Merry Barton Quick ’96 believes that engineering has traditionally been a male-dominated field because in school, women are not always encouraged to seek out STEM careers. She says there is still a stigma that women engineers are somewhat inferior, but it does seem to be changing.
Having majored in dual degree engineering at Wesleyan, Merry serves as a staff engineer for the City of North Charleston, South Carolina. Her duties include reviewing the residential and commercial developments in the City of North Charleston to ensure the projects meet the City’s design standards as part of the MS4 program. The MS4 program is mandated by the EPA for storm water discharges from the municipality. She also coordinates with the MS4 inspectors during construction and assists with the close out of the projects and with the on-call engineers for the Community Development Block Grant sidewalk projects.
“When I first started, I had a few instances where the person(s) I was working with didn’t feel I was qualified for the engineering/construction field because I was a woman. The older engineers and construction foremen were not always used to working with females. I had several experiences that made me question my abilities but I would ask questions, learn from others, and invest in all the training I could.”
Merry credits Wesleyan for helping her realize her importance in the workforce. She says that if she’d started engineering at a larger school, she might not have continued in the field. After transferring to Auburn University to finish her degree, she saw how difficult it was for the engineering students just starting out there. “Being at Wesleyan with the small classes allowed me to grow and to learn from the many strong women who helped me become a stronger person.”
What does Merry love most about her job? “It is exciting to see the development after construction is complete and know that I was a part of the improvements. It is also good to know that we are doing what we can to address environmental concerns as much as possible.”
Follow your dreams and do not let anyone tell you that you can not succeed. Be open to learning from others and always continue to learn as we are never too old to learn.
- Merry Barton Quick ’96
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