Women and men often enter engineering because they see a fit between what engineers do, the projects that they work on, and their personal goals and vision for the future. These future engineers often excel in science and mathematics and have strong self-efficacy – the belief that they can do it! For women in particular, encouragement and support from the family or the academic community, can spur their interests in undertaking the journey into engineering. However, women leave engineering at about 4x the rate of men for reasons including a hostile work environment, inequitable compensation, ineffective use of their math and science skills, or lack of recognition or opportunity.
The Washington State University Engineering and Technology Management program supports women in engineering and engineering management in several ways. Dr. Alice Squires, Associate Professor and systems engineer by trade, founded the Empowering Women Leaders in Systems Engineering (EWLSE) (see: https://incose.org/ewlse) within the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) professional society. This group of close to 200 members is comprised of men and women who advocate for women in support of a future where women and men are equally represented as systems engineering leaders.
In pursuit of her desire to make a difference in the world, Dr. Alice Squires authored an e-book with relevant stories of her engineering journey, published by IEEE-USA in May 2019 for the Women in Engineering series. The e-book series addresses women overcoming various challenges to complete a STEM education and succeed as an engineering professional. The e-book title is: Dandelion Wishes: A World Where We Collaborate as Equals (see: https://ieeeusa.org/shop/careers/wie-book-21/). The purpose of the book was to inspire young women and men to pursue their passion; to allow readers a glimpse into a life of a woman in engineering – and the role of personal choice to change the situation or accept the outcomes; and to raise awareness of the experiences of women in engineering towards a shared vision of gender parity in a community whose members contribute to their full potential.
Following this, an earlier work Alice co-authored as a chapter in a CRC Press publication Emerging Frontiers in Industrial and Systems Engineering: Success Through Collaboration was finally published in June 2019. The work was Chapter 5: Merging Literature and Voices from the Field: Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering Reflect on Choice, Persistence and Outlook in Engineering. The book was part of the Continuous Improvement series.
Next, Dr. Alice Squires, Dr. Lisa Hoverman, and Dr. David Long collaborated as theme editors on the Fall 2019 edition of INCOSE Insight: “Diversity in Systems Engineering” (see: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/21564868/2019/22/3), working to bring ten related stories to light on this important topic. This inaugural special edition explores the role of the systems engineering community in embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion as key enablers in the systems approach for delivering optimal affordable system solutions to complex problems. Authors share their past experiences and forward thinking on the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in developing systems and global systems engineering leadership. Dr. Alice Squires also co-authored one of the articles where she brought together members of the team to tell their personal stories focused on working through differences to successfully produce The Guide to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK) wiki (see: https://sebokwiki.org) and a Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE) publication (see: https://bkcase.org/grcse/). This article is a collection of personal stories from the team members that focus on overcoming obstacles to successfully produce the final published international products that provide the authoritative source of information on systems engineering in the world.
Contact Dr. Squires at firstname.lastname@example.org.