girl day in engineering

Girl Day in Engineering

In recognition of Girl Day this Engineering Week, J2 Engineers sat down with Senior Design Engineer, Julie Meyer, PE to find out why she became an engineer and what inspires her day-to-day.

J2: We first asked Julie, when did you know you wanted to be an engineer?

Julie: “I decided to major in engineering because it involved math and science, and while these were never my strong subjects in school, I liked the challenge. I had to work extra hard at it, but when light bulbs went on, I always felt a sense of accomplishment. This reflects my favorite part of the job, when something finally works, that you didn’t think would.”

She continued to tell us, “I didn’t know what engineering was growing up, I didn’t come from a family of engineers or know others who were in the profession. However, I knew that I wanted to work with math and science. It was a process of elimination when I was heading to college. I didn’t want to be a teacher or a researcher, so what other math/science professions are left? Someone explained engineering to me as a puzzle every day that you get to solve. … I thought, ooh that sounds fun, let’s do that! I have always been a ‘figure it out’ type of person, and engineering seemed like a perfect fit for me.”

J2: What led to your decision to join the engineering field you are in now?

Julie: “I can more accurately describe when I knew I wanted to go into the Land Development field of civil engineering. I was working as an intern for a small company in Buffalo. They were primarily architects but had a small engineering department of four — including me, the intern. We were designing a Hollywood Video — remember those? — store that was down the street from where my family lived. I designed their water and sanitary service. And while the store didn’t start construction until I was back at school, I could see it every time I came home. I used to joke that I wanted to use their bathroom so I could flush the toilet and wash my hands. I loved being able to see something built that I got to be a part of.”

J2: In your work day-to-day, how do you help others?

Julie: “I am fortunate to have 20 years in the industry and countless projects in my career. I draw on my experiences to help our team solve issues brought up by both clients and reviewers. It’s common for me to sit with the other engineers to talk through scenarios to find the best solution. I also enjoy mentoring younger engineers.”

J2: Do you have opportunities to mentor others?

Julie: “Yes, I often work with in-house engineers, young graduates, and interns. I help teach them the process of engineering, AutoCAD, and how to put a plan together. They quickly discover how a lot of things in business aren’t taught in school. I am there to help them connect what they learned in school to real-life engineering scenarios. I also draw on my experience to teach the correct engineering processes and educate them about the technical aspects needed to review their work. I tend to go over something with engineers when it’s not right and elaborate on why.”

The most challenging part to my job sometimes, is reviewing plans at home.

“The most challenging part to my job sometimes, is reviewing plans at home.”

J2: What is it like to be a woman engineer at J2?

Julie: “Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m treated any differently than the men. I’ve found that at J2, you’re noticed for your efforts and hard work, not your gender. We all have the same goal of producing the best plans for our clients, and anyone working towards that goal is treated equally.”

J2: What piece of advice would you give a younger version of yourself?

Julie: “Do not get stressed out over things that are taught in class. It’s ok if you don’t understand certain engineering problems. I understand now that I am a hands-on learner who is not great at textbook scenarios. The job is a hands-on experience, and now things are second nature to me. I would tell myself that it will all make sense in the end.”

Julie is a Senior Design Engineer that has worked with J2 for over eight years. Prior to J2, she was with another engineering firm for 12 years.

“Julie has such positive energy and is well informed,” shares John Conner, Project Engineer at J2. “She knows what she is doing and works with you to make sure you understand. She is always willing to lend a helping hand and walks you through different engineering solutions.”

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