Office of the Dean
Phone: (208) 885-6470
Fax: (208) 885-6645
Janssen Engineering (JEB)
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1011
Moscow, ID 83844-1011
Contact Denise Engebrecht
Phone: (208) 364-6123
Fax: (208) 364-3160
Idaho Water Center
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702
Contact Debbie Caudle
Phone: (208) 282-7983
Fax: (208) 282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402
Houston, We Have Impact: What Women Want from Engineering
When strong engineering aptitude and the dogged persistence that leads to insight are exhibited equally by young men and young women, why are those women less likely than the men to choose an education, and a career, in engineering?
The research says women are more likely to seek careers that make a difference in the world, and to the people around them. Anna Camery, graduating from the university in December with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, has experienced firsthand what that impact might entail, and takes the long view on making it happen.
“There are so many different areas where you can have impact,” says Camery. “Engineering is technology based. You’re not a doctor, saving lives, but maybe you're creating technology that in the future will save many lives.”
“I’ve done projects working on space and aerospace technology. You can work on prosthetics, defense technology, construction, anything involving computers, or power – helping to supply power to everyone in the world. Those projects assist people,” says Camery. “Engineering’s impact is really spread out over everything; it’s the behind the scenes groundwork that makes everything work."
For young women, and men, one key for success is to take advantage of every opportunity they can wrangle.
Camery has done that.
Her high school teachers recognized her aptitude and directed her toward challenging courses in math and physics. When she arrived at the University of Idaho, she took advantage of every classroom and extracurricular opportunity for full immersion in the field. As a freshman, she led a team in the design, development and implementation of a mobile artificial intelligence robotic system that ultimately placed second out of 10 teams in a Warbots Competition.
After that, she was hooked.
“That was the class that got me interested in engineering and showed me what it had to offer,” says Camery. “Those first couple of classes drew me in and kept me there.”
In her four and a half years at the University of Idaho, Camery has taken on a variety of leadership roles in the Idaho RISE Near Space Engineering program, the Idaho Space Grant Consortium’s student high-altitude scientific balloon program. She led the team responsible for all RISE communications instrumentation, protocols, procedures, weather predictions, launch site selection, and navigation and tracking of balloons during flights.
In 2009 and again in 2010, she was selected to serve summer internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, Calif. All told, Camery has logged 20 weeks of work experience in JPL’s In Situ instrument section, assisting the chief engineer in research, design and construction of extreme environment instruments for future planetary exploration. That experience includes hands-on field and lab work, where she tested the electronics, circuitry and power systems for the Antarctica Borehole Probe Project.
As a senior, Camery worked as a member of a NASA-sponsored robotics team, and designed and built operational inductive charging systems for a future NASA Lunar Rover, an experience culminating in a presentation to NASA engineers and researchers.
Camery also volunteers on public service projects, is a member of the National Association for Women in Construction, and served as technology and electronics operator for her sorority, Delta Gamma.
For young women interested in engineering, Camery offers advice that she has ground tested and proven effective.
“My advice would be to really get involved in extracurricular activities, and to go talk to a couple of professors, because they'll be the ones who know the most and can help students know what works for them,” says Camery.
“The things that engineers get to work on are just amazing. There are endless opportunities out there.”
- biological and agricultural engineering,
- chemical engineering,
- civil engineering,
- computer science,
- electrical and computer engineering,
- materials science and engineering,
- and mechanical engineering.