This Irish Engineer Hopes To Encourage Young Women To Work In STEM
I had the pleasure of chatting with Meriel Engrand, a structural engineer with a degree from Cornell University currently working in Ireland.
Although more women are becoming engineers, it is still a career that has yet to reach gender parity. We talked about how often young girls aren’t encouraged to explore careers in STEM, and how that is changing. We also discussed the importance of role models and how her years as a Girl Scout impacted her life. Not only was Engrand a Girl Scout, but she worked to achieve the Silver and Bronze awards—which are among the highest honors within the Girl Scouts. Plus, her mom was a troop leader. As an adult, Engrand worked as a summer camp counselor, which brought her love of the Girl Scouts full circle.
Before moving to Ireland, Engrand volunteered with Engineers Without Borders, which functions similarly to Doctors Without Borders in that engineers from all over the world contribute their expertise in the places that need it the most. During our talk, she shared how encouraging it was to help design and build a bridge that made the way of life for the village she was working in so much easier.
I was also struck by Engrand’s approach to engineering. Rather than simply thinking about the technical aspects of whatever project she’s working on, she really takes the time to consider who will be using and benefiting from what she’s building. This type of consideration and forethought plays a large role in the final outcome of the project and is what sets Engrand apart as her career continues to advance.
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“All of the opportunities and accomplishments I spoke about would of course not have been possible without support from others,” Engrand says. “My mom has always been my primary example of a strong woman who can do anything she sets her mind to. She moved to a different country on her own, raised three kids with just her and my dad since we had very little extended family nearby, worked full time, and led both my troop and my sister's troop. As I've grown up, and especially after moving countries, I've become more and more in awe of her strength, confidence, and heart. I wouldn't be where or who I am without her.”
I hope you’ll enjoy my interview with Engrand, as well as the others in our Inspiring Women Series.