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DEI Chats with Women in Mobility: Heather Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted: March 9, 2022

Heather Smith is all about paying it forward.

In her less than one year with SAE International, the Graduate Program Director and Faculty Member, Master of Engineering: Engineering Management at University of Wisconsin-Madison is already passing on wisdom to young women engineers while engaging with the industry she loves.

“Learn to successfully advocate for yourself. I find this to be the most common difficulty for female engineers,” Smith said. “Even if you are uncomfortable advocating for yourself, do it for the women who will follow you.”

Throughout her career, Smith has had opportunities to lead by example, and show the engineers of tomorrow that the industry shouldn’t be just a boy’s club.

“I remember years ago teaching my first LabVIEW class at a large Detroit auto company and being amazed by how dismissive the students were, not just because I was female, but also because of my age,” Smith said. “By the end of that class, ever student was engaged, excited about LabVIEW and asking for my contact information for future help. I share this example to illustrate how I view working in a predominately male-based field. I view it as a challenge I will overcome.”

Smith is looking forward to the day when future female engineers are judged on their merits alone, and she is doing what she can to pave the way to educate tomorrow’s engineers.    


Heather Smith is one of the many women members of SAE International making a difference in mobility. Want to get involved? Check out SAE Membership and Community Engagement for opportunities to get involved with like-minded engineers who are pushing the world of mobility forward.