Sarah, 23 years-old, is a Moroccan control and embedded systems engineer. We met her as she was doing a one-year internship in the Silicon Valley at a car-maker. Part of her job was to develop artificial intelligence for vehicles, including autonomous cars.
After she graduated from high school in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, Sarah pursued her engineering studies in Toulouse, France. “In order to get my Engineering Masters, I had to complete an internship. I chose to come to the Silicon Valley because it is the heart of the tech world,” she told us. Her internship ended in March and she went back to her country to find a job.
When she was young, Sarah was good at math and physics. “It was obvious that I would like engineering, she said. I could have become a mathematician but I wanted to do a job that would allow me to create things.” And the good thing with engineering is that you have a choice between various areas – automotive, aerospace, electronics, medical, etc. “It’s nice to know that what you create can have an impact on the world.”
The U.S. experience
“Since I was in the Silicon Valley, I had the opportunity to attend a lot of demos, go to a few conferences, etc.” Sarah confessed that her job was excited because she got to see “a lot of innovative tech products.”
Being a women engineer
“It’s a fact that there are not a lot of women in engineering, Sarah admitted. I feel that, unlike boys, girls are not pushed towards mechanics and building things, they are encouraged to pursue literature and other kinds of arts.” However, things are changing and she hopes that more female students will choose engineering like she did. “We should go to schools and encourage them to participate in activities like hackathons and show them how fun it is!”
Stop the clichés
The cliché about female engineers that bothers Sarah the most is that “a lot of people still think that women don’t know how to code and deal with computers.” And that’s not all, “I hate to hear that women engineers are not pretty. Just because we do more technical things doesn’t mean that we don’t like to shop and wear makeup.”