CELEBRATING WOMEN IN ENGINEERING: 4 dynamic women engineers
La'Toya Jackson-Morgan

La'Toya Jackson-Morgan

Chemical Engineer

Assistant Vice- President Project Management Office, NWC

Latoya Jackson-Morgan is the first female water production manager at the National Water Commission (NWC). In her current capacity as the Assistant Vice-President of the agency's Project Management Office, she provides leadership, coordination and management of the processes and functions of the office.

“I also define standards and execute tasks associated with the management of projects, as well as work harmoniously with departments in the company in ensuring that programmes and projects are successfully executed to meet NWC's goals and requirements,” she told All Woman. “The successful completion of these projects directly contributes to national development through extension of services – access to and provision of continuous water supply; and the disposal and treatment of wastewater.”

AW: What inspired you to choose a career in engineering?

LJM: I was always scientific-minded and wanted to enter the medical field; however, after witnessing an accident I realised that medicine was not my true passion. As a child I was very curious about how things work, and after being exposed to the field of engineering, I realised that an engineering education would have developed and enriched my passion for solving problems.

AW: What do you love most about working in the field?

LJM: The engineering field is very dynamic and I am exposed to a wide body of knowledge. It is a continuous learning process and I consider myself to be a professional student.

AW: What is one area you think can be improved to make engineering more welcoming to women?

Although I have not experienced this personally, I have observed that there is the need for equal opportunity for female engineers in the decision-making process. There are instances when women's physical and mental capabilities are undermined.

AW: What advice would you give to girls and young women who are considering engineering careers?

LJM: Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and ignore the naysayers.

Seychelle Bailey

Marine engineering cadet, CMU graduate

With the overwhelming majority of goods being transported by ship globally, marine engineers are critical for more than just sea vessels – they are critical for global travel and trade. As a marine engineer, Seychelle Bailey focuses primarily on designing, installing, maintaining and operating marine diesel engines as well as propulsion and power plant operation. Bailey made history by becoming the first Jamaican female marine engineer onboard a ship in the Carnival Cruise Line.

AW: What inspired you to choose a career in engineering?

SB: I was always good at math and was always a person who liked to be involved. I chose the engineering field based on self-evaluation of my strengths and weaknesses and what I hoped to accomplish, put together with my passions.

AW: What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?

SB: The fact that I get to be a part of an entity that I have so little experience in – its versatility in learning and development drives a passion for me as an individual.

AW: How can we make engineering more attractive and accommodating to women?

SB: Treat us equally and trust our abilities to carry out the same tasks as men. I believe the main area of opportunity for improvement is for us to be treated like every other employee. I say this to say: If I'm entrusted with the same jobs and exposure, then I'll garner the practical skills to develop my knowledge and work ethic as an engineer.

AW: What advice would you give to girls who are thinking of becoming engineers?

SB: Take the time out to learn about maritime conscience and the great opportunities and advantages the sea has to offer. Also, do not be afraid that your knowledge of tools and basic engineering will determine your future in the engineering field. All that matters is that you put in the extra work to improve your weaknesses on the areas you're not familiar with and you will be superior. The work is also easier once you've grown a passion for it.

Moesha Henry

Civil Engineer

Junior Project Engineer at Smith Warner International

As a project engineer, Moesha Henry is responsible for the technical aspects needed to complete a project in the timeliest and most economically efficient manner. This involves ensuring that engineering projects are being executed correctly based on design drawings, technical specifications, and all governed by standards and codes, and within budget. Civil engineers like her help to improve our daily lives by being intimately involved with implementing solutions to meet infrastructural needs – expanding Jamaica's road network, for example – all while taking into consideration the safety, health and welfare of the public, and providing the best quality output.

AW: Why did you choose a career in engineering?

