Spotlight on Women in Mechanical Integrity: Katelyn Reynolds

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Posted on August 11

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Have Confidence that you Belong

Katelyn Reynolds is something of a dynamo. Hired at Invenergy directly after completing her degree in mechanical engineering, in 8 short years she has become the manager of blades operations engineering and leads her own team.

We sat down with Katelyn to get her unique perspective on women in mechanical integrity.

Like a lot of us, Katelyn struggles with imposter syndrome. Anyone who listens to her would be surprised because she is clearly a superstar. But we are often our own harshest critics.

Katelyn’s engineering pedigree is solid. Her mom fixed cars and her dad was an engineer and IT pro, so being mechanically inclined runs in her blood. And yet, she thought she wasn’t smart enough to be an engineer; she almost majored in Spanish. Thanks to the encouragement of a few women already in the field, Katelyn decided to explore engineering—as it turns out, she was a natural. This was only shocking to Katelyn. “I didn’t think I could do this.” It was a mental hurdle she had to overcome.

She has found a great deal of acceptance in the engineering world, which is not to say there haven’t been challenges, but her team is diverse and very welcoming. “I have never felt so accepted.”

While Katelyn was the first woman on her team, it’s now split evenly down the gender line. She recognizes this is not the rule in the engineering world but rather the exception and has definitely felt the pressure of being the only woman to speak at a conference in the past.

That is something Katelyn sees less and less of these days. She revels in connecting with other women professionally, in hearing their stories and experiences—in learning from them. Her role is niche, but she is seeing more and more women in the field, which is a net positive by any measurement.

Diversity of experience in problem solving is always good. If everyone thinks the same, there can only be one outcome. Katelyn points to a success early on to demonstrate: she color coded her reports, something not many were doing at the time, making them more visually interesting (and thus likely to be read) and helping more visual learners make connections that might have been missed otherwise.

Katelyn believes in starting kids in STEM early. She is jazzed to see at-home kits that teach STEM lessons in the same way her mom explaining how a car repair worked or her dad explaining an engineering problem to her taught her the basics.

Katelyn is doing the hard work of helping to encourage more women in engineering by being a fantastic example. She is confident in her thinking but always willing to listen. She feels the effects of external doubts (who wouldn’t?) but takes them as a challenge. Challenges she has clearly overcome.

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