Asee peer logo

Balancing An Engineering/Science Career And Family: A Novel Approach

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.230.1 - 6.230.5



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Elizabeth Parry

author page

Laura Bottomley

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3575

Balancing an Engineering/Science Career and Family: A Novel Approach

Elizabeth A. Parry and Laura J. Bottomley

Science Surround/North Carolina State University


The stresses of balancing professional and personal lives are commonly accepted as part of beginning and building a career. In engineering particularly, the need to maintain awareness of technical progress is critical to staying marketable in the field. Life issues, such as parenting, assuming care of elderly parents or maintaining a healthy balance between work and home, are playing an increasingly important part in the lives of all professionals, technical or not. The ability to successfully manage the balance in a manner that manifests growth both personally and professionally is a sought-after attribute.

This paper describes the development of a small business focusing on science education. The partners who founded Science Surround are female engineers who, after becoming parents, realized the need to balance their professional and personal lives. Both have a passionate interest in sparking an early realization of the prevalence of science and math in everyday life. In addition, through the experiences gained both in industry and academia, they realized the importance of modeling to children success in science, math, engineering and technology fields (SMET). Indeed, exposing children to these fields early in their educational lives might make a difference in whether or not they decide to pursue SMET oriented fields as a career.

One partner is a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, mother of two, and the Director of the Women in Engineering and Outreach Programs at North Carolina State University. In addition, she has industry experience with Bell Labs, Texas Instruments and other industries. The other partner has a B.Sc. in Engineering Management/Mechanical Engineering, is the mother of two, and a consultant to North Carolina State University on a GK-12 NSF Engineering Fellows grant and outreach. She has 10 years industry experience with IBM Corporation. The combined experiences of these women and the application of their technical skills provide a solid foundation for their business, Science Surround. The business is a perfect way of balancing the need to utilize technical skills while enjoying a busy personal life.


The last several decades have been a time of frenzied personal growth and activity. The need to succeed both personally and professionally is a societal expectation. Professionals are faced with

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Parry, E., & Bottomley, L. (2001, June), Balancing An Engineering/Science Career And Family: A Novel Approach Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--8947

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015