Meet Felicia Harlow, IEEE WIE Member
Profession: Security Research Engineer
How did you first get involved in IEEE Women in Engineering?
I became involved when I attended the 2015 WIE ILC in San Jose. At that meeting I was asked to join the committee for the revival of a WIE R1/R2 conference (The IEEE WIE Forum USA East, which just celebrated its 5 year anniversary) and helped make that happen. I am a continuing member of the organizing committee and have been a General Co-Chair of that conference twice since then, in 2017 and 2019.
Why did you decide to become a WIE member?
I joined early on in my membership because I agreed with the mission, even before I became a WIE volunteer. I felt inspired hearing from other successful women at these conferences and felt that these events and the networking opportunities provided were very beneficial for encouraging women to advance to leadership roles their careers and to stay in the engineering field.
What do you wish other people knew about IEEE WIE?
I encountered resistance to recruiting some local members to WIE early on because they asked “Why do women need this group?” and I didn’t have the answer right away. After being involved for several years and participating and organizing in these events, hearing other people’s experiences and reflecting on my own experiences, I realized that many successful and very accomplished women in this field undervalue their contributions in ways that men do not. I realized that the WIE community was a strong validation and empowering force for women. I also enjoy the enthusiasm for paying it forward which led us to a very successful STEM workshop at the 2019 WIE Forum USA East.
What is it like to be an IEEE WIE Volunteer, and what do you enjoy about it?
I wish there were 2 of me because there are so many exciting things to be part of and just not enough time to do it all. I really enjoy when our hard work pays off with successful events and the sisterhood and close friendships I have made with other volunteers and IEEE staff.
Why do you feel it is important for women to enter into the field of engineering?
Women have a lot to offer in this field and are still greatly underrepresented. It is important that we continue to encourage them to become engineers and to inspire future generations of girls to become engineers.