To promote women in engineering, the Grove School of Engineering (GSOE) has established an annual event “Women in Engineering Luncheon.” Each spring, Vice Dean Brown invites a distinguished woman engineer to give the keynote speech. All faculty, staff and female students are invited to join the luncheon where the President and Dean come to address the importance of women in engineering and to report the success in nurturing women engineers. Each speaker gives an illuminating story of their career path, serving as the role models for all female students. Following the keynote speech, the President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) of the GSOE is introduced to the speaker. The SWE at GSOE has been actively engaging the female students in career development programs and outreach activities of engineering education.
The speaker for the 2010 Women in Engineering Luncheon was Rashmi Raj who graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and then attended the Seton Hall School of Law to study patent law. She is currently the Managing Intellectual Property Counsel of Tyco International Inc. Tyco generates revenue of more than $17 billion and has more than 100,000 employees worldwide. Rashmi is responsible for all intellectual property legal advisement. The rigorous academic training in mechanical engineering she has received set the stage for her successful career as a patent attorney.
“Coming to City College, I felt as if I had always been there. Although I was not formerly educated at CCNY, there is a bond and spirit that I share with this great institution,” Rashmi Raj spoke passionately.“ My father, Dr. Rishi S. Raj, is the chair of the faculty senate and has spent more than 30 years educating students in the Mechanical Engineering Department, a department and faculty I grew up with.” Her story continued.
“I was fascinated by law during my years in high school. However, with some parental guidance and my aptitude towards the math and sciences, I decided engineering would be a dependable major in the very remote event that law school did not work out.”
“While in engineering, at no time did I feel that being a woman offered me fewer opportunities than my fellow male classmates,” she said. “In a class of 170 graduating mechanical engineers, one could count the total number of women in my class on one hand. However, I convinced myself that I had the same tools, the same determination if not more, and I worked just as hard. There was no reason I should not succeed.”
“During my senior year in engineering, I attended a seminar where the speaker explained that he was a patent attorney; he was an engineer who went to law school. That was the moment all the pieces of my puzzle fit together. The bridge that linked my engineering degree and my pursuit of a law degree had finally formed.” Ms. Rashmi Raj ended her speech with a number of tips on career development and advice to the CCNY students: “This world is open to all. Be fearless, set your goals, define your vision, and stretch yourself a little further each and every day. Strive for your personal best. CCNY will have given you the tools you need to succeed. Be confident, relax and enjoy the journey.”