International Women in Engineering Day – The Women Engineers at Bourns

Women have a place at the table in engineering. We have been creating systems, products, and entirely new fields for centuries before being admitted to study engineering at the university level. The field continues to attract more women in what once was a male dominated area. Many companies have realized that diverse teams can bring a broader perspective that benefits everyone involved.

Some of the ways that Bourns has been able to recruit and retain women engineers include: assigning tasks outside the skill range to encourage development; ongoing growth and opportunities to improve confidence; an inclusive environment that offers peer support; and role models who demonstrate success and work-family balance at various levels.

In honor of International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, we want to feature some of our women engineers from around the globe. Keep reading to learn more about what these women enjoy about engineering, what inspired them to pursue this career, and a few examples of their favorite Bourns projects. If you are a young woman considering engineering or know one who is, these Bourns women have some words of wisdom and inspiration. Everyone has an opportunity to learn from the remarkable women we are fortunate to have contributing to our culture, products, and legacy at Bourns.

Barbara Antal
Junior Environmental Engineer
Ajka, Hungary

A Profession with a Future

As an environmental engineer I love that there is always something to do, especially now in 2021. Part of being an engineer is interesting and cheerful, and the other part is serious. This is a very complex area that connects a lot of different fields and is never boring.

When Barbara had to choose a profession, her main focus was finding one that had a future. “What I knew for sure is that I did not want to study anything because it’s popular.” She was hugely motivated by the fact that fewer than 20 people began their studies in environmental engineering in Gyor in 2015, but most of them were female. Many classmates dropped out throughout the course of study, and Barbara is very proud that she graduated. Today as a young, fresh graduate in engineering, she is motivated by development. Seeing her goal of life-long learning as the best way of moving forward, she is certain she will never give up.

Barbara encourages young women to be brave and start technical studies. When choosing a college, she reminds them to consider a broad range of factors: the type of education they want; what other students say about that college; and things that are important to them personally. “They should never let anyone convince them to give up engineering studies. If they have the endurance they will achieve their goals.”

She has worked with her supervisor on various projects, including a new production line and technology implementation. Barbara enjoyed developing her knowledge planning for waste collection and for air protection according to regulations. Additionally, she had hazardous materials tasks and participated in preparing for an ISO 14001 audit.

Szabina Besene Antal
System Engineer
Ajka, Hungary

Development and Opportunity

Szabina loves that every day as an engineer is a new challenge. There are never two identical tasks, which means ongoing individual and professional development.

Precision, design, application of mathematical methods, and contribution to technological innovation were the factors that inspired Szabine to become an engineer.

“I would encourage young women to choose this career because in today’s modern world women also have the opportunity to become successful engineers if they work hard.”

The most interesting design she worked on at Bourns was a Floating steering sensor design that can be used for both column-type and rack-type EPS systems.

Aniko Baffi
Process System Engineer
Ajka, Hungary

Creating A Life By Design

Aniko likes the challenge of solving different problems with different people every day as an engineer. She enjoys teamwork, so working and developing skills with problem-solving colleagues to think through a problem collectively is rewarding to her.

People are surprised when she tells them she is an engineer, yet Aniko is the daughter of two engineers. “As a child I wanted to create a similar professional and family life (work-life balance, good salary, secure family background).” She always has been interested in how engineers can manufacture different products and how things work throughout the process, so she enjoys the work that provides her a good salary and nice standard of living.

She urges young women to move past the many obstacles females face studying engineering at the university level and never give up, even when told repeatedly that women cannot be engineers. In fact, women engineers see problems from a different perspective, have a different way of thinking, and often solve problems in a unique way. Quality control is a growing specialty for women in engineering.

Aniko’s favorite type of project follows the arrival of a new machine, when quality, engineering, production, logistics, finance, etc. are affected by changes. They coordinate with everyone and try to follow a planned schedule. Internal communication is very important in new projects. She also enjoys the planning and process whenever they introduce a new material or tool modification that requires trial production, validation, and customer communication.

Beatrice Iso
Functional Safety Engineer
Taufkirchen, Germany

Learning and Improving

Continuous learning is Beatrice’s favorite part of being an engineer. She has worked in testing, development, system and functional safety, and in the telecom, aeronautic, and automotive industries. She appreciates that fixed work hours make it easier to organize her private life.

She started technical studies in electronics, but decided to become an engineer like her brother. She continued past her technical studies because she knew she wanted to be part of a development team.

Beatrice encourages young women to follow their dreams and not give up even if it starts with technical studies with very few women.

“All projects I have worked on at Bourns were interesting because there is always something to learn or improve and I am part of an international team with customers coming from different countries.”

