Jayne Beck uses excel her own life experience to encourage girls to pursue careers in engineering.
At the 12th annual Siemens “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event in West Chicago, IL, in March, Jayne Beck showed a group of 100 girls what stuffed animals, cheesecake, music, perfume, airplanes, medical equipment, motors, and cell phones all had in common. It’s easy, she explained. The designs all depend on the creativity and skills of engineers.
Once considered a male profession, Beck and other women like her are breaking the stereotype. Beck, the Motor Control Center Order Engineering Manager at the Siemens facility in West Chicago, part of Siemens Corp., Washington, has been an engineer for 35 years. Her story, though, goes back even further.
“My dad was a plant manager of a very small company. He would take me with him to work on Saturdays and let me run manual brake presses and let me make things with scraps of sheet metal,” Beck said. “I had girl toys, but also lots of boy toys. My parents didn’t believe in stereotypes. I liked playing with Legos, building blocks, Lincoln Logs—toys more associated with boys, especially in the 1960s.”
Her first aspiration was to become an architect. “I did well in science and math. A high school counselor told me engineering was the same as architecture,” she said. “This is not really true, but I believed it and began to pursue engineering.”