A Little Help Goes a Long Way

Angela Mc Vey helps out with an Engineering Week activity at Clute Intermediate School in Texas.

Growing up in Colorado, Angela Mc Vey got some valuable help in finding her way to a career as an engineer.

“I received a lot of encouragement, and my parents were very supportive,” Mc Vey said. “I always liked math and science. I would solve math problems for hours, but reading a book and writing a report about it was torture. My father’s friend encouraged me to consider going into engineering. He said it was a good field, and would provide a lot of opportunity.”

That it has. Mc Vey is now a technology associate for Dow’s propylene oxide business, based in Freeport, Texas. Put simply, she uses her engineering skills to help coworkers find ways to make processes work more effectively. It is the latest in a series of roles for Mc Vey during a 23-year career with Dow.

But it wasn’t always easy.

“There are a lot more women in engineering now than when I started,” Mc Vey pointed out. “And in some areas, becoming an engineer isn’t thought of as being cool. But I have always been kind of an outspoken, confident person, so I never felt like I wasn’t doing the right thing.”

Mc Vey attended Colorado State University (CSU) with support from a Department of Chemical Engineering scholarship. During the summer before her senior year, she worked at Dow as an intern. After graduating, she accepted a full-time position with Dow.

Almost immediately, Mc Vey began helping others in the same way she had been helped. She contributes regularly to the CSU scholarship fund from which she benefitted. Her continuing support was recognized recently in an article in “Success,” a publication of the CSU College of Engineering. In addition, Mc Vey has worked with CSU students interested in careers with Dow.

Mc Vey also supports younger students in a number of ways. For instance, she was one of several Dow employees who served recently as volunteers for an Engineering Week activity at local intermediate schools where students designed and built devices that would shield an egg from damage when being dropped to the ground. And last year, Mc Vey spent a day with two high school girls who were interested in engineering careers and wanted to learn from someone with inside knowledge.

“They were both definitely interested in some type of science or engineering profession, and they were more interested in hearing from a female engineer than a male one,” Mc Vey said. “I was able to share some positive perspectives and maybe some learning opportunities. I wouldn’t say it was anything negative. But I’ve had some challenges.”

Overcoming those challenges has been all about getting some help now and then, and giving some back in return.