At Aptera, we’re creating a movement that is for everyone– inclusive of all genders. Upholding that principle starts here, with our team. So in honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with some of our women engineers to highlight their work and learn about their journeys as women in STEM.
We asked Anusha, a Body in White Mechanical Engineer, about how organizations, including Aptera, can better support women and minorities in engineering.
Companies can always do better at “giving their minorities a chance – whether that’s a second look at a resume or a new task. For the most part, I’ve only felt supported at a company when the individuals around me are supportive. I’ve been lucky enough to be seen as an engineer and a human being, rather than an assistant or an extension of a man, in most of my experiences, but it has taken a lot of my own development to build my confidence and trust myself to not only speak up for myself; but also learning when to speak over men who have no problem speaking over me. Especially at Aptera, I have felt extremely supported. The team always makes me feel like we are working together, not against each other, and my leads and managers trust me enough to talk to me directly and allow me the space to learn new things.”
What does meaningful representation in STEM look like to you?
“True representation and equity would be achieved when a minorities’ average engineer is given the same playing field as a majorities’ average engineer. It is not enough to have the absolute best and top female engineers working hard around the clock be given the opportunities that average male engineers do. It is not equal that a woman engineer can provide ideas if she’s flushed them out entirely beforehand and a man engineer can throw anything at a wall and be wrong. The best should be seen as the best, and the average should be seen as average, regardless of gender.”
Tricia, an Electrical and Systems Engineer shared about her first time meeting a woman leader in STEM:
“My freshman high school math teacher, Mrs. Pope was the first STEM leader that influenced me. She was tough, yet patient and expected excellence from all her students. I almost wanted to become a math teacher like her, but finally chose electrical engineering as my career.”
Who inspired you to love your craft?
“I was always good at math and science. My Grandfather was also an innovator and entrepreneur, as he invented the first digital voltmeter. He inspired my curiosity for electronics and research even as a small child.“
Lourdes, a Body in White Mechanical Engineer, shared what initially inspired her to become an engineer:
“When I was 10 years old, I heard and saw a Lamborghini (Gallardo) revving down the street, and that changed my life. I knew I wanted to study engineering, specifically mechanical engineering with an automotive emphasis.”
Did you participate in any engineering organizations growing up, and if so, did you have any women role models?
“In college, I participated in SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) which helped me find many role models within STEM. They also had SHPEtinas meetings for female engineers and I found many female STEM role models too who seemed to share the same struggles and offered helpful advice.
[I encountered my first role model] in my first year in college where I met a female engineering professor, Dr. Olivia A Graeve. She later became my mentor throughout my college career.”
Brynn, a Body In White Mechanical Engineer, shared what she hopes the future of engineering looks like:
“For me, I believe that meaningful representation in STEM will be realized when a figure of a man is not the first thing that pops into your head when you think of an ‘Engineer.’”
What is the best way to support women–and everyone– in STEM?
“Promote an inclusive and supportive environment for women and men alike! Everyone performs at their best when they feel safe, heard, and appreciated for their contributions, and everyone should be able to work on an equal playing field.”
On this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the women trailblazers on our team while recognizing that we have a responsibility to lead an inclusive movement– making solar mobility accessible and inviting to all.