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​​​february 23, 2017
​meet some of the aps women keeping your lights on​
​aps shares advice from female engineers in honor of engineers week's "Girl Day"
For Kim Ashcraft, it was an inspiring father. For Zainub Dungarwalla, there were mentors. For Sue Kidd, it was the drive to disprove those who doubted her. Women across the globe are being inspired to ​enter careers in a science, technology, engineering or math field (STEM), and companies like APS are working to create more pathways for women to enter these fields.

In order to introduce more young women to the world of engineering, Engineers Week is calling today “Girl Day.” APS is joining this worldwide campaign by highlighting several female engineer employees who play a role in providing critical power to 2.7 million Arizonans.


Sabrina Kniesteadt, System Engineer at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station
 
Do you have any advice for girls or women who might be interested in a STEM career?

"Go for it! Whether your dream is to be a cardiologist or a scientist at NASA, you really can be whatever you want to be. You bring a different perspective and skills to the table, and that is very valuable in a world where creativity and thinking outside the box can have a big impact.

Zainub Dungarwalla, Instrumentation and controls engineer at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station
 
How has APS helped you grow in your career?

“APS has continuously provided growth in my career. I came in as a book-smart engineer and have since learned the practicalities of engineering and leading teams. APS is full of mentors willing to help you on your journey. I’ve never experienced anything like it at any other company I’ve worked for.”

Sue Kidd, General manager of transmission and distribution engineering and technology
What barriers did you encounter in pursuing your career, and how did you overcome them?

"When in college I had several professors that were not always in my corner and in some classes treated me as if I did not belong.  This just inspired me to prove them wrong and succeed in their class.”

Melissa Wong, Design electrical engineer at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station
 
How has APS helped you grow in your career? 

“After graduating from college, I was fortunate to go into a training program to learn the fundamentals of being an engineer at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. The training program allowed me to rotate through different departments to help me understand the cross-organizational impacts of each department and how the company works as a whole. APS focuses on developing their employees and provides the tools to succeed.”

Kim Ashcraft, Civil/Structural engineer for Fossil Generation
 
What inspired you to pursue a career in a STEM field?

“My dad was a civil engineer and so we always went on trips to see water treatment plants, pump stations and he would point out engineering projects whenever we had family vacations. I chose civil engineering with a structural emphasis because I always wanted to build large structures and be able to say, ‘look, I designed and built that!’”

Leanne Burgess, Mechanical design engineer at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station

Do you have any advice for girls or women who might be interested in a STEM career?
 
"STEM talents come in many forms, never count yourself out because you think you don't fit the bill. Surround yourself with people who support you in your interests, and seek out opportunities to learn more. Go to the after-school programs, career expos, tours and information sessions. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire!"

Lisa Hannoush, Project manager at Four Corners Power Plant

What barriers did you encounter in pursuing your career, and how did you overcome them?
 
"It can be intimidating going to your very first college class at ASU to find you're the only female in your calculus class. You can't help but wonder if you are somehow in the wrong classroom and feel completely out of place. Perseverance is the most important aspect of overcoming those barriers. If you stick with it, you will eventually realize that you do belong there and you can learn to see that being the only female as adding value by offering a different perspective to the team, rather than not belonging."

Cyndi Tosh, Construction maintenance supervisor of underground construction
 
What barriers did you encounter in pursuing your career, and how did you overcome them?
 
"Growing up on a farm and having responsibilities to feed animals and help harvest crops alongside my older brothers built my self-confidence and so it was only natural for me to feel comfortable working in a male-dominated profession. There was a time early in college that I was struggling in physics and my dad was my savior; his support and belief in me is the sole reason I stayed in engineering. I owe my entire career to the loving support of my dad and mom. They always taught me there was no obstacle that I couldn't overcome."

​APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean safe and reliable electricity. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50 percent carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, and owns and operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s top power producer and largest producer of carbon-free energy. The company is also a proven leader in introducing technology and services that offer customers choice and control over their energy consumption. With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).​​​​
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