Alumna Stephanie Hill ’86, computer science and economics, makes a strong argument in favor of educating a new generation of female engineers in a guest essay appearing today in College Inc., a Washington Post blog focusing on higher education.
In her essay, Hill — who is president of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions-Civil division — discusses the impact her experience at UMBC made on her decision to pursue a career in engineering.
“Are you sure you want to be a software engineer? You are such a people person. Won’t you be stuck working alone, staring at a computer for hours on end?”
Those were the questions that my sister asked as I declared my intent to pursue a software engineering degree at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She was right – I am a people person. In fact, in high school I intended to pursue a career in psychiatry. But a college elective course – in COBOL programming – peaked my interest like nothing before. And with wonderful mentors who provided me a glimpse into various career opportunities, I shifted gears, full speed ahead into the world of engineering. I have not looked back since.
The essay points to a recent report by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee that says while women make up a “growing share of the college-educated workforce, only 14 percent of engineers are women, as are just 27 percent of individuals working in computer science and math positions.”