A Woman In Engineering: How I Break the Bias  

March 8, 2022 is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is “Break the Bias” which asks participants to imagine a gender equal world. Simpson Strong-Tie Engineering Supervisor for the Southwest United States, Rachel Holland, shares her story of being a woman in engineering and how she works to create change in her field by mentoring young women interested in STEM.

When I was young, no one mentioned how rare female engineers were. Perhaps I didn’t do my research to figure that out on my own. In fairness, though, there tended to be an equal number of female and male students in the classes I took in high school. However, by day one as an architectural engineering freshman at Cal Poly SLO, I could already tell the vast majority of my classmates for the next five years were going to be boys. Therefore, that was a big change — and a telling clue about my future career path.  

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Engineering with Kids: Popsicle Sticks, Spaghetti and Marshmallows

Back in March, a few colleagues and I were discussing how to prepare kids for college. With that subject in mind, I wanted to do something fun and meaningful for the kids in our community. So I organized some workshops in my back yard focused on engineering with kids who might be interested in exploring structural engineering — and summer was the perfect time to do it! We had a group of 12 kids, aged 7–11, who signed up and were all set to explore some engineering concepts. It was a learning experience for me, as well!
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