“This is a man’s world,” sang James Brown years ago. It’s a refrain that has often been used to describe the arena of engineering, an industry dominated by male workers. But a shift is well under
way as more females enter the field, and women like Brittany Speroni, BMET ’12, are leading the charge.
Speroni recently became the first female engineer ever hired by Methods Machine Tools, a Sudbury, Mass.-based company that has supplied precision tools to customers for more than 50 years. The process started, Speroni recalls, when she attended an open house at Methods set up through the Wentworth student Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) chapter.
“I brought my résumé and handed it to one of the managers,” says Speroni, recounting that she received an on-the-spot interview at the open house. “He called me back a couple of weeks later for a formal interview where he offered me the job on the spot before I even graduated.”
Speroni admits that she is aware of the stranglehold males have had on her industry, but says that her technical knowledge has blurred any gender lines that could have existed. “This company takes me seriously and I am looked at as a team member, not just a woman. It was very important to me that I was treated equally because I feel that my ideas and opinions are just as valid as everyone else, regardless of their gender or age,” she says.
Speroni’s title is mechanical engineer and project manager, which calls for two main responsibilities—creating design work for robot tools and managing projects. The latter role, which Speroni calls “my favorite part of the job,” finds her creating scope documents. “I love being the person who has to solve problems and keep the project moving on schedule,” she says.
Associate Professor Peter Rourke of the College of Engineering and Technology taught Speroni during her time at Wentworth and immediately noted her strong work ethic. He also says that the machining aspect of manufacturing was historically all male because hiring managers believed only men could attend to now outdated manual operations requiring forceful lever-turning and heavy lifting.
“Brittany recognized that the close association with mechanical design and computer operation has replaced these requirements, and took right to it,” says Rourke. “The faculty recognized early on that Brittany was going to fit right in with the new order of things.”