June 23 is International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) and it is designated as such to celebrate the women that #ShapeTheWorld. One of the main goals of INWED is to showcase the career opportunities that exist in the world to inspire young girls to explore a future in STEM. This year, Geek Girl Authority is taking a moment to highlight a few of our personal favorite fictional female engineers. Why? Without fictional characters providing visibility, some of our real-life role models would not be where they are. Children emulate what they see and we know that representation matters, so we fully endorse the following ladies.
Dr. Leah Brahms (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Dr. Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney) is an engineer and a physicist in the 24th century setting of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She wrote several of the manuals for the Enterprise that are often referenced by the engineering department to maintain and upkeep the ship’s engines. Like many engineers, she views her creations, including the warp engine used on this model Enterprise, as her sacred product. She is offended that Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), the ship’s chief engineer, changed things drastically while in service on a mission. She comes aboard to review the “upgrades” and to work with Geordi to determine if any of them should become standard on the next version.
Winry Rockbell (Full Metal Alchemist)
Winry Rockbell is a friend and automail mechanic for Edward Elric in the Full Metal Alchemist series. As a child, she worked alongside her grandmother Pinako in the family’s automail shop. When Edward loses his arm and leg, Winry created the automail prosthetics for him. She even continues to fix and upgrade them throughout the series. She eventually leaves home and travels to Rush Valley to mentor under Garfiel. Through her work there, she was able to expand on her knowledge and help create automail for other amputees. Winry is a compassionate person who uses her engineering expertise to help everyone she can. – Julia Roth
Bulma (Dragon Ball)
You could say that Bulma from the Dragon Ball series is a jack of all trades. She is an inventor, scientist, engineer and much more. She is best known for her Dragon Ball radar which is used throughout the series to bring them together. Throughout the series, she has created small inventions or helped towards the creation of larger ones alongside the Capsule Corporation. While she may be one of the hot-headed members of the Dragon Ball family, she always supports the others and makes sure that they have everything they need before heading off towards the next big fight. – Julia Roth
Audrey Ramirez (Atlantis: The Lost Empire)
In Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Audrey Rocio Ramirez is the Whitmore expedition’s mechanic. Though the young Puerto Rican is just a teen, she is a master mechanic prodigy with an aptitude for repair. Her specialty, carefully cultivated by growing up and learning in the Henry Ford Automotive Plant, is gear drives and hydraulics. Her knowledge helps keep the specially designed submarine and all the vehicles in working order during their deep dive cave exploration.
With easy sass and sarcasm, Audrey showcases a tough exterior, a byproduct of growing up with a sister under a father that only wanted sons. She is calm under pressure and quick to jump into action when things begin to fall apart. Ramirez is loyal to those she considers her friends. While she claims money is her motivation for joining the Whitmore expedition, she doesn’t hesitate to abandon the mission to help when an entire people’s fate is at stake.
Sam Carter (Stargate SG-1)
When we first meet Samantha “Sam” Carter (Amanda Tapping), she is an Air Force captain joining the Stargate program in Stargate SG-1, the first of many Stargate television shows. In addition to her combat experience, Sam has a Ph.D. in astrophysics and has a way with technology, both Terran and alien. Her talents with mechanisms is one of her greatest contributions to the SG teams, providing repairs when needed and rigging makeshift Dial Home Devices when stranded. Her expertise is what brings her to the Stargate program as second-in-command to Colonel Jack O’Neil (Richard Dean Anderson), but it is her brains that keep her team alive and the mission on objective.
Though we only highlighted a few characters this International Women in Engineering Day, there are still so many more out there. Feel free to peruse our Crush of the Week feature, where you will find engineers and female-identifying people in STEM careers sprinkled throughout. Who would you add to this list? Did anyone specifically inspire you to the career you have? We would love to hear all about it!