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Inspiration for next generation of female engineers

Ana Aritonovska, E’16, discovered that civil engineering was the career for her during a 2014 co-op at Granite Construction. Her job involved developing a lift plan to install a 30,000-pound drainage structure at the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York.

“I was just watching it go into the ground and my heart was racing,” Aritonovska said. “Watching something that I spent four months working on and having it go into the ground without a problem was the best moment.”

For Aritonovska, as well as fellow seniors Emily Zeisler and Taylor Kalomeris, pursuing an engineering degree was not something they fully considered until they arrived at Northeastern.

“Coming into college I had no idea what I wanted to do,” explained Kalomeris, E’16. “I knew I was good at math and science. But events like the ones the Society of Women Engineers hosted helped me figure it out.”

All three are now members of Northeastern’s Society of Women Engineers student group, which works to inform young women and others about the opportunities open to women through engineering.

Being at Northeastern with the co-op program solidified my passion (for civil engineering)”
— Ana Aritonovska, E’16

To kick off the university’s celebration of National Engineers Week, which will run from Feb. 22 to 27, SWE is hosting a Women in Engineering Day on Saturday called “Cool women, hot careers.” More than 100 female high school students and their parents will be on hand to hear from a student panel of SWE members and participate in fun engineering activities like mixing cornstarch and water and utilizing Northeastern’s earthquake-simulating shake table.

“We also want to give them an opportunity to ask questions,” Zeisler explained. “We were recently in their shoes, so it is one of the more useful aspects of the day and I think they find it really valuable.”

Upon arriving at Northeastern themselves a few years ago, Aritonovska, Zeisler, and Kalomeris all soon learned of the various disciplines available within engineering—thanks in part to events like those organized by SWE. Kalomeris ultimately chose to study chemical engineering and plans to attend medical school; Zeisler, E’16, is majoring in industrial engineering and will work as a management consulting analyst in San Francisco. Aritonovska has a job lined up in the construction industry in New York.

“Being at Northeastern with the co-op program solidified my passion,” Aritonovska said.

An attractive aspect of engineering, all three agreed, is the flexibility the field offers and the different opportunities available to pursue. “The skills you learn, not just the technical ones, but broader problem solving skills, are what I think companies really look for,” Zeisler noted.