Ivannia Bermudez
Occupational Health Engineer
Heredia, Costa Rica

Achieve Your Dreams

Ivannia likes being an engineer because she can help people solve problems.

She was inspired to become an engineer because of the opportunities for professional development.

There is room for women in this field. “My advice is to study hard and achieve your dreams.”

Paula Moya Berrocal
Planning and Warehouse/Inventory Coordinator
Heredia, Costa Rica

Dynamic Possibilities

Paula enjoys the challenges and creativity required to find a better way to implement processes. She appreciates the dynamism, range of options, and possibilities for development and fulfillment as a professional woman in engineering.

The possibility to add value and do things in different, innovative ways inspired Paula to become an engineer. She finds motivation in taking on challenges.

Paula encourages women considering engineering to just do it, and trust their ability to enhance their career. She finds that living analytically day to day allows her to look further, contribute, and be active in professional fulfillment as a woman. She offers a solid reminder. “Engineering is one of the professions with the best job placement and there will always be a company that produces goods or services, waiting for that value that female engineers can offer.”

Keilani Conner
Associate Engineer, Trimpot Division
Riverside, CA USA

Shape Your Path Through Self-Discovery

It is the mystery of engineering to the rest of the world that Keilani most likes about being an engineer. “People use the technology we spend countless hours creating and respect the knowledge we hold.” To Keilani, being an engineer is being a good teammate for her part of the shared world, where each engineer understands they know a small piece of the puzzle of life, science and technology. Sharing those pieces creates a better world for communities.

Keilani was inspired to become an engineer after experiencing the positive impact of engineering on the world, specifically through a video of the practical application of technology for a man with Parkinson’s disease. Severe tremors in his hands made it difficult to eat soup until a spoon with advanced sensor and motor-based cancellation technology was given to him. The new spoon used stabilizing technology to learn a user’s tremor patterns and distinguish between unwanted tremors and intended movements of the hand. The man’s smile after getting a spoonful of soup locked inertia that propelled Keilani into the Bourns College of Engineering at University of California, Riverside.

Keilani emphasizes to young women to take the time for self-discovery, and to take consistent action to find out what they like and don’t like. Even though the ‘don’t like’ will come more often and quickly it will help shape the path of what discipline in engineering and what aspect will bring success. For example, figure out if coding or handling hardware is more interesting, and learn to protect that preference.

Marcela Porquett Gonzalez
Material Planner – Trimmers
Heredia, Costa Rica

Forget the Stereotype

Marcela likes being an engineer, demonstrating the same skills and tackling the same challenges as her fellow male engineers. She gets satisfaction from seeking solutions and improvements in processes.

Despite the financial needs of her family, she wanted to support herself in the future by becoming a professional. When Marcela started at Bourns, she was introduced to a production and engineering world. “I was captivated, so I continued my studies of engineering at night and worked during the day.”

She encourages young women to show they can succeed in a career path that is largely populated by men. They can have more professional empowerment in the business market by joining other women.

Carmen Monge Herrera
Senior Supervisor – Trimmers, F.A.
Heredia, Costa Rica

Fascinated by Continuous Improvement

Carmen likes to help people improve their way of working, so providing support in continuous improvement is her favorite part of being an engineer. She loves how versatile the career is across topics and companies, and how production processes can be optimized with a variety of techniques.

Getting to know people more closely and helping them with their process inspired her to become an engineer. Her fascination for continuous improvement was a guiding light.

She encourages young women in Industrial Engineering to be very tenacious with each subject they study, paying close attention to each topic and its possible application to the industry. “It is a very versatile career and has many applications in the Service and Process Industry.”

Kattia Araya Hidalgo
Supplier Quality Engineer
Heredia, Costa Rica

An All-Around Opportunity

Kattia enjoys finding the root cause of problems and seeking solutions. The process allows her to practice a variety of skills: leadership, team work, interpersonal relationships, self-discovery, emotional intelligence, strategic and creative thinking, assertive communication, and decision making.

She is inspired by the wide range of possibilities for engagement and specialization in the market, from production, quality, purchasing, customer service, and more.

Her advice to young women is twofold. “I would tell them that goal setting is the first step in making the invisible visible, and to always strive to achieve their goals.” 

Mandy Huang
Senior Design Engineer
Dongguan, China

Deep Satisfaction throughout the Process

Mandy likes the processes of thinking through an idea and acting to get to the conclusion. She finds both processes wonderful with the added benefits of gaining knowledge and experience.

Her inspiration to become an engineer could be likened to harvest: when the design and verification are complete it goes into mass production and runs smoothly.

