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International Women's Day: Kathryn Grandfield and Amanda CliffordMarch 4, 2019

This year, McMaster Engineering is celebrating International Women's Day by honouring nine women who are supporting each other through mentoring relationships.

Kathryn Grandfield, an assistant professor in Materials Science and Engineering and Amanda Clifford, a PhD student, let us sit in on their conversation about women supporting women in STEM, International Women's Day and what sparked their passion for engineering.

Here's part of their conversation:

Kathryn Grandfield.

Kathryn: How has having a female mentor helped you throughout your academic career?

Amanda: Having a female mentor has helped me because it's given me the confidence to go for certain goals and accomplishments that I wouldn't go for otherwise without seeing someone as a role model for myself. What inspired you to mentor female students? 

Kathryn: I'm inspired to mentor female students because I didn't have a female mentor when I was going through university. It's a great opportunity for me to give back to young women in engineering and for them to see somebody that they can look up to and come to for any sort of advice that they need. What does International Women's Day mean to you and why is it important to celebrate?

Amanda Clifford.

Amanda: International Women's Day is a time to reflect on how far we've come and see where we need to go in the future so that we can change gender equality, truly. What's the most rewarding thing about being a woman in a male-dominated field?

Kathryn: Being one of the few women in engineering at the professor level is a great opportunity for me to act as a role model for younger women in engineering and for them to have someone to look up to and aspire to. What sparked your passion for engineering?

Amanda: Ever since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with playing with lego. My dad was an engineer and I was very talented in math and science from a young age, so he pushed me to be an engineer when he saw my natural capabilities.

Kathryn: For me, I always wanted to be an astronaut. When I realized you couldn't go to school to be an astronaut, I looked at what careers astronauts had and it was the first time that I learned about what engineering was and I saw that it could be something that I could go into where I would have an impact on the world.