male-dominated industries /

Your Weaknesses Can Say as Much About You as Your Strengths– So Work on Them

This weekend I spent some time working on my strengths. I entered a time trial race and got 2nd place. It’s really fun at times to focus on what you are good at. But, in athletics as with life, sometimes most energy should be focused on weaknesses.

For example, I am a good, strong flat rider. But why would I go out and ride the flats all the time? All that is going to do is reinforce what I am already good at. There are two things that are my weaknesses in riding – leg speed and hills. Therefore, I should spend as much of my riding time as possible working on both those things.

Birth Control Controversy: Can’t We Trust Women to Govern Their Own Bodies?

I’m a big fan of Easy A, the 2010 film starring Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes. It’s a fanciful romp through the halls of America’s high schools where bullying, gossip, and rivalries never end in lethal outcomes and the tormentors take a healthy dose of humility by movie’s end.

Olive, the protagonist, bears the harsh judgment of her peers, especially that of the antagonist, Marianne, a proselytizing Christian who spreads the word about Olive’s fictional tryst. In real life, such rumors would drive most high school girls into an eating disorder or depression, but Olive is very self-aware, the daughter of two actualized and trusting parents who do not require that she stay home, cloistered, even when she begins dressing like Pretty Woman before Richard Gere rescued her from the streets.

On Being a Woman and Winning a Yahoo! Hack Night as a “Demographic Outlier”

Photo credit: Sarah Clatterbuck

I just entered my first hack day a few weeks ago. And, to my surprise and delight, I was selected a winner. For those of you who don’t know, a hack day is where engineers take 24 hours and build their own ideas for products and then the ideas are judged. At Yahoo! We do this twice per year, and the judges are typically a panel of executives and architects.

Organized Sports Teach Women How to Be Strong, How to Fight, and How to Win

When I was a girl, I did not have a full slate of athletic options. In required Physical Education classes, we played Dodge Ball–a heinous form of Gotcha, in my opinion–although, I’ll grant, Vince Vaughn as captain of a dodgeball team softened the punch of this game by taking outcasts and oddballs under his rather large wing. In my experience, Dodge Ball existed because it entertained our teachers. We also played Red Rover, volleyball, half-court basketball, and the one that toughened us the most: field hockey without shin guards.

Progressive Goal Setting and Success: How I Trained Myself to Tour Long Distances

I am a believe in progressive goal setting as a means to achieve greater success over time. It is probably attributable to a degree of risk aversion in my personality coupled with a strong desire to accomplish new things.

How My Professional Engineering License Saved My Career (After a Few Years as a Stay-at-home Mom)

Professional Engineer. It has a ring to it, doesn’t it? That “PE” after my name would look great. And sure, it would look good on my resume and it would surely impress people, but why go after a license that in all likelihood I’d probably never use?

About five years after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I decided to try for my professional engineering license. The chemical company I worked for didn’t require it, most commercial companies don’t, but it was something that seemed to be the right thing to do. A couple of co-workers and I headed to a local community college for a six-week review course held a couple of nights a week in the spring. The professional engineering test is given twice a year. I made plans to test in the fall.

Live Blogging: Designing for Mobile Workshop Event at Adobe


I’m writing this on an iPad from the offices of Adobe in downtown San Francisco, trying my hand at this live-blogging thing. This event is called Designing for Mobile, and its an educational day focused on HTML5, UI/UX, Creative Suite integrations, and Lean Design.

I learned about this event from joining a group called Creative Suite Lovers. When I signed up for this event, the price was $10 and I didnt think the event would be a huge deal– something fun and cheap to check out.

Majoring In Science Is Hard– That’s Why It’s Worth It For Those Who Succeed

The New York Times recently published an article, “Why Science Majors Change Their Mind,” attempting to understand why so many students drop out of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) major in college. Quoting from the article:

Studies have found that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree. That increases to as much as 60 percent when pre-medical students, who typically have the strongest SAT scores and high school science preparation, are included, according to new data from the University of California at Los Angeles. That is twice the combined attrition rate of all other majors.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Career With “Interval Training”

It’s a well established fact of fitness that if you continue doing the same thing over and over, your fitness will never progress. Even for the casual exerciser, walking 2 miles day after day will not yield the all-important cardio-vascular conditioning. This is where the concept of “interval training” or “high intensity” training comes in.

The same can be said for a career. Doing the same thing over and over, year after year will not progress the career. So, lately I’ve been applying principles from my cycling training regimen to my work regimen. Every month, I try to do something that makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I could sit happily in my comfortable engineering

Paris Hilton: Women Don’t Need a “Jackass Who Pays for Everything” — We Got This

A sentiment often attributed online to Paris Hilton reads: “Every woman should have four pets in her life. A mink in her closet, a jaguar in her garage, a tiger in her bed, and a jackass who pays for everything.” Did the corners of your mouth turn up a bit? So did mine, but upon second thought, I don’t find anything amusing about these words of advice.

Set aside the issues that PETA might bring to bear. Forget the arguable prestige that owning and driving a Jaguar may deliver, and grant that most people, male and female, dream about a little bit of animal in their bed partners.


Jessica Chan
Jessica Chan
enableher. Editor
Connye Griffin
Connye Griffin
Teacher, Writer, and Editor
Sarah Clatterbuck
Sarah Clatterbuck
Cycling-crazed Techie
Conni Eckstein
Conni Eckstein
Senior Engineer