Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, so we sat down with APWA rockstar Jacque Thompson to chat about her experiences as a female engineer and how she got her start in this field while she enjoyed a cup of… well, you’ll see.
To learn more about the APWA Emerging Leaders Academy, check it out here: https://www.apwa.net/MYAPWA/MyApwa/Apwa_Public/Education_and_Events/Emerging_Leaders_Academy.aspx
JT: I don’t remember anything I said, but let’s do it!
CB: Sure! Why Not?
Coffee Break: Episode 2: Women in Science
CB: Name and position at Bolton & Menk?
JT: My name is Jacque Thompson. I am a design engineer for Bolton & Menk out of the Maplewood office and I don’t drink coffee. I know – I get that look a lot. *laughs* I actually drink iced tea or hot chocolate.
CB: How did you know you wanted to be an engineer?
JT: I kind of fell into it. I started school as an architect major and after a semester, I learned very quickly that I don’t like it – that’s not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I learned that I don’t want to do the small pieces – the mechanical and electrical – I want something bigger picture so I looked into civil and I liked the idea that you are there for design, you’re there for construction, and then you get to see how it impacts the community or the people that are directly impacted by it. I just fell in love with it.
CB: What is this, “I’m awkward in front of a camera” thing?
JT: I’m like *shows shaking hands” *laughs*
CB: What are some positives for being a female engineer?
JT: No lines to the bathroom – that’s always a plus! *laughs* Besides that, though, I’ve never really thought about it. I guess I would say that it provided open opportunities. Because I’m one of very few women, I feel like I maybe get more opportunities than women in regular women-dominated fields. I’ve soaked up every opportunity that I’ve gotten to try to learn and not only figure out the job because you learn something new every day, but learn something new about myself and where I truly want to go for my career down this path.
CB: Tell us about your APWA news.
JT: APWA does a program every year called Emerging Leaders Academy and it’s a nationwide program and you apply and then the state chapter selects one person that they then pass on to the national level. I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the sixteen this year. It’s big, it’s a lot, but it’s awesome – I’ve enjoyed it so much.
CB: Any advice to women or girls interested in engineering?
JT: Try it. That’s the biggest thing. Like I said, I kind of just jumped into it figured why not try it to see what it’s all about. When you’re in school, you can always change majors – I did multiple times. The nice thing about engineering is, again, there are so many opportunities. You can choose different paths within engineering itself and that alone can lead you down something that you love for the rest of your life. It can keep you busy, keep you learning, so just try it!
JT: My name’s Jacque Thompson – thanks for watching!