International Women in Engineering Day 2020

National Women in Engineering Day was launched for the first time in the UK on June 23, 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Since that launch in 2014 the day has grown enormously over the subsequent years to the point where it received UNESCO patronage in 2016. 

In 2017, National Women in Engineering Day became international for the first time due to the interest and enthusiasm developed by the international audience and participants in the previous years. International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) was born to enable the celebration of women in engineering to become global.

The theme for this year is #ShapeTheWorld.  This is an opportunity to share stories of how engineers shape the world and help make our planet a better, safer, more innovative and exciting place to be.

At Rani, we are very lucky to extremely talented female engineers with up to 31 years of experience. The group was asked the following:

  1. Can you briefly explain what project you are currently working on and its impact on society?
  2. What is your career highlight so far?
  3. What would you like people to know about being an engineer that they might not already know?

Kaylyn Haley, PE

  1. I am currently designing the storm sewer for sections on the Twin Ports Interchange in Duluth MN. They call it “The Can of Worms”. The project will ultimately improve safety of the roads at the major connection of I-35, TH53, and TH535, along with multiple other improvements in the area. My part in the project will realign the coffee creek tunnel to a new locations, along with storm sewer improvements and storm water treatment.
  2. Working on the large projects, such as TH 371 and Twin Port Interchange.
  3. Engineering is more than just math, like more people think. It is making the world an more efficient functioning environment one project at a time.

Heather Spencer, PE

  1. I am currently working on the Twin Ports Interchange.  This project will ease traffic congestion and provide for safer travel in Duluth when it is complete.
  2. Providing full civil engineering for a complete hospital campus redevelopment in Gosford NSW Australia. It was a complex project involving a large team and the hospital had to remain operational throughout construction.
  3. It’s not all about math. There’s a fair bit of communication required to be a good engineer.
Head shot of Joey Lundquist - Tranporation Engineering Group Leader

Joey Lundquist, PE

  1. T.H. 14 Springfield, MN – the road is being resurfaced from T.H. 71 to the east end of Springfield, with sidewalk and pedestrian ramps being added/upgraded through Springfield. There are also 3 snow fences that are being replaced on the west side of Springfield (that minimize snow drifting across the road in the winter).
  2. Everything I have done as an engineer is a highlight. It is more interesting than I thought it would be in high school. I really like coming up with creative solutions to problems and seeing projects constructed that I worked on – especially ones that take several years to construct and significantly help others lives (adding trails and sidewalks, making the roads safer, or removing a bottleneck.
  3. It helps to like math – I use a lot of algebra and geometry, but not much calculus.

Yoko Nomura

  1. I am currently working on projects for road reconstruction and ADA improvements to sidewalks.  Improved design can provide safer and more enjoyable spaces for everyone including vehicles, bikers, pedestrians, and those with wheelchairs.
  2. For about a year, I had help from a couple of younger engineers to complete several projects. It was a great learning experience to understand how trust plays out in project management and to see my weakness and strengths from a different angle.  It became my career highlight thanks to the great personalities of those two engineers and my supervisor at that time.  I recently entered a new field and work under other people again, but I feel that those experiences I had in that year is helping me be a better team player.
  3. Many tasks are tedious, repetitive, and not so grandiose.  Every small task is an important element to completing a big project successfully. It is vital for engineers to create an environment where team members can communicate openly. If there is any fear or doubt in the team (like the small fears and doubts we have in daily life), it undermines the efficiency and successful completion of work and in the worst case, the safety of the public.

Becca Welch

  1. Right now the projects that I am working on are mostly MnDOT reviews for the I-94 design-build projects. These projects help improve and maintain the public infrastructure people use every day.
  2. A career highlight  would be getting to go to the water resources conference. Its really great to learn and share with others in the field.
  3. It’s very collaborative. I remember in school there were plenty of people who just wanted to do everything themselves, but  once you’ve graduated you’re always working in a team.

Savannah Hintsala

  1. Currently, I am assisting with a wastewater odor control study (glamorous, I know). We are collecting samples and taking pH and temperature readings to monitor the effectiveness of an added chemical that is meant to reduce levels of chemicals that create odor. Sanitary sewer manholes and pipes are everywhere throughout our cities and by reducing odor, the comfort and health of the public is improved.
  2. My career highlight so far has been the mentoring that I have received. I have grown so much since I started my career because of the support and encouragement that has been given to me. I love that I am pushed to strive for more, to have pride in my ideas and embrace that there is always something to improve upon to become a better coworker, engineer, and individual.
  3. Being an engineer is more than just crunching numbers, drafting and designing things. It is also learning how to work with others collaboratively, acknowledging and growing from weaknesses and mistakes, and supporting your teammates. The strength of the team is what really creates good work.