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Jewish Alliance for Women in Science

Helping Women Enter Careers Related to Science and Medicine

JAWS Highlighted Feature

Visit Mentors' Round Table to read our interviews of women in the fields of science and health. These are women of varying levels of experience and backgrounds, brought to the table to answer your questions about everything from work-life balance to financial management. Read on, be inspired, and leave them (and us!) a comment!

Newest Interviews: Ecologist, MD Student 1 (2nd year) , MD Student 2 (2nd year) , Optometry Student and Speech Pathologist

Check back soon! More to come!

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 Many people think engineering is all about blueprints and circuits. This couldn't be farther from the truth! Engineers are involved in many aspects of our lives. Some help prevent pollution, others fix computer problems and design new pharmaceuticals and biomedical devices. Still others teach or help build cities and bridges. Engineering is also a suitable major for prelaw or premed students. The world is really your oyster with an engineering degree.

Engineering is a good option for a girl who likes Math and Physics and can see herself involved with those concepts as a career. Even though the ratio of men to women in the engineering field is getting increasingly smaller, it is still considered a male-dominated field, specifically in electrical and civil engineering. This should not deter anyone, as there are still many female engineers in the field, with the number only increasing.


Believe it or not, engineering actually requires less training than most careers featured here on JAWS. An engineering position usually requires a 4 year undergraduate degree in a specialized engineering program. This means you should know you want to be an engineer when you start college to avoid lost time. The first year is usually similar between different engineering pathways so you may have some leeway before you must commit to a specific specialty. Years 2-4 tend to be more field specific. Engineers then enter the workforce with significantly higher starting salaries than college graduates in other fields.

There are several masters and PhD programs for certain people who want to teach, or have some other specialized engineering position. Most engineers today do not need to attend such programs, but the option is there.


Your main exam to becoming an engineer is the SAT. You need to be accepted into a good college with an engineering program so do not take this lightly! High school can be a tough time but it is important to get your best score.

You should also take several SAT II exams. Most colleges recommend taking a language or humanity, two sciences and a math. High school AP courses are great help towards preparing for these exams but it is possible for a devoted student to prepare on their own.

Once you graduate college, many jobs require you to have a professional engineering license (PE). First you must take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam which is two four sessions with a total of 180 questions related to your specific field of engineering. After four years of experience in the field you are eligible to take the P.E. exam.


Your main application is your college application. Be sure to apply to schools with solid engineering programs. If you are looking at a school that does not state they have an engineering program ask what options they offer for engineers. Some may have two year transfer agreements with an engineering school. If they do not have any options, then this is likely not the best school for you. Your guidance counselor can help you select schools and prepare your application.

Specialty Fields

This is a diverse field. Here are some of the more popular majors offered by schools.

Biomedical Engineering: These engineers work in different medical fields to design solutions to current medical problems. This runs the range from prosthesis and medication design to engineering crops to contain more vitamins. Some engineers in this field focus on electronics while others focus on natural process and medication development. This is also a great major for premed students interested in technology development.

Chemical Engineering: If chemistry is your thing this is the field for you! These engineers apply the principles of engineering to solve problems in chemical synthesis, use and handling. They may purify drinking water, help mass produce medicines and vaccines, reduce pollution and prepare plans for chemical attack defense.

Mechanical Engineering: These engineers are experts in all things machine related. They design machines and tools that can complete a job in the most efficient way possible. This can include designing automobiles and spaceships and even making child's toys.

Computer Engineering: These engineers don't just use computer, nor do they stop at building them; they also design new software and hardware. They make computers smaller and better designed as well as more functional.

Electrical engineering: Study of all things electronic related. These are the people who make robots and MRI machines as well as cell phones and large circuitry systems. They even create special effects for movies.

Civil engineering: These engineers design and supervise the construction of structures. This includes, bridges, skyscrapers, highways, water systems, art museums, refugee camps, you name it.

Other less common but equally important fields include: agricultural engineering, environmental engineering, aerospace engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering, and nuclear engineering.

Support and Information

Engineer Girl is a great resource for anyone interested in engineering. It contains information on particular careers and salaries, colleges and internships to apply to and inspirational stories about women in engineering. Check out the "ask an engineer" feature for answers to your questions.

Engineer Your Life Engineer Your Life (EYL) is a national messaging campaign designed to reposition engineering as an exciting, rewarding career choice for young women. EYL features 10 great reasons to become an engineer, streaming video of inspiring women engineers, descriptions of dream engineering jobs, and more!

Education Center Online has an article about obtaining the P.E. license.

Society of Women Engineers Founded in 1950, SWE is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career for women through an exciting array of training and development programs, networking opportunities, scholarships, outreach and advocacy activities, and much more.