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Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day, a Maritime Consultants perspective.

International Women in Engineering Day, this year on the 23rd June 2017, is an annual celebration of the fantastic impact that women make to engineering internationally.  It aims to recognise the women already working in the industry, and showcase the opportunities to future generations.

In support of this important day, Marine People and IMarEST will be showcasing amazing international female engineers in our weekly blog.  We want to demonstrate the different roles available within engineering, the career development opportunities, and provide some insight in to what it is like to be a female engineer in different parts of the world.  We are passionate about showcasing the fabulous opportunities to women in maritime engineering, because we believe it is an exciting, varied and progressive career.

So, let us introduce this weeks featured engineer:

Mary Frances Culnane of Culnane Maritime Consultancy LLC based in Pennsylvania, United States.

Here is her interview.

1)     How long have you been in engineering and what is your role?

I have enjoyed a 37 year career in Marine Engineering.  During the first 10 years, I rose through the ranks from a Third Engineer to Chief Engineer while shipping on Exxon oil tankers.  Following the same I was a Port Engineer, Technical Sales Engineer, Marine Services Manager, New Construction Manager (ULCCs and LPGs), Manager of Marine Engineering for a commuter passenger only ferry company start up in San Francisco; and, currently operate my own Maritime Consulting business.         

2)     Why did you become an engineer? 

When attending the US Merchant Marine Academy, the engineering programme was so much more inviting; and, appeared much more interesting than the deck programme.  It was obvious that post seagoing, an engineer would have multiple shore side opportunities as well.

3)     What are the best parts of your role? 

Playing with million dollar toys (ships) every day.

4)     What challenges have you encountered? 

Getting old makes it more difficult crawling through tanks!  Take care of your knees, ladies!

5)     Why is it important to get more women in to engineering? 

I feel women possess a natural knack for engineering – a sixth sense for understanding systems.

6)     What would you say to girls still in school who are thinking about engineering? How would you encourage them? 

Follow your passion to determine your most suitable engineering role.  I would encourage young women and girls by example, literary suggestions; and, documentary suggestions.

7)     What advice do you have for students just starting out? 

Chart your course and maintain the same: “steady as you go.”

For more information on International Women in Engineering Day please visit