Engineers Today Making a Difference for Future Engineers

In celebration of Engineers Week, Design News invited its engineer contributing writers to tell their personal stories. In this installment, contributing writer Nancy Golden recalls the first time she came across the job title of "engineer."

February 25, 2016

5 Min Read
Engineers Today Making a Difference for Future Engineers

[Editor's Note: In celebration of Engineers Week 2016, Design News invited its engineer contributing writers to tell their personal stories. And don't forget to read our special readers submission series: Why I Became an Engineer.]

Engineers Week is a great way to share how exciting it is to be in the engineering profession. An engineer can dream as big as they want to with endless possibilities for being creative and for making our world a better place with their contributions. It is so important for us to never forget the influence we can have on a child, and how by sharing our excitement about engineering we can make a big difference in their life.

I was fortunate to have Frank Edwards do that for me. He and his family lived down the street, and when I was in elementary school, I often played with his two daughters, who were close to my age. I was given an assignment in sixth grade to interview someone about his or her profession. I chose Mr. Edwards because I knew he was an engineer.

(Source: Texas Instruments)

I wasn’t quite sure what an engineer was, but I was interested enough to want to find out. Mr. Edwards was happy to grant my interview request and regaled me with stories about his experience at Texas Instruments –- it was very exciting times in electronics back then.

He was there when TI came out with the first commercial silicon transistor way back in 1954. I didn’t understand a lot of what he said at the time, but what he did manage to communicate very clearly was his passion for engineering, and the excitement he felt at being able to be a part of a team that designed new things. That made quite an impression on a sixth-grade girl, and influenced my decision in later years to explore engineering as a profession. I am so glad that I did!

When I was first hired as a test engineer, I woke up every day excited to go to work, and didn’t want to stop at quitting time. I couldn’t believe they would pay me so much money to have so much fun!


Later on, I was absolutely delighted when one of our local colleges asked me to come speak to a group of high school counselors about how they could encourage female students to explore engineering as a profession and what unique challenges may exist for women both in school and upon entering a predominantly male workforce in engineering. Fortunately times have changed since then, and more and more women have chosen to pursue their engineering dreams, so that the playing field between genders has become more level. And what I have found throughout my career is that technical proficiency will always trump any gender bias. If you are good at what you do and you work hard, you will soon find yourself in demand regardless of gender.

We need more young people to become engineers, and while having a strong desire to explore their world and a love of things STEM will increase their longevity in this fascinating profession, it also helps tremendously to have mentors along the way to encourage and direct them into the areas where their talents and passion can flourish.

(Source: Simon Howden at

I also had an opportunity to teach a robotics club at our son’s middle school. The students learned elementary laws of electronics and simple circuit design along with basic mechanical principles, with an eye toward building simple robotics. Both boys and girls were excited to learn, and it was a great experience for all of the kids to expand their knowledge and explore what it might be like to pursue a profession related to STEM. Opportunities to teach are everywhere and are a fantastic way for us engineers to give back to this great profession that allows us to use our creativity to solve problems and design products that make a difference.

Nancy Golden started her electronics career at Dallas Semiconductor and moved to Optek Technology where she was a test engineer for several years, eventually moving up to test engineering manager. Nancy became especially experienced in hall effect characterization and test and also gained experience with photologics, LEDs, VCSELs, and fiber optic transmission. The first person to become a Certified TestPoint Application Specialist (CTAS) by Capital Equipment Corporation, she has done contract work for Hitachi and Andrews Corporation and control room software for NBC in Testpoint. Nancy owns a small business called Golden Technical Creations, a service oriented company that provides consulting, teaching, PIC programming, curriculum development and web design for its customers. Between engineering projects she writes fiction and nonfiction for different venues. You can learn more regarding her writing efforts at novelwrites. Nancy also owns a small business where she and her husband Phil, who is an electrical engineer, design trail obstacles for horses, which can be found at Golden Cross Ranch and she is an adjunct faculty member at Dallas Christian College.

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