I’ve been blogging here on Engineering Emily for two years now, and recently started to realize that I was working in my own little bubble. I knew I wasn’t the only blog for women engineers and teaching kids about STEM, and I decided it is time to start connecting to my fellow bloggers. I wanted to meet some other bloggers to expand my own network, but also to introduce my readers to more resources.
When I opened my eyes, to look around for who else was blogging in this niche I realized I was already following Christy (From Engineer to SAHM) on Pintrest and pinning many of her pins. I was already a fan, so why wasn’t I connecting with her?
One day I sent her an email out of the blue, and happily she responded! I’m so glad I reached out because Christy is awesome. Her story is surprisingly similar to mine. She’s an engineer turned stay-at-home-mom (hence the title of her blog) to three young boys and a great blogger.
If you follow my STEM for Kids posts, then you will definitely be a fan of Christy’s blog. She has so many fun engineering-themed projects for kids on her blog. If your child is (or you want them to be) interested in engineering, she has great ideas for you to try out with your kids at home. She also shares posts about her career as an engineer and provides advice to aspiring engineers.
Read on to get to know Christy a little better in our interview below.
Engineering Emily (EE): What is your name and occupation?
Christy Saludares (CS): Christy Saludares, Mechanical Engineer turned Stay-at-Home Mom
EE: How and when did you decide to become an engineer?
CS: When I started college, the original plan was to major in chemical engineering and pre-med. Then after taking a biology class, and discovering memorizing wasn’t a strong point for me, I asked my dad what I should be. He said, “Mechanical Engineer. Everyone hires mechanical engineers.” and that was that.
EE: What was your college major?
CS: BS in Mechanical Engineering
EE: What was your university experience like as an engineering student?
CS: Great! I found a great group of friends in my major who supported me and helped me learn how to study.
EE: Did you do any engineering internships during college?
CS: Yes. I did one internship during the summer after my sophomore year, then a co-op the following spring, summer, and spring semesters.
EE: How did you find/get hired for your first engineering job?
CS: The university I went to had a job fair for engineers. After interviewing with several companies, I received my first job my last semester of school.
EE: What industry do you currently work in?
CS: Stay at home
EE: What has been your career path from college graduation up to today?
CS: My first job was a business roll where I was working on a team that was to reduce the amount of knowledge lost to the company when people retired. My next job was as a project engineer at a chemical plant, then a mechanical engineer at a diaper plant, and my last job was a project engineer at an environmental systems company.
EE: Have you travelled for work, and if so how often and to where?
CS: Yes, but not often. My last position started requiring me to travel a lot, which is one of the reasons I left the job. It was too much time away from my kids.
EE: Have you had to move for work?
CS: My first job out of college, I was in a development program that moved you every 18 months. My first rotation was in Delaware, then I was transferred to West Virginia. After being West Virginia for about a year, my sister had her first child, and I wanted to be closer to my family. So my fiancé and I transferred to Paris, Texas to be closer to my family in Fort Worth. After a few years in Paris, my fiancé turned husband was laid off, and found a job in Dallas, so I found a job in Dallas.
What I love about an engineering degree is that it never took me a long time to find a job. It always seems there are more engineering positions open than engineers to fill them.
EE: What has been your best experience working as an engineer?
CS: My last job as a project engineer. I was in charge of the whole design process, from the request from the customer, through detail design, then fabrication, and finally start-up. I love seeing projects from concept to start-up!
EE: What has been your most challenging experience working as an engineer?
CS: Working in a chemical plant. I worked in a high hazardous area, and it was stressful to think that if I chose the wrong material of construction, I could cause harm to many people.
EE: Do you feel women are treated equally to men in engineering?
CS: In some ways yes, and in some ways no. I had great mentors (both male and female) at my first two jobs that really set me up for success. But later in my career, I felt that my decision to become a mom had limited me. I even had a boss once tell me “I wanted to recommend you for a future leadership program, but I’m afraid you are just not committed to the company enough.” (this is also mentioned in my post http://www.fromengineertosahm.com/why-we-leave-stem-careers/ )
EE: What advice do you have for girls interested becoming an engineer?
CS: Stick with it! It really is a great field to enter, with an endless amount of opportunities. Take advantage of all those opportunities in your career.
EE: Why did you leave engineering?
CS: I left for so many reasons. I actually have a post about it here:
EE: Do you plan to return to engineering? If so, when? If not, why not?
CS: I’m not sure right now. I’m just in the thick of raising young kids, and haven’t really decided yet.
EE: Would you still become an engineer if you could do it all over again?
CS: YES! It gave me a great career for 10 years, with many opportunities and financially stable start out of college.
Thanks Christy for sharing your story with us today on the blog! Being an Engineer turned stay-at-home mom (and blogger) myself, I could definitely relate to her story. I highly recommend you click on the links above to read the full story on why she left engineering to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s a tough choice to make but also very rewarding.
In her post “Why we leave STEM careers,” she really hits the nail on the head when she names “motherhood” as a factor that separates women from men in our careers. That is the main reason I have seen as why many women leave successful careers in engineering. Since Motherhood and our natural instinct to want to care for our young families can’t be changed, then I think companies should start to focus on how to bring women back to work in STEM careers after raising their family. 🙂
If you’re an engineer turned stay-at-home mom like Christy and me and would like to share your story on the blog, please contact me!