Technical innovations are swiftly evolving across the automotive industry and women engineers are increasingly leading the charge. In fact, recent U.S. Department of Education¹ statistics² cited by the Society of Women Engineers report a 58% increase in bachelor’s degrees awarded in engineering and computer science to women — from 2012 (25,900) to 2017 (40,876).

Women’s entry into the field of engineering is growing and fast. Take, for example, that in 2018, there were 136,233 engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded, according to an American Society for Engineering Education study³. Of those, women earned nearly 22% of engineering bachelor’s degrees that year, for a total of approximately 29,970 degrees.

At Toyota, we encourage women to pursue engineering careers as we strive to achieve significantly higher gender equality in the workplace. The more women engineers join the working world, the more innovative, new concepts and technologies will develop everywhere — and the automotive industry is no exception. By cultivating a workforce that contains a diversity of perspectives and experiences, Toyota is accelerating its evolution into a mobility company.

Accelerating visibility and exposure to careers in engineering is crucial. Why? Women engineers have the power to influence younger girls to pursue engineering. If young girls see more diverse women engineers blazing a path for them, they’re more likely to have the courage, confidence and belief in themselves to become future engineers.

Toyota is proud to be a place where women can strive in STEM. In honor of International Women in Engineering Day, see below for a few of our incredible female engineers, sharing why they love the work they do.

DeAnna Patterson, Paint Engineer
“Every day is a new challenge.”

Debby Byrne, Executive Program Manager
“We get to design and develop exciting new products that make our customers smile!”

Diana Maldonado, Bodyweld Engineer
“I get to work with some amazing people to help make a difference in the quality of our products by applying Toyota’s principles for problem solving.”

Erin Buchanan, General Manager, Manufacturing
“I love collaborating to solve problems!”

Lindsay Babian, Principal Engineer; Michelle Vargo, Senior Engineer; Yuko Gidcumb, Senior Engineering Manager; Lauren Abro, Principle Engineer
“Co-workers become lifelong friends!”

Jennifer Coldwell, Senior Engineering Analyst, Plastics
“I am empowered to tackle challenges and feel like my work makes a difference.”

Katelyn Ferguson, Engineering Analyst, Plastics
“There are so many different people to learn from.”

Corina Chang, Senior Manager, Project Planning & Management
“I get to work with smart people every day!”

Leah Curry, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI)
“For everything we create and build today, we are challenged to improve tomorrow.”

Luisa Espinosa, Bodyweld Engineer
“I keep developing my problem solving skills!”

Lynn Trinidad, Engineering Analyst
“It is a way to impart my project management skills for a seamless new vehicle launch.”

Marie Valentine, Fuel Expert, Senior Principle Engineer
“I have improved the health of people through emissions reductions and fuel improvements for over 30 years.”

Tanitra Stigger, Quality Engineer
“I love to solve problems and help others!”

Tori Roy, Engineering Manager, Paint
“Every day is a new challenge!”

Winnie Ho, Engineering Analyst, Quality Assurance
“I get to solve challenging problems with data.”

Jean Preston, Quality Engineer
“I learn something new every day!”

Penny Potocki, Engineering Manager, Assembly-Machining
“Each day always brings a new set of challenges.”

Bianca Juarez, Engineer, Quality
“I am challenged daily to solve problems across different groups, pushing myself to develop new skills.”

Brenda Mitchell-Coleman, Quality Engineer, Senior Manager
“I am a problem solver, and Toyota allows me to use my own creativity as a tool to solve problems.”

Cherrie Bacon, Senior Human Factors Engineer
“My work impacts new vehicle designs!”

Hetal Modi Devram, Engineering Manager, Plant Operations
“It inspires me to break through the glass ceiling every day!”

Jackie Birdsall, Senior Fuel Cell Engineer
“It is my opportunity to change the world.”

Kelly Harbison, Body Design Engineer
“I design parts in vehicles my family will drive!”

Lariscia Julion, Senior Engineer, Quality
“My opinion matters and my input is valued on every project to drive process improvements.”

Miye Cox, Senior Manager, Environmental Engineering
“I can help protect the environment!”

Reetinder Waraich, Quality Engineer
“I want to encourage more young women to take an interest in engineering.”

Shirley De Souza, Senior Quality Analyst
“Collaborating with awesome people leads to new opportunities!”

Teri Wolfenbarger, Quality Engineer
“I’m given the support and encouragement to put my ideas into motion!”


Originally published June 23, 2021

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