Women in STEM Share Their Professional Perspective

We’re very lucky and proud to have many talented and dedicated women in STEM on our team here at Vista Projects. As an equal opportunity employer with a results-driven culture, we always look to evaluate candidates based on skill and merit – that’s why our candidate testing program is critical to our hiring process.

In recognition of the women at Vista working in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), we surveyed volunteer participants to better understand their perspective.

Women in STEM illustration

As accomplished colleagues working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, their answers were insightful and inspiring.

The following is a curated collection of their responses. Thank you to everyone who took part!

 

Why did you choose a career in STEM?

 

I never considered my career to be defined as “STEM” and having it labelled as such has never impacted my decision to choose engineering as a career. I chose engineering because it is my passion. I enjoy the challenge, the work, the communication, and the technology aspect that goes into it – it is the complete package!

– Ayah Sabbah, Process Engineering

 

Science has always been a large part of my life and it’s the one thing I am most passionate about. I was always intrigued by everything involved with science and craved learning as much as possible. After completing my Bachelor of Science, I knew I wanted to continue growing and learning as much as I could and use skills that I acquired in school, so it was the right fit.

– Jordan Cochrane, Project Controls

 

Since I was a young girl, my academics clearly pointed me in this direction. I knew then that I should pursue a career that would use the skills that came easy to me and I enjoyed.

– TK Fraser, Project Controls

 

I always had a passion for mathematics and science and had the curiosity to learn about technology every day. These subjects stimulated my intellectual desire to learn more.

– Samar Rezek, Project Engineering

 

What has kept you working in STEM?

 

I’ve been lucky to ride the waves in oil and gas and to find a niche at Vista. My role is always changing as technology changes and grows. It keeps my job interesting and challenging.

– Terry Toffelmire, Engineering Design Support

 

The satisfaction at the end of the day makes me come back the next day for more.

– TK Fraser, Project Controls

 

My passion is to work my way up into project management and utilize my technological background.

– Ayah Sabbah, Process Engineering

 

While I no longer directly work in a STEM-based position, my technical interests and background are still used constantly while working for a STEM company.

– Leslie Cassidy, Business Development

 

Do you have a female role model(s) in STEM or otherwise? If so, what makes them stand out to you?

 

Vista has many strong female employees, which I really appreciate. I also have a number of friends who work in STEM. I appreciate having friends and mentors who can work hard in their careers, making a difference, plus raise a family and look after themselves.

– Terry Toffelmire, Engineering Design Support

 

Not anyone in particular, but several women in STEM and otherwise. I’m inspired whenever I read magazines that portray successful women who have excelled by being creative and starting their own business.

– TK Fraser, Project Controls

 

I’m inspired by any of my past female coworkers and the passion they have for STEM. They love what they do and can’t imagine doing anything else.

– Jordan Cochrane, Project Controls

 

I have certainly watched or worked with a few exceptional examples. My admiration for the successful females in STEM is for their intellectual and emotional intelligence when it comes to balancing study, work, and family. Some of these female examples have proved to be great role models at school, at work and at home.

– Samar Rezek, Project Engineering

 

Comparing your work experience to your post-secondary experience, explain how your work experience has or hasn’t turned out to be what you expected it to be.

 

My work is so much different than what I learned or experienced in school. I’ve adapted and learned as technology has changed. I started out just knowing AutoCAD, and this has grown to include databases, 3D design, customization, and so much more. I don’t think it’s really about the specifics you learn, but learning to adapt and grow and never stopping that process.

– Terry Toffelmire, Engineering Design Support

 

My work experience has totally exceeded my expectations! As a young adult, you really don’t know what to expect and what you can achieve. Until you are challenged, you don’t know your full potential. Pushing your limits every day, really makes you grow and gain the confidence you never had before.

– TK Fraser, Project Controls

 

My engineering work meets what I expected by pay rate, working environment, and people I work with, using the knowledge I learned in school.

Mechanical Engineer

 

In school, they don’t set you up for exact job skills, other than working in a lab setting, which I knew I did not want to do. I started in other jobs that weren’t STEM-based, but I fell into a position that gave me the opportunity to get back into STEM and I have never looked back.

– Jordan Cochrane, Project Controls

 

If applicable, please describe how your experience working with Vista compares to other organizations.

Vista is so flexible. I think a lot of women working in STEM, or anywhere for that matter, have a family, kids, personal goals, and ambitions. Flexible work hours, managers that understand, the ability to work remotely, these are just a few of the reasons why working at Vista makes my life easier.

– Terry Toffelmire, Engineering Design Support

 

Since I first started with Vista, I have been able to grow with the company, become more knowledgeable about the projects we do, and become better at how we execute them.

– TK Fraser, Project Controls

 

Good projects. People help each other. Clear guidelines and a nice working environment.

Mechanical Engineer

 

I have really enjoyed the camaraderie and how everyone is here to help each other out, not pit each other against each other. There is a real sense of community.

– Jordan Cochrane, Project Controls

 

Vista’s company culture and values are unparalleled compared to other organizations I’ve experienced. I’ve had the opportunity to develop professionally so much since I’ve started and I know that it’s a company where I’ll continue to be engaged.

– Leslie Cassidy, Business Development

 

What advice would you give to a woman who is considering a career in STEM?

Find a path that challenges you and that you want to learn more about. Try to stand out in your field and be ready to learn new things.

– Terry Toffelmire, Engineering Design Support

 

Follow your dreams! Don’t let anyone tell you can’t. You can do anything you set your mind to.

– TK Fraser, Project Controls

 

Go for it. Girls can do the same or even a better job than men.

Mechanical Engineer

 

Don’t consider the field because it is STEM, choose the program that you have a passion for because ultimately it will drive your motivation to succeed in whatever you choose.

– Ayah Sabbah, Process Engineering

 

Do what you feel the most passionate about and that you look forward to doing every day.

– Jordan Cochrane, Project Controls

 

It’s never too early or too late to think about a career in STEM. Whatever you choose (or chose) to study doesn’t limit you – you can always apply skills from a non-STEM background to a STEM future, or vice-versa. Having varied experience doesn’t reduce your opportunities, it provides you with a unique skill set that will bring value and new perspectives to a future job with an employer who values diversification.

– Leslie Cassidy, Business Development

 

STEM is a great field to be at and it allows you to employ your intellectual and emotional capacity at the same time, without losing the privilege of enjoying your contribution to your family commitment. It takes courage, patience, determination, and skills to succeed in your education and professional career.

– Samar Rezek, Project Engineering

What Does STEM Stand For?

People often wonder what the acronym STEM means. The four letters represent the professional fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The STEM fields of study are commonly prioritized in education to encourage students.

Stats About Women in STEM

There is a steady rise in the number of female students graduating with STEM degrees. But while the number of women in STEM is on the rise, a gender gap remains. Women in STEM only represent about 28% of the science and engineering workforce.

Why STEM is Important

Rapid advances in technology are evolving labour market requirements. Employers value the skills taught in STEM-related fields as they are critical to the modern economy.

At Vista, our teams use STEM skills every day. From solving complex engineering challenges to developing computer software, math and science are part of our daily routines.

We view the promotion of STEM fields as vital to the future generation of workers. We are proud to recognize the women in STEM at Vista.

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