Her advice to young women is to become an engineer if the desire is there. “It will exercise your brain and make you stronger hands-on.” She finds enthusiastic partnerships at work and in play, full of dynamics and challenges. Work enhances her happiness and health on a daily basis. 

Even though the inductor design she worked on was simple in concept, the application in a diesel engine introduced environmental requirement tests, like high temperature, that resulted in redesign, re-test, and updates. Working with the customer through the test schedule she created provided a sense of belonging and being needed and trusted. The partnership with the customer felt like a friendship through to the successful completion and eventual mass production.

Yadira Iliana Granillo Jacott
Senior Quality Manager
Tijuana, Mexico

Challenge Your Limits

Yadira has found engineering to be a perfect career to apply her inherent feminine multi-tasking skills and flexibility. She sees women working in a broad range of opportunities such as production or machining, customer support, and executive positions.

Her creative father inspired her to become an engineer by encouraging her to find the logical and scientific explanations behind the questions she asked him about his creations. He helped her to learn that everything has a reason and that factual data speaks loudest.

She encourages young women not to be afraid of jumping into areas outside of their comfort zone. “Engineering gives us the possibility to learn, to create, to adapt technologies that different markets  demand, and to enter into a competitive world. So always be prepared.” Yadira emphasizes that the key is your love and passion for what you are doing to help you keep going during tough times.

In a project with a new prominent customer, Yadira had the opportunity to work with authorities on types of certifications, customer systems, and technical requirements approvals. Through the process four audits revealed zero findings, and the customer recognized that Bourns achieved the highest evaluation score ever granted to a new supplier.

Miko Li
Senior Design Engineer
Dongguan, China

Patience and Persistence through Challenges

Miko loves that she comes in contact with a variety of products as an engineer. The process of designing a product and solving problems aligns with and enhances her logical thinking style. She likes to chase new products and knowledge, and successfully solving technical problems makes her happy.

She encourages young women who are interested in new products and love being challenged to pursue a career in engineering, as those attributes are a good match. “Please be patient and persistent when encountering problems at work. Overcoming these problems will help develop your expertise and make you experienced. Enjoy the work.”

Miko worked on a Lidar project for a self-driving car that peaked her interest and was a huge learning experience. This was a new product she hadn’t designed before. She enjoyed working together with excellent, patient, and communicative engineers at the customer site and they enjoyed solving problems collaboratively.

Karla Lopez
Project Manager
Tijuana, Mexico

Curiosity and Problem Solving

Karla loves solving problems.

Her enjoyment of physics and math in college inspired her to become an engineer. She always had a curiosity about how to make things better. Being an engineer provides her a practical path for continuous improvement and problem solving.

She urges young women interested in engineering to pursue it if they are interested, and not to be discouraged. It is very fulfilling, even if it tends to be male dominated.

Karla has worked on several interesting projects, but having the opportunity to work on technical issues with people across the globe is her favorite opportunity at Bourns. “It is great to see how science is a common denominator across different countries, cultures, and languages.”

Isela Marin
Quality Engineer
Heredia, Costa Rica

Making Her Place Among Men

The possibility to develop projects, study problems, and work in a team to create a solution for them makes Isela feel happy.

Her path to engineering was not typical. Originally an English major, one day she overheard a guy telling somebody how exciting engineering was, describing what he was learning with great passion (while totally unaware she was impacted). She investigated engineering and was even more determined to pursue it when she learned very few women studied it. Her mom always told her she was able to do whatever she wanted, so Isela had no fear taking action.

Isela’s advice to young women considering engineering is straight from her mother: “You are able to do whatever you want, but you need to do your best.” Immeasurable happiness and satisfaction can be found in the opportunity to see the implementation of a solution you started.

Elisa Mijares
Continuous Improvement Engineer
Tijuana, Mexico

Positively Impacting the Objectives is the Best Satisfaction

“Innovation, creative freedom and a wide field of development as well as constant transformation is what I like the most about being an engineer.”

Elisa’s early interest in KPBS children’s programs related to productive processes may have been the first inspiration for a career in engineering. The hope for a better life and the possibility of contributing to create a better world came next. Her oldest brother was the first in the family to study engineering, and the knowledge he shared cemented her interest in engineering.

Each of the continuous improvement projects she works on offers a captivating possibility to do her very best possible, overcoming any obstacles that arise. Her favorite category of projects relate to optimization of efficiency and all that this implies: study of times and movements, VSM, ergonomics, poka yokes, etc. The reversal of the trend sought and the variables favored by the project make these her favorite projects.

