Civil Engineer & Founder of IronRingGirls Community
Mina Dezyanian (@IronRingGirls on social media), a civil engineer who created an online community for women in engineering, spoke with Mediaplanet about the challenges she faced in the industry and shares her advice for anyone looking to enter the field.
What inspired you to study engineering and start IronRingGirls?
I decided to study engineering as it was a reasonable path to take as a high school student who had high grades but didn’t want to go into medicine or law. My parents definitely had a big influence on my decision. I started IronRingGirls (IRG) after I graduated from engineering when I felt disconnected. IRG helped me realize that we relate to each other a lot more than we think as women in the industry.
What advice do you have for individuals looking to kick-start their career in this industry?
If it scares you and excites you at the same time, it’s a good thing. It can feel overwhelming when you’re starting and learning so much at the same time, so just take it one day at a time.
As a woman and newcomer in engineering, were there any challenges you’ve personally faced within the industry? How did you overcome them?
The main challenge was (and still is to some extent) to find what I enjoy doing that also fits my lifestyle. I started out in design then moved into construction management. As a woman, it may take twice as much effort as others to find new opportunities that suit where you are in life. The way to overcome it is to use your network to get even more connections with people who will provide you with opportunities.
How do you see the role of engineering evolving in the future?
Engineering is the building block of everything you can possibly imagine, from infrastructure to medical labs to the environment. The opportunities are endless and at the same time constantly evolving. It might even feel overwhelming to think about how much could possibly change in the near future. I truly believe it’s a profession that will always be the same (in the sense of using the same basic formulas) while at the same time constantly improving.
What can businesses do to promote diversity and inclusion in the field?
Businesses can stay true to their action plans. I see a lot of diversity committees and plans but not enough actions. They should be held accountable for the diversity and inclusion goals they set for themselves.