STEM and created an event to do just that. The event took place at the end of Women’s History Month on March 31 from 5–7 p.m. and included a talk by engineering professor Melodie Williams on her experience as a woman in a male dominated field, a quiz on the history of women in STEM at WWU, a question and answer section, and snacks.
Usually during Women’s History Month there is an event that celebrates and supports women in STEM, but when Roman found out that this year no one had planned such an event, she took action and planned the whole thing herself. Roman made the event open to men and women because she wanted it to not only encourage women, but to expose men to the issues women face in male dominated fields and to teach men how to stand up for women.
Roman has never had anyone discourage her from pursuing engineering, but she has experienced feeling out of place in such a male dominated major. She was once in a large engineering class with about 50 students, and yet she was one of only three women in the class.
“We need to have events like this to remind the women in engineering that they are not odd, it’s not weird. There’s nothing wrong with being a woman and liking math and physics,” she said.
Emily Carlton attended the event and is a senior civil engineering major. Carlton currently interns for a group called SCJ Alliance that builds urban gondolas, and says that her experience so far as a woman engineer has been positive both in the workplace and inside the classroom.
Carlton has experienced imposter syndrome because there are not many other women in engineering. However, she has come to realize that almost everyone feels imposter syndrome in some form and has learned to focus on the positives: “My professors have been very supportive, my classmates have been very supportive. We all support each other which is really important,” she said.
Roman emphasized that the event “connects students with each other as well as with professors. It allows those who don’t know how to speak up to learn how and to understand why, and it helps those who feel like the odd ones out to not feel like that but to feel like they’re exactly where they should be.”
Posted on April 12, 2022