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What to Wear: Female Engineer

Kailey Bradt
Chemical Engineering BS '15

One of the first questions I am always asked when I hand someone my business card or introduce myself is, “You’re an engineer?” After a brief discussion I am usually told, “You look REALLY young.” Yes, I am an engineer. I look young, well, because I am! As a 22-year-old female engineer, the way I present myself continues to be extremely important in the workplace.

Unlike most Chem-E’s my job is not that of a  typical entry-level engineering position. I became involved with a start-up company based in Los Angeles a few months after they launched in 2013. My co-op position started the same way as most, where I spent about 90% of my time in the lab dressed in a lab coat, safety goggles, and purple nitrile gloves. As the company began to grow, I began spending significantly less time in the lab. I became more involved in meetings with engineers from other companies. That progressed to attending conferences, which quickly led to presenting at these conferences. Giving presentations to engineers that have been in the field longer than I have been alive was pretty intimidating, especially at my age. A significant factor in what helped me (and continues to help me) be confident is the way I presented myself. A big part of that is what you are wearing. So, here are a few tips I would give to any female engineer for when you go to an interview, meeting, conference, and even give presentations!

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