Emily Rachel Droppo graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Engineering Science, Electrical Engineering, Western University, 2019 P.Eng. She currently works at Power Systems Engineering, The Independent Electricity System Operator. In her spare time, Emily loves to play soccer, staying active through skiing, wake surfing, volleyball and running
When did your love of STEM begin?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in building things, whether it be in the workshop with my dad or trying to keep up with my older brother. In grade five, I had the opportunity to participate in Destination imagiNation, where my team and I were challenged to build a structure out of playing cards to support as much weight as possible. After testing numerous shapes and configurations, our structure was able to support many hundred pounds, which as a 10 year old felt like I’d just won the Nobel prize! Since then my love of Engineering has only grown and continues to be my passion today.
What is the best part about working in the field of STEM?
The best part about working in STEM is the impact that I am able to have on my community and the problem solving skills that I use in every facet of my life. Whether it be identifying the impact of space weather on the power system, or improvising a shirt out of a shoe lace and a scarf on vacation, the skills I develop in my engineering job are invaluable.
I have always thought of engineering as being the creative application of math and science and love being able to not only be apart of innovation but to apply these developments to the real world. Engineering requires that data and numbers be supported by a story and communicated in a way that numerous professions can understand and implement in their industry. I am very passionate about the work that I do and am grateful that I’m able to see the direct impact of my work in Ontario.
What advice would you give young women interested in a career in STEM?
Never underestimate yourself; No one starts out as an expert. Be confident in knowing that you have earned your place at the table, especially in instances where you are the only woman in the room! There will be times where you need to work twice as hard to prove yourself and at these times, believing in yourself will go a very long way.
Every power systems professor and boss I have worked for have been male. In university I had a very hard time picturing what working as an electrical engineer would look like for me, because I had no examples of someone I could relate to. This extended to not knowing how to dress at the office and feeling underestimated in more situations than not. If I could talk to myself back then, I would say to wear what makes YOU feel confident and to never forget that you have earned all of the opportunities that have been given to you.
Source: Honours Bachelor of Engineering
Photo: This photo was taken following the iron ring ceremony at Western University in 2019, with two fellow female engineers. In the photo Emily and her fellow engineers are wearing coveralls that are a tradition worn by the engineering “soph” team to mentor and support first-year students joining the engineering faculty at Western.