The field of Engineering has historically been male-dominated. Names such as James Watt, Nicola Tesla, the Wright Brothers, Elon Musk and James Watt are often some of the first that come to mind when asked to name famous engineers. But increasingly, females in the area of engineering have broken through barriers and made significant contributions to the world of engineering, paving the way for future generations of women in STEM.
Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer, former astronaut, and the first Hispanic woman to go to space. She was born on May 10, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. Ochoa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics from San Diego State University and later received a Master’s and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She joined NASA in 1988 and went on four space missions, logging nearly 1,000 hours in space. Ochoa has received numerous awards for her work, including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award.
Emily Warren Roebling:
Emily Warren Roebling was an American civil engineer who is best known for her contributions to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Born in Cold Spring, New York, on September 23, 1843, Roebling took over as chief engineer of the bridge after her husband was injured during its construction. She oversaw the completion of the project and was the first person to cross the bridge when it opened in 1883. Roebling’s achievements as a female engineer in the 19th century paved the way for future generations of women in engineering.
Edith Clarke was an American electrical engineer and the first female electrical engineer to earn a Master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Born on February 10, 1883, in Howard County, Maryland, Clarke was a pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and is best known for her work in developing a graphical calculator that simplified complex calculations for electric power transmission lines. Clarke’s groundbreaking work has had a lasting impact on the field of electrical engineering.
Marita Cheng is an Australian engineer who has made significant contributions to the fields of robotics and automation. Born on August 12, 1989, Cheng earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Melbourne and later founded the organization Robogals, which aims to inspire and encourage young women to pursue careers in engineering and technology. Cheng has also developed a range of innovative technologies, including a robotic arm for people with limited mobility and a self-driving car for rural and remote areas.
Gwynne Shotwell is an American businesswoman and engineer. She is currently the President and Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX, a company that designs and manufactures advanced rockets and spacecraft. Born in Libertyville, Illinois, on November 23, 1963, Shotwell earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University. She joined SpaceX in 2002 and has played a key role in the company’s success, overseeing the development of the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft.
Diana Trujillo is a Colombian-American aerospace engineer who has worked on a number of NASA missions, including the Mars 2020 mission. Trujillo was born in Cali, Colombia, on November 18, 1980, and later earned her Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida. She joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2008 and has worked on a range of projects, including the development of the Mars rover Curiosity. Trujillo’s work has helped to advance our understanding of the universe and has inspired a new generation of women in STEM.