Engineer Your Life (The Blog)
Today we have another birthday that all of us at EYL are happy to celebrate. Women’s right to vote and run for office, aka suffrage, became law 90 years ago today. The thought that only a couple of generations ago, women were denied the right to cast an official opinion on the way their city, state, and country were governed; not to mention their environments, the livelihood and education of their children, etc... it’s just mind-boggling.


It’s not something we think about often these days. Ninety years (although a short time in the grand scheme of American History) is long enough to dull the memories of a time when people actually believed that women’s brains and judgment skills were inferior to men.


Here’s the sad, sobering truth. There is a small population of (fools) who sort of still believe this type of thing. It’s the reason women still make less than men to do the same work. The reason sexual harassment still rears its ugly head in the workplace. The reason the percentages of women who hold political office (or sit in the corner office) are still low.


What can we do about it EYL team? First and foremost, let’s be mindful.

Let’s remember today's anniversary and be mindful that rules are meant to change and stereotypes are just noise. That women make fantastic engineers and scientists. That the lab and the field and the history books have plenty of room for the ladies.


If you’re feeling frustrated or lazy, think back to 90 years ago today, when women just like us stood up and said no more. When we were (finally) handed the pen and the power. Let's keep using it girls. 

Thanks to our friends at Vision 2020 for reminding us about this important milestone!


Dream big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.

Have you taken the Engineer's Pledge? Why not? Help us strengthen the future of engineering and help more girls become interested in the field. Go to our Facebook page and "like it to take the pledge!




As the summer winds down and school days approach, we’re sharpening our pencils and thinking about getting back to class. Being on campus. Which made us think. We talk a lot about engineering as a career, how interesting it is, how enjoyable, how important. Yet we have not said enough about the process of becoming an engineer, how that in and of itself is a journey different from what one might think.

Like the field of engineering, the course of study that goes along with engineering is misunderstood and riddled with misconceptions of long, lonely nights in the computer lab or dry projects drowning in numbers and formulas. Yes, engineering is a course of study rooted in mathematics and theory, yet it is also a creative major filled with opportunities to create and explore.

Take Harvard. Harvard’s engineering program promises students they can be “part Einstein and part Edison.” We like that. And we all know the good people in Cambridge  Massachusetts know what they are talking about.  There’s group projects, interactivity, creative problem solving, the chance to study abroad and a future after college filled with lucrative, meaningful job opportunities.

Take a look at what the course of study really is like when you study engineering at school. It’s probably a little different than you think. It’s more than your hands on a computer or your fingers on a protractor. It’s a hands dirty, fingers on the pulse type field. Check out what these real life female engineering students have to say about it.

It’s fun. It’s cool. And it’s something we’re betting you just might like. Think about it. Look into it.

Dream big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.

BTW, have you taken the Pledge? Do you want to help promote engineering as a career and a major and get other girls on board? Then “like” our Facebook page and take the pledge!!/pages/The-Engineers-Pledge/139865679358530?ref=ts

Now, this is cool.

Engineers make things. We all know that. Yet, what engineers make most is a difference. They conceive, create and design technologies and applications that change people’s lives. Here at WGBH, they’re doing it at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Where you wish upon a star. The mouse’s house. Disney World.   

Ah, can’t you just see it now. The character shaped balloons swaying on Main Street, Cinderella’s castle sparkling in the distance.  

But wait. Pause for a moment.   

Have you ever thought what it might be like being at Disney World if you couldn’t see?   

For those without sight, Disney World is a very different experience. Helping these guests take in the wonder of the park is something that requires some creative thinking on the part of some of Walt Disney World’s most magical cast members; the engineers.   

Working with some of my (amazing) colleagues here at WGBH, Disney’s engineers have come up with an innovative solution to the challenge of helping blind guests enjoy the park more fully. The device, a handheld navigation and audio guide, provides detailed descriptions of the physical makeup of the park, from the practical (aka “turn left here” type stuff) to the magical (an elaborate description of Fantasyland). 

Check out this cool youtube video for more information.

We told you it was cool. 

PS Feeling warm and fuzzy about the field of engineering? Wish you could do something to help spread the word that engineering rocks? Then take the Engineer’s Pledge, our new initiative to help support the field of engineering by banishing stereotypes and polishing its image.Go to our Pledge Facebook page and “like it.”  Thanks much. Dream Big. Disney big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life. 






EYL troops; today, we must admit. We’re tired.

We’re tired of the notion that girls have to be one or the other. That we have to be a beauty OR an intellectual. That we have to be an athlete OR a ballerina. That we couldn't possibly know how to expertly apply both lipstick and a scientific theory. That we can’t hold a baby in the morning and a board meeting in the afternoon. 

Puh-leeze. After a while this all starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Waah, Waah waah waah……

This is 2010. Two-thousand-and-ten. Well into the 21st century. Yeah. And sadly enough, these foolish, outdated, stifling notions still seem to creep into society and the minds of both young (and old) girls and boys.

It’s crazy talk. Ignore it.

If you're ever feeling tired of the babble, think about the following:

  • For almost 200 years the Supreme Court did not have one female on its bench. By the end of this week, they’ll most likely be three. (NY Times)
  • The author Jhumpa Lahiri (who looks like a movie star) received a Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, a Guggenheim fellowship and a James Beard award for her book Interpreter of Maladies. It was her first book.
  • Long distance runner Pamela Reed once ran 300 miles without sleep. Her male counterpart, Dean Karnazes, has twice attempted to run 300 miles without sleep — and failed. Pamela has five kids.

  • Marissa Meyer, Google’s first female engineer, helps run one of the most powerful countries in the world. She has been compared to Grace Kelly for her elegance. She has been featured in Vogue and Glamour. She is 35 years old.

  • Maya Angelou was the first poet to speak at an inauguration since Robert Frost spoke at JFK’s. She isn’t really interested in people telling her she has to be one thing or the other. When asked who her first male love interest was, she has been known to answer “Mr. William Shakespeare.”

Ok, we’re awake now. We hope you are too. And trust us, there are many, many, many more examples of women who perk us up better than a jolt of caffeine.

So, remember. You are not cardboard cutouts or cartoon characters. You are not a stereotype or somebody else’s notion of who you should be. Remember that endless, boundless possibilities await you girls next year, the next ten years, and for the rest of your life.

You know we are going to say next. Dream Big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.