Transoft Engineer says Role Models and Cultural Attitudes Key to Women’s STEM Careers

Elisabeth, Transoft’s newest employee, always had the makings of an engineer. From an early age, she loved building miniature Lego cities. Then when she was 14, she was introduced to the city-building simulation game, SimCity. She was hooked. However, without the inspiration of a role model teacher and her family’s support, she might not have found her way to the career she excels at.

Raised in Austria, Elisabeth attended a high school that specialized in construction. While that sounds like a supportive environment, she says Austria’s culture didn’t welcome women in the STEM fields.

“In university, engineering was extremely male-dominated. There were maximum three to five percent women.”

Remembering her high school physics and math teacher helped Elisabeth remain steadfast. “If I didn’t have this teacher, maybe my life would be different. Teachers have a lot of influence. If you have a teacher who can see beyond gender differences and cultivate your talent and skills, that is a very fortunate thing to have.”

It was while working towards a civil engineering degree at Technische Universität Graz that Elisabeth participated in an exchange program with the University of Calgary, where she found more encouragement.

“As a woman engineer, there are some challenges but finding the right company, mentors, and surrounding yourselves with like-minded people can make all the difference.”

That experience helped set the course for her eventual move to Canada in 2012. She worked as a transportation engineer with a consulting firm in Calgary until being recruited to Transoft.

Working in the Transoft Solutions’ Civil and Transportation unit, Elisabeth is doing research on future products while getting familiar with the company. She is thrilled by Transoft’s diversity of employees, as well as by its products. “Transoft employees come from over 40 different nationalities, and that type of diversity and cultural perspective combined with an active learning environment allows us to build better transportation software solutions.”

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