In Part 1 of my interview with Syronna Brown, engineer, role model, and fashionista, Syronna shared what she did inside and outside of engineering and what she liked best about the profession. In Part 2, she shares what is the hardest part about being an engineer and what her advice is to students pursing STEM careers. Read on to learn more about this amazing STEM woman! #STEMGirlsRock
Suzanna: On the flip side, what would you say is the hardest part of your [engineering] job?
Syronna: It’s not hard, but as a minority woman in a tech field, specifically in an organization that’s been around for more than 50 years, the most difficult part is working for certain individuals who judge, criticize, and are not into diversity and inclusion in the workplace…It’s still that good ‘ole boy club—[unfortunately], it’s still around.
For example, I was placed in role as a lead [manager] and one individual was not accepting of me being in this position. So [this person] worked hard to find ways to move me out of the role and was successful at doing so after a few months. [He] even told me face-to-face that I should not be a lead…It wasn’t that I was not fulfilling my duties at all. After I was moved into another position, this person…tried to apologize later and said [he] would still give [me] a good review. I responded in a respectful manner and kept moving forward because this person was not going to hold me back.
Suzanna: I’m not sure I even know how to respond. That’s appalling you had to deal with good ‘ole boy club mentality, but I know it happens in our industry. What would you tell a student in a similar situation?
Syronna: Speak up and have confidence; there is no need to be intimated by your peers, colleagues, or senior leadership. Keep moving forward because this person is not going to hold you back.
Suzanna: Speaking of empowering students, can you tell me a little more about Style Kemistry?
Syronna: Style Kemistry is about empowering and engaging girls in STEM all while discovering their own personal style. It is a place where STEM & Style meets. It’s a resource for young ladies that are in the world of STEM and shows them they can be smart, savvy, stylish and inspired to achieve her dreams. It is about that girl who is confident in personal style, knows her unique qualities, and understands her beauty inside and out.
Syronna: Be your intentional best in every situation. Stand out from the crowd! Take risks and seize opportunities with STEM and [your] personal Style.
Suzanna: Okay, what is the last piece of advice you’d give to a student pursuing a STEM career?
Syronna: Choose wisely and get involved with activities that give you skills and know-how. This can be collegiate clubs, community outreach, leadership roles, or additional classes. You want to be equipped to handle many situations as you grow into a young adult. No matter which school and career path chosen, start to build networks early, establishing your brand.
Thank you Syronna for the insight on engineering and for your advocacy work with girls and women in STEM! To learn more about Syronna and Style Kemistry, please follow her on Facebook or Instagram. Make sure to use the hash tag #STEMGirlsRock!
This piece comes to us from one of our amazing community members and content volunteers, Suzie Olsen. Her bio is below, be sure to check out her awesome website and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Suzie Olsen is a Staff Systems Engineer in Phoenix, AZ. When she is not busy building and maintaining the search and rescue system for the US Coast Guard, she is performing science experiments and engineering design projects with K-12 students. To encourage all students in science, technology, engineering and math,she has written the book “Annie Aardvark, Mathematician.” You can learn more about Suzie here!