Lassonde Lunch focuses on women in engineering

Faculty, staff and students in the Lassonde School of Engineering gathered this week to welcome Jill Anderson, president of local engineering and manufacturing design firm Aecometric. Anderson was at the engineering school to speak about the challenges faced by women in science and engineering.

lassonde2Lassonde School of Engineering Dean Janusz Kozinski (right) introduces Luciana De Santis (left) and Aoife McDermott

Anderson provided an insight into the challenges she faced when she took over the management of Aecometric and grew the business significantly without any previous experience in the engineering sector. She also spoke about the importance in leadership of building a strong team of skilled employees empowered to develop their own ideas and able to offer candid advice to her when making business decisions.

Anderson was joined by Luciana De Santis and Aoife McDermott, both female engineers hired by Anderson in senior roles at Aecometric. Both De Santis and McDermott took questions from future engineers at Lassonde, and spoke about the need for female engineers to be confident in the workplace and not to be overawed inwhat remains a male dominated industry.

Moderated by Lassonde’s Assistant Dean for Students Amy Gaukel, the panellists from Aecometric candidly shared their experiences of working in a traditionally male-dominated profession and took a variety of questions from the audience of Lassonde students.

LassondestudentsLassonde students respond to the panellists

“Jill Anderson and her colleagues were hugely inspiring for our female students,” said Gaukel. “Jill, and her colleagues Luciana and Aoife, represent excellent role models and offered useful advice for the engineers of the future currently studying at Lassonde.”

Anderson’s presentation is part of a series of “LassondeLunches” where leading figures from business, the arts, politics, science and culture – including employers and entrepreneurs – chat with students in an informal setting about all aspects of the economy and society.

Lassonde Dean Janusz Kozinski explained that the visit from Aecometric is part of a concerted effort by the new school to address the under representation of women in engineering.

“We are absolutely determined to increase the numbers of female students and faculty here at Lassonde. This is a top priority,” he said. “We look forward to seeing many more speakers of all genders in the coming months to inspire and guide our students as they prepare to enter the workforce as the Renaissance Engineers of the future.”