Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day 2023 – Tracy Wettig
International Women in Engineering Day 2023
International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated annually on June 23rd, to raise women’s profile in engineering and focus attention on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. Shining a light on women in engineering worldwide gives us a chance to celebrate outstanding achievements across this industry.
Whilst we’re always looking to champion outstanding people in engineering, this day is an ideal opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements in engineering, raise awareness about the types of careers available, and share stories of inspiring women.
The number of women in engineering roles also increased from 562,000 in 2010 to 936,000 in 2021.
For this IWED, join us in celebrating just some of the inspirational women in our community and the empowering work they do for women everywhere.
Mid-Atlantic Technical Manager, TriMech
Tracy studied Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, where she also was heavily involved in extracurricular activities. Following University, Tracy spent three years at Knolls Atomic Power Lab as a Mechanical Engineer on the analysis team.
Tracy is a certified SOLIDWORKS Professional, Expert and Elite. During her time at TriMech Tracy has achieved so much. She earned Presidentâ€™s Club as an Impact Player, presented at five international conferences (3DEXPERIENCE World â€“ formerly SOLIDWORKS World), was awarded the 2022 Reseller AE of the Year by the global SWUG community, and earned the support and encouragement from colleagues and management to apply (and be selected!) for her current Technical Manager Role.
“As each year passes, the STEM culture continues to grow more aware and welcoming of the increase of women in the ranks. Your value and contributions are wanted and needed now more than ever.“
Where did your initial interest in STEM come from?
“In fourth grade, during math lessons, my teacher would send me and three other boys out into the hallway to work on that dayâ€™s math homework.Â Contrary to how it initially sounds, this wasnâ€™t a punishment. My teacher identified us four nine year olds as being so strong in the current math lessons, that we were rewarded with unsupervised hallway study as she conducted her lessons with the rest of the students inside the classroom. I found a pride in being ‘sent to the hallway’ for math, of all things.”
This small action was the most impactful to me because it indirectly said ‘youâ€™re good at this, I trust you’. In subsequent years, I found myself gravitating towards any subject with an equation in hopes there was a secret similar hallway policy with other teachers. Sadly there wasnâ€™t, but the outcome was a young woman who ended up strong, comfortable, and curious in STEM.”
What is your current role/involvement in STEM?
“I am the manager of eight Application Engineers who specialize in topics like SOLIDWORKS, data management, simulation, 3DPrinting, scanning, and Manufacturing across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Â I am also a technical resource for the account managers in this same territory.”
Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up in this role
“I earned my Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering with honors from the University of Texas at Arlington. Right out of college I was hired at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory as a Mechanical Engineer on the analysis team. I would run FEA studies on nuclear reactor components using Pro-Engineer, ABAQUS, and in-house post processors, author technical documents on my studies, and present my results to Naval Reactors and the Department of Energy. Life is life and I ended up moving on professionally and relocating to another state.
“In my pursuit to find my next employer, I found that nearly all local technical job postings were requiring experience in SOLIDWORKS and I wasnâ€™t their ideal candidate with my experience in only Pro-Engineer. TriMech brought me on-board in 2013 because they valued my experience in the nuclear industry, my engineering degree, and my intuition to work with a CAD system. Putting SOLIDWORKS in front of me was just a game of ‘whereâ€™s the button’. Over the next eight years, I became a favored technical resource for various SOLIDWORKS CAD tools, data management, simulation, 3DPrinters, and the 3DExperience Platform.”
“I earned Presidentâ€™s Club as an Impact Player, presented at five international conferences (3DEXPERIENCE World â€“ formerly SOLIDWORKS World), was awarded the 2022 Reseller AE of the Year by the global SWUG community, and earned the support and encouragement from colleagues and management to apply (and be selected!) for my current Technical Manager Role.”
What is your favourite thing about working in STEM?Â
“STEM is a fascinating field of endless learning. Since technology endlessly evolves, thereâ€™s no end in sight for opportunities to make an impact and contribute to the evolution. As an AE, my favorite contribution was educating and helping users (ranging from new startups to as far up as NASA engineers) use their tools more effectively. I never tire seeing someoneâ€™s eyes light up as they learn a new feature or more efficient ways they can get their job done.”
What advice would you give to young women interested in pursuing a career in STEM?
“As each year passes, the STEM culture continues to grow more aware and welcoming of the increase of women in the ranks. Your value and contributions are wanted and needed now more than ever.”
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
“Dissect the concerns and fears that hold you back and even consider the impact of inaction in the short/mid/long term. ‘We suffer more often in imagination than in reality’. Itâ€™s easy to play out worst-case scenarios in your head, but more often than not, everything will work out and be better than expected.”
Who or what inspires you?
“My motherâ€™s perseverance. She was an immigrant from another country, who initially didnâ€™t speak the native language, who grew up in rough parts of a city, who earned a degree in finance while raising a child as her spouse was in the US Marines overseas, and helped put her own child through college and be self-sustainable immediately thereafter. Giving up was never an option; she always pressed on.”
Thanks to Tracy for sharing her influences and inspirations with us.
Tracy tells us of how she has noticed the change in attitude towards women who work in STEM throughout her career.