We are thrilled to share that we will be attending the 5th annual Build a Dream Windsor event thisThursday! This year’s event will be held next Thursday November 7th from 4:30-8pm at the Ciociaro Club.
Build a Dream is a fantastic locally started initiative that strives to introduce young women to exciting career opportunities that fall under five pillars: skilled trades, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), emergency response, and entrepreneurship. We are happy to have been able to be a part of this event for the past few years and to have seen how much it has grown and how much it has impacted young women across our community.
Our very own Brave Dream Team will be in attendance once again Thursday night to introduce interested young women to the myriad of opportunities that exist in the controls engineering field. As a control systems integrator we don’t work in any single industry or on any single piece of machinery! Our jobs are as complex and diverse as our team!
Meet Melissa Falkner – Controls Specialist
Highschool – I took all University level courses in highschool. I took all of the grade 12 math courses instead of science, so that means while I took Calculus and Geometry, I did not take Physics or Chemistry. In College I actually needed chemistry and I was able to get permission to take the college class instead of having to complete the high school equivalent course first because my grades were quite good in calculus – but chemistry in university was a lot to handle without the highschool credit and background.
University – University of Guelph Bachelor’s of Applied Science Mechanical Engineering with Co-op
When did you decide you wanted to become an engineer?
I decided to become an engineer after I tried several different paths in school. Since I’m a very artsy person I first started at the University of Windsor for art but I quickly realized it wasn’t for me but I knew I did like to create things. I decided to try a free government program to be a General Machinist at the St. Clair College, but realized that I didn’t want to create what someone else gave me, I wanted to be the person who came up with the ideas.
So next I decided to try out the Mechatronics program at St.Clair next and I realized that was the path for me. After completing this program I decided to become a full engineer and entered into the Mechanical program at the University of Guelph.
What advice would you give to young women who are trying to decide their future career?
My advice is to find what you like in school even if it takes a couple attempts. If you work hard and are passionate about what you are doing then it won’t matter if the field you choose is more dominated by men or not. The thought that I shouldn’t enter into engineering because of my gender never crossed my mind, as I knew I could do anything if I put my mind to it. In fact, on my first day of being a General Machinist (where I knew nothing about tools), there were 2 girls in my class, including me. The teacher came in to welcome us and he pointed to us 2 girls and said that from his experience “those girls there will be at the top of the class”…. And he wasn’t wrong.
Have you ever encountered resistance or discrimination in your education or career?
I have never really encountered resistance or discrimination in my education – I never really felt different than any other student. Upon graduation when I entered the workforce and starting my career as a control engineer visiting different plants during commissioning, I found that there is two types of people you will encounter:
- People are extra nice to you and are more willing to help you
- People who are harder on you because you are a girl and will treat you differently
I don’t take these things personally and I just keep working hard which allows me to succeed and overcome any situation.