MH: My passion for learning inspired me to pursue a career in engineering. The learning never stops, it keeps my brain active and forces me to think logically. There's just a shared excitement in being able to assist in solving real world problems. Also, geography and mathematics were always two of my favourite subjects in school, and engineering is somewhat a good mix of both, since it encompasses the natural and built environment.

AW: What do you love most about being a civil engineer?

MH: I love that there is a good balance between working in an office and working on site. Working outside of the office affords me the opportunity to travel outside of Kingston, creating new experiences and meeting new people of all walks of life. Being able to work in the office affords me the ability to pace down in a sense and get a lot of computer-aided engineering work done... in the comfort of the office air conditioning!

AW: What is one opportunity for improvement that you have observed or experienced as a female engineer?

MH: With the growing demand for women in STEM, I have observed that employers are seeking to employ more women within the field. Additionally, there are growing opportunities worldwide to encourage women in STEM, to earn scholarships to pursue studies in engineering.

AW: What advice would you give to a little girl who is thinking of pursuing a career in your field?

MH: I would tell her that she is just as capable as anybody else to perform excellently in the field of engineering. She doesn't need to change who she is or “man up” to fit in a male-dominated field. Be confident, be yourself and don't underestimate your value.

Shajae Dorcia Foster

Sanitation Engineer, Wisynco

Job description: To facilitate the implementation and execution of an effective Clean-In-Place (CIP) programme for all production equipment. To undertake projects aimed at improving the CIP process time and results. Perform analysis and reviews of data. To assume responsibility for the safety aspects of cleaning and sanitation exercises. Enforce related aspects of health and safety programme for chemical handling, their use and PPEs.

AW: What's the most interesting thing about your job?

SF: The most interesting thing about my job is the day to day challenges I face and finding corrective and preventive measure to combat them. To achieve this I work with a lovely team of professionals who I learn from daily.

AW: What is a typical day like for you?

SF: My typical day varies as situations may arise and you don't do the first thing you might have had on the agenda. But normally I would check in with my colleagues to see if there are any changes regarding the sanitation schedule and action them. I'll review previous sanitation records, carry out an analysis on areas which need improvement, which speaks to the diversity of this field so there is always something that keeps you excited.

AW: Was this always what you wanted to do?

SF: No, I was looking for something in the line of physics and mathematics, since I had a love for those two, and a good friend of mine told me about chemical engineering. I did my investigations, it seemed appealing so I decided to pursue chemical engineering at the University of Technology, Jamaica. While pursuing my degree I came to love the field because of the diversity. Being a sanitation engineer allows me to continue pursuing what i love as I statistically analyse data.

AW: What is it like being a woman in a male-dominated industry?

SF: I don't feel like a woman in a man's world. I am a human being carrying a task I was employed to do to the best of my ability.

AW: What are the qualifications necessary for your field?

SF: Tertiary level education/training in mechanical, electrical, chemical or production engineering/technology.

AW: Tell us about the about the most challenging project that you have been involved with during the past year?

SF: There was some inconsistency with a particular product which required my team and I to analyse the production from different angles based on variables that contribute to achieving what is required.

AW: Would you encourage more women to enter the field?

SF: Most definitely, I believe that there should be a diversity in the field. Women are severely underrepresented because not much is done to educated females about this career path. Having a fair mixture of men and women in the field would allow for more rounded ideas as each person's perspective would be different.

AW: How would you get girls excited about opportunities in the field?

SF: By creating exposure to chemical engineering or engineering on a whole to girls at an early age. While this may not guarantee that they will get into the field through this exposure, at least it gives them the opportunity to be in the know before they cultivate a preferred career path or learn a perceived gender bias – through methods such as seminars, workshops and the reinforcing of STEM in schools, which will help them to develop their creative minds and also an appreciation for field.

AW: What do you do when you are not working?

SF: In addition to keeping up with the ever-changing time and technology I do enjoy the beach, seafood and socialising with friends.

Seychelle Bailey
Moesha Henry
Shajae Dorcia Foster

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