Education

Building Bridges, Not Barriers: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering


In this episode, I talk with Palisha Sthapit, EIT, technical resource engineer at Rinker Materials, about her experiences as a young woman of color in the engineering industry, covering her role as a technical resource engineer and the challenges and growth opportunities faced in a male-dominated field. We delve into her insights on promoting diversity and inclusion in engineering.

***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***

Engineering Quotes:

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Palisha:

  • What specific challenges have you encountered as a young woman of color navigating the male-dominated landscape of the engineering sector?
  • How have your experiences influenced your perspective on promoting diversity and inclusion in the energy industry?
  • Did any mentors or courses during your academic journey significantly impact your chosen career path?
  • How do you feel about work-life integration, considering factors beyond just the job?
  • What advice would you offer to women facing similar challenges in the engineering industry, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds?

Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering:

  • Palisha, a young woman of color in engineering for two years, initially found it tough entering a mostly male field after graduating. Beating imposter syndrome, she noticed there aren’t many women, especially from South Asian backgrounds, in civil engineering. As an immigrant, language and cultural differences were challenges, but Palisha worked hard to connect with her peers. She sees the value of diverse perspectives in her teamwork, and despite the hurdles, she embraced the industry, growing both personally and professionally.
  • In the energy industry, having more women and women of color is crucial. People are encouraged to be pioneers, bringing diverse perspectives to improve team dynamics. It points out the need for increased representation, indicating the value of diverse experiences and backgrounds in a team.
  • Palisha’s academic journey shifted from architectural to civil engineering. While initially planning for a research assistant role, her mentor, Dr. Al-Bamali, suggested an internship at the American Concrete Pipe Association. Though unsure at first, she embraced the opportunity, shaping her current industry involvement. Dr. Al-Bamali and her supervisor, Margarita, played pivotal roles in influencing Palisha’s career path beyond her academic coursework.
  • Outside of work, Palisha enjoys watching movies and is an avid animal lover who rescues cats. She’s a dancer, currently taking classes with plans to teach in the future. Palisha has also developed a reading habit, aiming to finish 10 books next year. In her free time, she likes hanging out with friends and taking part in activities that offer a break from work.
  • When facing challenges in engineering, particularly for those from underrepresented backgrounds, it’s vital to prioritize hard work, ask questions, and build confidence. Advocating for oneself by speaking up is crucial, and surrounding yourself with positive and constructive individuals is essential. Breaking the cycle and encouraging representation in underrepresented communities within the field is achieved by becoming a role model and stepping up.
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More Details in This Episode…

About the Guest: Palisha Sthapit, EIT

Rinker MaterialsPalisha Sthapit, an engineering-in-training (EIT) professional, has been making her mark in the engineering sector, focusing on technical resource engineering and sales engineering. As of July 2023, Palisha serves as a technical resource engineer at Rinker Materials, a prominent player in the construction industry. In this role, she leverages her extensive knowledge and skills to contribute significantly to various engineering projects and initiatives.

Before her current position, Palisha was a technical sales engineer at Oldcastle Infrastructure from April 2022 to July 2023. During this period, she played a vital role in bridging the gap between technical expertise and sales strategies, demonstrating her ability to blend engineering principles with business acumen.

Palisha’s academic foundation is rooted in architectural engineering, having earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington. Her academic journey spanned from 2017 to 2021, during which she acquired a comprehensive understanding of architectural engineering principles and practices.

Her professional journey and educational background together illustrate a dedication to advancing in the field of engineering, with a particular focus on integrating technical knowledge with practical application in the industry.

About the Host: Tiffani Teachey

Women in EngineeringTiffani Teachey is a Sr. Mechanical Engineer, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) advocate, TEDx international speaker, and international best-selling author of the children’s book “What Can I Be? STEM Careers from A to Z,” the STEM Crew Kids Adventures series, and three empowerment books. She is the host of the Read It Right Radio Show on WDRBmedia. Tiffani is the owner of Thrive Edge Publishing and owner/publishing consultant of Inspired Authors Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management, both from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is currently a Leadership Studies Ph.D. student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

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As an engineer with more than 19 years of experience, Tiffani has a passion for inspiring the next generation to engage in STEM careers. She was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and enjoys traveling and being a youth mentor. For more about Tiffani, visit her website at www.TiffaniTeachey.com. Check out the free STEM gift – 10 STEM Scholarships & Organizations e-book at www.stemistheway.com.

Sources/References:

Rinker Materials
University of Texas Arlington
American Concrete Pipe Association (ACPA)
Connect with Palisha Sthapit, EIT, on LinkedIn

This Episode Is Brought to You by PS&S

PS&SPS&S is an award-winning “one-stop shop” of architecture and engineering excellence. The depth and breadth of their expertise has helped PS&S grow into a firm offering multi-disciplined, full-service architecture, engineering, design, environmental, and surveying consulting services.

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Having proudly served a sophisticated client base operating in numerous industries, they know the importance of developing on-time, cost-effective, and high-quality solutions to the most difficult challenges. For more information, visit psands.com.

We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you can share on promoting diversity and inclusion in engineering.

Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below.

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To your success,

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Tiffani Teachey
Host of the Women in Engineering Success Stories from STEM Professionals Podcast



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