In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we interviewed five outstanding women who work at NuWaves to get their opinions on working in the RF and Microwave (RFMW) Engineering industry.
Question 1: What made you interested in engineering/electronics?
Angie: My mom was an electronics assembler and she used to bring her work home with her and have my siblings and me help. Over time, I learned more and more about it and got a knack for it. She pushed me toward the direction of making it into my career.
Jessica: I always liked math and it’s my strong suit. I tried going to school for some other things, and then my dad suggested I try out engineering and I fell in love with it.
Kristy: I was the first one in my family to go to college, and at the career fair a booth for soldering and engineering called out to me. I really liked it, and I had some family who also did soldering that it connected me to.
Marcie: I have always been good at math and science. It is something that always presents me with a comfortable challenge and involves skills that are in my wheelhouse.
Heather: I really like math, physics, and problem solving. Engineering allows for me to be hands on and apply all the research I do to a hands-on problem that is fun to solve.
Question 2: What do you love most about working in the RFMW industry?
Angie: I love being able to go in and teach people everything I know as an IPC certified trainer. IPC is something that I love to talk about. I’m also very passionate about helping the military, I have a lot of family and friends who serve, and I was to make sure they have all the best RFMW resources.
Jessica: I like how many new things I have been able to learn in this industry and being able to watch and participate in the ever-evolving circuitry.
Kristy: I really enjoy being able to go in every day and have something different to do. I also really like soldering, so it’s great that I get to go in every day and do something I find fun.
Marcie: I like that a lot of what we do specifically at NuWaves is tied to the Department of Defense (DoD). It really makes you take pride in what you are doing.
Heather: I love the intense amount of detail and thought that goes into it. I always am questioning why and how things work, and in RFMW I am able to identify and diagnose issues quickly because I ask so many questions about every project I am doing.
Question 3: Have other women influenced you in your career?
Angie: My mom was a big influence, as well as a mentor that I had at a previous company who really inspired me to move forward with my career. She helped open a lot of doors for me so that I could have the opportunity to try new things and succeed.
Marcie: My mom has been a big influence to me. She was who brought up that I should go into engineering. In addition, I have always been really inspired by her dedicated work ethic and how she was able to have a full-time job and be a great mom raising two kids. That has definitely influenced my own work ethic.
Heather: My aunt has a PhD in electrical engineering and works for the DoD. I remember when I was younger, she received a Top Female of the Year award for this magazine. I always thought that was so cool and what she did was super important. It really sparked my interest in engineering.
Question 4: Can you think of a challenge that you had to overcome or a memorable experience throughout your time in engineering or electronics?
Angie: I remember when I first became IPC certified. It was a lot of work studying, taking tests, and traveling, and it was also nerve wracking that I might mess up or fail. But it was such a great accomplishment and feeling when I finished all the tests and became a certified IPC trainer and was able to share my passion with everyone else.
Jessica: I was allergic to the flux in the soldering. After I was finally trained how to do it, on my first day I began soldering and felt my face turning red. Eventually, it turned purple and I had to go to the emergency room. I thought I would get fired because I couldn’t do what they hired me for, but instead I got to try my hand out at inspection and that really directed my career path moving forward.
Marcie: I found it hard to be taken seriously when I first started because I was young and female. I didn’t have a confident, commanding voice and attitude like some of my peers and supervisors. However, I was persistent, and had a lot of good mentors that helped me overcome this challenge and gain confidence in my statements.
Heather: In college I knew I loved math and physics, but I really wasn’t sure what sort of profession I should pursue that would incorporate those things. I was selected for an internship that introduced me to radar and RFMW and it helped me decide what I wanted to do for my career.
Question 5: What advice would you give to young girls who are interested in engineering or electronics?
Angie: Go for it, if it’s your interest or what you’re most passionate about then don’t hesitate to pursue it.
Kristy: The world is changing. Follow your passion and don’t let yourself be what holds you back.
Marcie: Learn how to be confident or at least act confident (fake it ‘til you make it is a real thing). It goes a long way. Also, be sure to take every opportunity when it comes to co-ops to gain real industry experience. I really regret not doing them when I was in college.
Heather: You can still be a girly-girl and like engineering. Working with mostly men isn’t as intimidating as you would think. It’s a really rewarding experience to problem-solve every day and a fun profession.
(Header image from left to right: Heather Jones – Jr. Engineer; Kristy Siefert – Electronics Assembler; Marcie Howard – Product Manager; Jessica Woods – Manufacturing Lead; Angela Pennington – Electronics Assembler)
Are you interested in growing your capabilities and developing a career at NuWaves Engineering? Visit our Careers Page today!