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The Rise of Women in Engineering in 2014

November 19th, 2014

Traditionally a male-dominated field, the world of engineering continues to see more women become active in the discipline and 2014 was no exception. From Debbie Sterling’s GoldieBlox to Ayah Bdeir and her Lego-like electronics modules, LittleBits, women are succeeding in inspiring girls to become interested in engineering.

When girls inspired by engineering at an early age become old enough to join the workforce, these new engineers honed on GoldieBlox and LittleBits hopefully won’t feel alone. With that said, there is still more work to be done to bring more women into the engineering field. Let’s take a closer look at how to improve the number of women in engineering.

California State University Northridge helping to develop Women Engineers

California State University Northridge (CSUN) suffers from an acute lack of females in their engineering and computer science schools. Only 12.3 percent of students enrolled in those programs were women as of the Fall of 2013. CSUN’s Bonita J. Campbell Endowment for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) was created with the hope to raise that percentage.

A professional civil engineer, Lilly Shraibati, serves on the advisory board for WISE. She was initially dissuaded from entering the field by her engineer uncles. “Everyone should follow their dreams without worrying whether it’s appropriate,” she countered.

STEM Education remains Vital in Attracting Females to Engineering

One of WISE’s main goals is to encourage more female students to take STEM classes in school; hoping that this engenders the inspiration to ultimately choose engineering as a profession. Finding peers is another key in keeping female students enrolled in engineering classes.

Courtney Yoshimoto, president of CSUN’s Society of Women Engineers club, notes the lack of peers in her program. “Being in school as an engineer, there’s not a lot of girls in your class,” she said. “It’s hard to find study groups and peers that are there to help you out, that’s what I feel has been the hardest part.”

If you are a female looking to enter the engineering field, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing agencies on the west coast, and a woman-owned company, the Talley Group offers the unique insights to help you find a rewarding career in engineering — no matter your gender. Contact them today!

Computers Heal Thyself? And Brainiacs Tackling the Technology of the Brain.

May 15th, 2013

Some of the latest innovations out of the creative minds of engineers include the development of electronic chips that are capable of repairing themselves. Another revolutionary advancement offering hope for the treatment of mental disease is a brain mapping project led by a consortium of nanotechnologists, neuroscientists, and engineers.

Once again, this innovative work proves that engineering is a profession that inspires others as well as those currently working or training to work in the field.

Electronic Chips that Repair Themselves

A team at the California Institute of Technology embarked on a project to create self-healing integrated circuit chips. So far the team, part of Caltech’s High-Speed Integrated Circuits lab in the institute’s Division of Engineering and Applied Science, built a successful proof of concept using power amplifier circuitry. Amazingly, the chip handled a total transistor failure caused by a test laser blast in less than a second!

Ali Hajimiri, the Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering at Caltech, commented on the successful test: “It was incredible the first time the system kicked in and healed itself. It felt like we were witnessing the next step in the evolution of integrated circuits. We had literally just blasted half the amplifier and vaporized many of its components, such as transistors, and it was able to recover to nearly its ideal performance.”

Brain Activity Map Initiative Begins

Similar to the Humane Genome project, the Brain Activity Map Initiative brings together personnel across a variety of scientific disciplines to create a system of procedures and tools to help map and control the functions of the human brain. The initiative hopes to fill the knowledge gap in this area of neuroscience. As part of the project, engineers and nanotechnologists will combine their efforts to build devices capable of measuring brain activity at the neuron level.

The leaders of the project, including Karl Deisseroth, a professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford, hope the initiative pays off by fostering a revolution in how mental disorders are treated. “This is part of a very long process to understand what the brain is doing, then understand how it fails, and then, finally, come up with ideas for how to fix it more precisely,” said Deisseroth.

If this kind of revolutionary work inspires you to take your engineering career to the next level, be sure to contact The Talley Group. As one of the leading engineering staffing agencies in the United States, they have the capabilities and industry contacts to further your work in engineering.

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