In celebration of International Women's Day this year, we're profiling some of our talented female engineers.

Women are underrepresented in engineering professions across the board and it starts in the classroom. Let’s recognize the potential that both women and men bring to the table.

Angelique Davis is a Senior Naval Architect at Vard Marine who had a knack for the sciences and math at an early age. We’ve seen Angelique progress since she joined the company six years ago and as she dives deeper into project management, we couldn’t be prouder of her achievements.  Read her profile below.

Name: Angelique Davis

Discipline: Naval Architecture

Years worked at Vard Marine: 6

Vard Marine (VM): Why did you choose to study engineering?

Angelique Davis (AD): I enjoyed math and physics in high school and originally planned to do a double major and be a mathematical physicist. My father steered me towards the more practical option of engineering (thanks, Dad!) and I’m forever glad he did since I turned out to enjoy the practical side of things more than the theoretical one. When the time came, I chose to major in ocean engineering and naval architecture for two reasons: one, the shipping industry will never go away because it has been and will always be the cheapest, most efficient way to move goods around the world (aka fantastic job security); and, two, I lived on an island with a burgeoning oil and gas industry and figured if I ever wanted to get a job back home, this was the way to go.

VMWhat are your job responsibilities at Vard Marine?

AD: I spend most of my time on project work, which can include calculations, analysis, research, and report writing. Occasionally, I help prepare proposals, in particular government proposals. Recently, I’ve moved into project management, which has been a fun challenge and I’ve been enjoying all the personal interaction and necessary attention to detail.

VM: What makes you excited to come to work every day?

AD: During COVID times, a high point of every workday has been the social aspect of connecting with my coworkers and chatting not just about work, but the weather or the news or what someone did over the weekend. Even when we were in the office physically, I’ve always enjoyed the team aspect, picking other people’s brains and learning new things. With respect to my own work, I enjoy problem solving, working with numbers, and report writing. The high when something all comes together into a well-rounded solution and product at the end of the day is very satisfying.

VM: What are you most proud of career-wise and how does Vard Marine support your career development?

AD: Career-wise, I’m most proud of those times I’ve pushed myself outside my comfort zone. For example, I was on the planning committee and also hosted a panel for the 2019 Mari-Tech conference (it was my first time up at the podium at a major industry conference). More recently, my move into project management has been both challenging as I get up to speed with Vard processes and take the lead in client communications, but also very rewarding, having a higher-level understanding of the whole project and the detailed day-to-day management of people, schedule, budget, tasks, and deliverables. I have been lucky at Vard to have some great VPs and managers who have pushed me to have more confidence in myself and supported my involvement in external organizations.

VMWhat are some of the challenges women face in male-dominated STEM industries and what do you think needs to change to overcome these challenges?

AD: I think the biggest challenge as a woman in engineering is finding appropriate roles models that speak to your own career goals and progression. Starting out in my career, it was easy to find mid-level technical experts to look up to. But as my career has progressed and I’ve started looking at senior roles and, more importantly, as I’ve started a family and took long maternity leaves, it’s been harder to find role models who have taken the same sort of leave and still maintained senior positions and progressed their careers. Since most senior management, especially on the technical side, are men, in order to encourage the development of these sorts of roles models, I think it requires a two-pronged approach: supporting existing female employees to develop and promote into senior roles or hiring women externally to fill senior roles; and encouraging men to take longer (significant) paternity leave, which might include some sort of incentive such as topping up EI for a number of weeks.

VM: Any words of advice for women and girls thinking of going into engineering?

AD: As a woman in engineering, I say you should embrace the fact that you’re a minority in the industry, take advantage of opportunities you may be offered simply because of your gender, and don’t try to blend in. Early on, get involved in local professional societies, volunteer for committees both within your company and externally with those professional societies and with local universities or other industry organizations. This sort of networking not only provides for better career progression, it also adds to the social aspect of day-to-day working, when you recognize and know more and more people in the room at meetings, conferences, etc.


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