Women Field Engineers share their tips and experience – Part 3

Field engineering still tends to have a higher proportion of men than women. This is changing more in some sectors than others.
What is it like for women field engineers?
Following parts 1 and 2, in the third of a series, two engineers share their tips and experience.

Women field engineers – engineers share their careers and advice

Mining Field Engineer based in the UK

Alexandra-Cosmina Comaniciu by gorge working with Women Field Engineers

Alexandra-Cosmina Comaniciu is a Field Engineer for IntelliSense.io.
She is part of the editorial team of Sustainable Earth Scientist.

Mentors

Who were your mentors/who encouraged you?
I come from an earth science/geology background, so it was fairly challenging to switch to field engineering in mining even after finishing a mining engineering postgraduate program. After finishing my Masters degree, my first job was as a geologist.
Nevertheless, my mentor Luis Chambel and friends in the industry had always been supportive and recommended me for roles that would benefit my career transitions. Former bosses have given me good recommendations and were always there to introduce me to other professionals and help me grow my network, if we were at the same event.
I would also mention IWiM (International Women in Mining) and WIM UK (Women in Mining UK) as organizations that helped me quite a lot.
Of course, not everyone I worked for or with has been supportive, but I still consider myself lucky to have had support from within the industry.
Currently, at Intellisense.io, I have the pleasure to work with great people with lots of experience. Most times I feel humbled by their experience, and even if I have sometimes moments when my impostor syndrome gets out of control, people are there to walk me through step by step – that makes things so much better.

Safety for women field engineers

What advice would you give to women field engineers in terms of safety/security/being out in the field?
Buddy-up.
Learn from someone with way more experience than you and put as many questions as possible. Each project is different and so each site will come with its own specifics and safety protocols.
Things can be repetitive, but you never know, so ask all the questions that would give you the peace of mind necessary to do your job.

Alexandra-Cosmina Comaniciu by old mine

Confidence

What are your tips for feeling confident and not out of place?
I make peace with the worst-case scenario and make sure I focus on work and not on the fear of failure.
Working step by step through a project – especially when knowing it won’t be the end of the world if it doesn’t go as planned – is less about feeling and more about doing so, which helps a lot.

Women in engineering

The number of women in field engineering is increasing. How can this be helped?
Having more data points on how women can contribute to fieldwork and how can they work productively is important. That can only happen if enough women are having these roles.

Senior Product Support Engineer from Florida

Janna Dominguez is a Senior Product Support Engineer doing work in the Medical Device Field, (Organ Transplantation Support machines). She works for OrganOx, and previously worked with linear accelerators for cancer treatment as a Field Service Manager for RSA.

Janna Dominguez in lab working with Women Field Engineers

Mentors

Who were your mentors/who encouraged you?
I had two great mentors that pushed me to move forward with my endeavours. First my grandfather, he showed me I could work with machines and encouraged and gave me lots of challenges to prove myself. My Mom was my big support in my younger years, she taught me about languages and pushed me to my limits as I needed it.

Advice for women field engineers

What advice would you give to women field engineers in terms of safety/security/being out in the field?
Many have already given advice in Electrical Safety or Protective equipment. I think one more thing to add is that as engineers, we shouldn’t, and we DON’T need to know everything. That means we don’t need to try to do things by rushing or to impressing anyone. The most important things are to:
ASK if you don’t know something
LOOK for the people that can help you
GET yourself into safety habits
DO things as a routine to avoid forgetting about these precautions.

Janna Dominguez profile photo

Confidence for women field engineers

What are your tips for feeling confident and not out of place?
Confidence is always asked of everyone to have at the workplace.
I want to say that it is ok also to be an introvert and understand that many people around you are introverts. Some of them try hard to be confident and this is exhausting. Don’t let yourself fall into that place, instead try to be you without having to please anyone.
Also understand that many of us around are feeling the same.
So, it is OK to feel out of place sometimes, it’s a skill everyone is trying to improve upon.

Increasing the number of women in field engineering

The number of women in field engineering is increasing. How can this be helped?
I think visibility in all aspects of diversity is extremely necessary.
It is necessary to promote and inform society of two main things:
women can be engineers
women are strong and intelligent
More information in the media is important as well, examples of women succeeding in engineering should be showcased more often.

Further Reading about women field engineers

Women Field Engineers share their tips and experience – Part 1

Women Field Engineers share their tips and experience – Part 2

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