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  • Writer's pictureCalibre Engineering

Julia’s Insights on Mentorship and Support in AEC


The AEC industry has a history of underrepresentation of women, but together, we're rewriting the story. In honor of Women's History Month, we are celebrating the living histories of Calibre women as they forge their own paths. Nearly 40% of Calibre employees are women, and we're passionate about supporting them. Calibre is working to flip the script and champion women in this industry. Join us this month as we share stories of the amazing women who are making a difference at Calibre and helping to rewrite the story of women in AEC.

 

For this post, Julia Giddens, one of Calibre's civil engineers, was interviewed on how mentorship and support have impacted her career.


It was the encouragement of those around her that kick-started Julia's engineering journey. Recognizing her aptitude for math and science, people in her personal and academic life began to nudge her toward engineering. Intrigued by the idea and with the encouragement of one of her high school teachers, she decided to explore her interests further through school projects. One project focused on erosion control on construction sites. This opportunity to delve deeper into the field fostered her interest in engineering, and she ultimately decided to study it in college.


In college, Julia had a completely different experience from what she had expected. Her new college classes involved calculus, physics, and coding, which she had never done before. She felt overwhelmed, but Purdue’s Women in Engineering program helped her through her first year. “The program provided me with mentorship, tutoring, and a comfortable space where I could ask questions within a supportive community of like-minded women.” Women in Engineering gave Julia a sanctuary where her curiosity was nurtured, and her learning flourished. After her freshman experience, Julia decided to tutor for the Women in Engineering program for the remainder of her college years to give others the same comfort and support she received.


During her Junior year, Julia interned with Calibre Engineering in their Water Resources division. She gained hands-on experience with technical skills and learned what her day-to-day job would be like before working with us full-time upon graduating. “Calibre has strong, knowledgeable people who are willing to teach and help me grow in my career,” said Julia. She specifically noted Calibre’s Vice President of Engineering, Brian Stephens-Hotopp, as an invaluable mentor and someone who saw potential in her and helped launch her career.


Julia gives this advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in engineering, “Speak up, seek environments that foster growth, and never shy away from asking questions. If you feel shut down or can't ask questions, you should evaluate your situation and see if it's a good fit.”


Julia's journey highlights how crucial mentorship programs and women-focused initiatives are in retaining women in engineering. Creating an environment that encourages women to ask questions, seek help, and have confidence in their abilities is essential. During Women's History Month, we celebrate Julia's journey and hope to inspire more women to pursue engineering.

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