Ines Rodriguez
Pricing Specialist / QRC Supervisor
Tijuana, Mexico

It’s All About Interactions

Ines likes to be competitive in her area and to serve all of her internal and external customers.

The interaction of operators and machines inspired her career in engineering, specifically in how interesting she found the relationship between the two.

“The engineering career is very broad and can meet the expectations of any woman who has a target in her mind.”

Ines most enjoyed a project that consolidated two Bourns plants in Mexico. She completed all the layout drawings to accommodate entire production lines in the same building. For instance, she detailed how to combine Trimpot areas with Sensors & Control in the same side, including the Molding CNC machines.

Rita Ines Cordero Rodriguez
Coordinator of Document Control and Industrial Engineering Heredia, Costa Rica

Engineering is A Nice Way to Help People

Rita’s favorite part of being an engineer is helping to make operations easier and more efficient for people who work in production.

“Ever since I was in school, I wanted to be an engineer to help solve problems.”

She encourages young women to look past the historical taboos and consider the huge range of fields that can be ventured into as an engineer. Many inaccuracies perpetuated in school and college settings could scare people away, but the reality is that engineering is a very nice way of being able to help people. She asks them to consider how they can stand out in varied fields. Creativity, innovation, and development of new things will make life easier for others and for themselves.

Mary Ann Roqhuett
Supply Chain Manager
Heredia, Costa Rica

Connecting Exact Science and Practicality

Mary Ann’s fulfillment in engineering stems from the application and connection between exact science and practicality in real life.

In fact, she was inspired to become an engineer by “the like for exact sciences, numbers, data, and the analytics required to get results.”

She wants young women to know engineering is the best choice and enjoyable if they feel comfortable with structured thinking.

As an industrial engineer, she guides the people reporting to her to implement standard and repeatable processes in the supply chain function including: purchasing, planning, inventory management, logistics, and warehouse. She is interested in the continual identification of inputs, processes, and resulting output.

Lizbeth Sanchez
Quality Engineer
Tijuana, Mexico

Possibilities in Math

Lizbeth enjoys the creativity she gets to exercise while finding innovative solutions.

She became an engineer because of her love for math. “My inspiration was the mathematics. I love it!” She also loves applying the math to statistics.

She wants those considering engineering to know there are no limits to the growth in the field, and it is possible to do whatever you like.

Lizbeth is newer to Bourns, and she is eager to implement projects that focus on Quality Systems, do more lean activities, and improve efficiency and productivity wherever possible.

Monica Santillana
Junior Product Specialist
Riverside, CA
USA

Following Her Family’s Footsteps

Monica loves the new challenge that every day brings as an engineer, thinking in creative ways to solve problems and work efficiently. Working with people from different backgrounds and abilities is highly enriching and makes her want to improve her people skills. The fact that she gets to have a voice and express ideas is empowering and crucial to break through the social stigmas against women and women’s abilities.

The daughter of an industrial engineer, Monica admired how her dad worked and how smart he was, analyzing and solving problems without hesitation and putting his best effort forth to excel at what he did. Monica’s grandmother worked on the assembly lines at Bourns for most of her life. She worked hard and always spoke highly of the engineers with whom she worked. These testimonies made Monica realize she wanted to be involved in the engineering field and give her best to all people around her.

Monica’s advice is to never give up on your dreams since we are all smart and capable of accomplishing anything we set our minds to do. “Many people will tell you that you can’t do it, that women don’t succeed in this line of work, that you should go for something ‘easy’, but I’m a strong believer that hard work and courage of conviction is enough to reach your goals. Professions don’t have gender, so go for it and never stop fighting for what you want.”

The most interesting thing she worked on at Bourns was New Product Releases, an opportunity that doubled as an experience to learn and to grow professionally and personally. It was a long and still ongoing project, but it taught her many things that she knows will help her become a better engineer.

Eszter Ver
Quality Engineer
Hungary

Be Creative Every Day

Eszter likes that engineering is so broad it never gets boring. She can solve problems and be creative every day, and there is always something new to learn. She loves being surrounded by smart people and working in teams, and that she is compensated fairly for her work.

As a child, Eszter enjoyed finding out how things work, and engineering allows her to use that drive to solve problems. Whatever we use is the result of engineering.

She has advice to young women interested in engineering. “Go for it. Be prepared to meet some obstacles. If it’s what you want and what you find interesting, believe in yourself and forget about any stereotypes. Your knowledge and skills are the most important things.”

The most interesting project Eszter worked on at Bourns was the installation of two cable production lines two years ago. Two lines were relocated and cable production, a completely new technology to Bourns, was implemented.

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