The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conference is the world’s largest conference for women engineers and technologists. This year’s theme ‘Aspire to Inspire!’ promotes the idea of women engineers inspiring others to make an impact on the industry in profound ways.
Spec Engineering was proud to send three women from the engineering team to participate in the conference, providing networking and technical learning opportunities. Design Engineer Julia Goldshtein, Electrical Project Manager Faye VonOsinski, and Senior Process Engineer Li Yuan Nazarko all attended the conference in Indianapolis. Spec also participated in the recruiting fair with the Gray family of brands. As the Spec Engineering team continues to grow, we recognize the importance of having a diverse team.
We asked the attendees what motivated them to be in the engineering industry, thoughts on the conference, and advice to women looking to get into the industry. Here is what they had to say:
Tell us about yourself.
- Julia Goldshtein, Design Engineer at Spec Engineering – “As a child, I can remember as early as first grade when I learned to love math followed by engineering concepts. I graduated from the National Technical University “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute,” Ukraine with a Bachelor of Science in Laser and Optoelectronic Technology and a Master of Science in Design Engineering. I believe engineering is a broad discipline that requires understanding both business and technical components to create an effective solution so I went back to school at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine to earn a Master Degree in Economics. In 2015, I moved to the United States where I graduated from the College of DuPage with an Associate of Science in Arts & General Studies. Prior to working at Spec, I worked on fire and security systems as a design engineer. I designed comprehensive fire detection systems. I also worked as a lead mechanical engineer for conveyor systems, including designing standard and custom sanitary conveyor systems.
- Faye VonOsinski, Electrical Project Manager at Spec Engineering – “I spent 10 years at an engineering company growing the panel business. I wore many hats, doing everything from sales, procurement, customer relations, and managing all control panel projects from start to finish.”
- Li Yuan Nazarko, Senior Process Engineer at Spec Engineering – “I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. I worked for a renewable technology company as a process/R&D engineer where I enjoyed developing new processes and new products. I was also a senior process engineer, leading larger capital projects for petrochemical and chemical companies. As I worked on cross-functional teams, I realized that I appreciate teamwork and working with my peers.”
What made you want to be part of the engineering field?
- Goldshtein – “My inspiration for becoming an engineer began with my dad. My dad was passionate when it came to repairing all kinds of equipment, and he enjoyed working with bicycles, machines, and gears, rebuilding and improving parts to be better than new. As a child, I was my dad’s shadow and admired him. I remember following him around wanting to ‘help’ with any project that involved tools. At a young age, I decided I wanted to be an engineer, to invent and create new things.
- VonOsinski – “I wanted to work in the engineering field because I enjoy being a part of a team, accomplishing unique projects. I also enjoy building relationships with customers and thriving in a high-stress environment.”
- Yuan Nazarko – “Both of my parents are engineers. I have seen them do great work in the engineering field which made me decide to follow in their footsteps. So far, I enjoy my career a lot and have no regrets.”
What does your current role entail?
- Goldshtein – “In my current role, I am responsible for researching and reviewing customer requirements, project design, and creating 2D/3D drawings and models that meet deliverables. I collaborate with project managers and other engineers on requirements analysis, defining project scope, and working with vendors to identify and secure required parts.”
- VonOsinski – “I am passionate and have a wide variety of experience with control panels. In my role at Spec, I’ve been brought on to help the automation division, working with customers, the engineers, and the panel shop to manage the projects and continue to grow the automation and control panel business.”
- Yuan Nazarko – “As a senior process engineer, I provide technical insight for our customers through process design and engineering evaluation.”
What do you enjoy most about the industry?
- Goldshtein – “I enjoy all stages of the engineering process including research, design, prototyping, and the finished product. However, what I enjoy most is seeing the product come to life in the hands of the customer. It is extremely rewarding to see a concept grow into a design and then to a practical application. It is a great feeling when the customer says ‘wow’ to the finished product/solution.”
- VonOsinski – “Manufacturing is so fascinating, and I have met a lot of wonderful people along the way. It is amazing what we can build working together. I love getting the opportunity to show a new customer how our team can help them find solutions. Being able to ship a completed product and the customer saying ‘wow, thanks!’ is very rewarding.
- Yuan Nazarko – “What I enjoy the most about the industry is the variety of the scopes of work. It is never boring, and there are always new things to learn and work on.”
What do you enjoy most about Spec?
- Goldshtein – “As a highly innovative company, I chose to work for Spec because I believe the company provides a solid foundation for women who want to contribute across a wide range of engineering projects. These opportunities provide a balanced career to learn about many engineering technologies. What I enjoy most about Spec is that I get to work for a passionate leadership team who focus on customer satisfaction, and I can collaborate with a talented engineering team.”
- VonOsinski – “From day one, I have felt like I am part of a growing family. The welcoming and ‘go-getter’ atmosphere is part of the culture here at Spec, and I look forward to being an integral part of its innovative future as Spec continues to reach new heights!”
- Yuan Nazarko – “What I enjoy the most about Spec is the good teamwork on all projects and great open-minded leadership to learn from.”
What would you tell to women interested in being part of the engineering field?
- Goldshtein – “Many people do not know that Hedy Lamarr, a well-known actress in 1940, was a naturally gifted woman who co-designed a signal hopping torpedo guidance system in WW1. This system is credited today as the foundational design that led up to Wi-Fi! This makes me wonder how many more talented young women may invent the next big technology. I believe we should encourage women studying STEM to think big, because success is not dependent on gender or ethnicity but requires curiosity, creativity, hard work, and passion.”
- VonOsinski – “It is ten times as hard to succeed in this industry as a woman, but remind yourself how far you have already come. If you strive to continue to rise higher in your STEM career, look forward and not back. Take any negativity from people around you with grace, and use that as fuel for you to keep reaching your next goal. It will only make you stronger. Do not try to be anything other than what you are or hide your voice out of fear of what men or others will think. You should be proud of yourself for continuing to be an example for girls and women all over the world.”
- Yuan Nazarko – “I would tell women interested in being in the engineering field that you will have a lot of fun time doing engineering work for sure. I guarantee!”
What did you enjoy about the SWE conference?
- Goldshtein – “Participating in the SWE conference was an amazing experience for me. I met visionary leaders, professional engineers, and impressive speakers who shared their journeys and inspire young women to pursue a path in engineering. In addition, I made new connections and attended events which provided many useful technical resources. One note that I captured was an eye-opening statistic from the Mayor of Indianapolis Joe Hogsett who reported that women only make up 17% of engineers in 2021. This statistic demonstrates the importance of organizations like the SWE, which help to inspire more women engineers and motivate companies to add more women engineers to their workforce.
- VonOsinski – “I had never seen that many women in one area in my life! A highlight was talking to one of the SWE members who had been a member for over 40 years and was one of the first women in her state to be a part of a chemical engineering program. My greatest takeaway from the conference was the importance of women having women mentors and leaders from the STEM field in their life to guide them through their career journey.”
- Yuan Nazarko – “The SWE conference gave me a chance to meet many talented female engineers at different levels of their career and learn how they strike to stand out by doing a better job and make a difference in their companies, in their fields, and in the world. They inspire us and encourage us to advance regardless of gender, culture, or race. It was a great and unforgettable experience for me, and I hope to participate in these opportunities again.”