Marina Shessler (Master of Engineering) has been working as Process Engineer at EPC Engineering & Technologies GmbH in Alzenau since the beginning of 2018. She is currently working on a project in the field of polycarbonate. In addition to the typical process related issues, she is also responsible for the preparation of mass balances and process simulations.
She graduated in the field of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt. After an internship in the field of Acrylic Monomers / Innovation Management / Process Engineering, she worked for a surface technology company as a master student.
What do you like most about your job?
As a process engineer, my responsibilities are very complex and varied. Routine never comes up, because as soon as a project is completed, the next one is in the loop with new challenges. In this position, I can ideally apply and combine my knowledge of classical chemistry and process technology.
It's a long way from process development to the planning of a production plant, including commissioning and start-up. I am interested in seeing the results not just on paper after a project has been completed. And it's always impressive what you can achieve together as a team - especially when the working atmosphere is so pleasant - I enjoy working in the engineering team in Alzenau.
Have you ever been confronted with prejudices in your job?
So far, I have not seriously encounter prejudices against women during my career.
Once a colleague from a former company I worked for told me that "women take away men's jobs". The statement was not meant to be unpleasant and was not addressed directly to me, but at this point I became aware that not all men accept that women also take part in professional life.
In my opinion, prejudice and stereotyping are too often the subject of a discussion which has a great impact on the career choice of young female graduates. Numerous women do not feel welcome in a male working environment – so they often decide against a typically male profession. At EPC we are all equal and there are more and more women – also among the engineers.
Which skills are required to succeed in a male-dominated business?
In my opinion it’s important to have a strong personality and to offer a whole set of personal traits to be successful in your professional life. This applies to both women and men. But I think for female employees it is more difficult to assert themselves. They have to prove that they are just as skilled as their male colleagues to be taken seriously. And in my opinion, they also need to focus more on their assertiveness and competent appearance.
How do you generally see the opportunities for women who apply for jobs in a technical environment? What career opportunities do you see especially in the engineering sector?
In the last few years, the role of women has changed a lot regarding gender equality. Fortunately, a new way of thinking has already started. There is a shortage of qualified candidates and the next generation of academics is expected to close these gaps. According to current statistics, the proportion of female students in technical courses at universities has been significantly increased over the past years. Even more and more companies appreciate applications especially from qualified women.
I think this is a great development! The number of women in technical occupations is also increasing. From my point of view, now is the best time for women to start a career in the engineering sector. It is a fact that many companies have recognized that working in mixed teams leads to higher efficiency and more creativity. So employers are encouraged to actively recruit more women – a real motivating factor for many women to choose this career path. And I can only recommend to start your career at EPC!
Which tips would you like to give prospective female engineers?
If a woman is interested in a technical career, she should go her own way. However, it’s important to decide on your own and not to focus too much on men’s point of view – just stay true to yourself as a woman.