Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

This month’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11) got me thinking about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and what an engineering career means to me.

As a girl, I wanted to be a beautician…not really sure why. Maybe it was because I was young, and it was fun brushing and styling my doll’s hair. But when I first thought about my career path in high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do. My mom suggested teaching because of my patience and love of children. I attended college and initially pursued an education degree.

About two years into college, I learned of a STEM degree called “Package Engineering.” Though I’d never heard of it, I was very interested. I researched this and discovered that only five schools in the US offered this program. I took the intro class and spent some time pondering this option.

Two days later, I went home for the weekend and was very excited to tell my parents about my new career path. Naturally, they had questions. Why was I interested in this career? Why did I want to pursue something in science and technology? I let them know that I wanted to do something different, something most people didn’t understand, something many people didn’t see me doing as a woman and something that most women and girls didn’t pursue (few women were in my college classes).

Additionally, I chose this route because I want to be an inspirational role model for my children and for future generations. Overall, I strongly believe that getting a degree in STEM (in my case, a Bachelor of Science degree in Package Engineering) helped me gain confidence in my abilities and develop better problem-solving skills.

My role today for Clearfield is a Packaging Engineer. Among other things, what I do is design packaging for fiber optic products, perform packaging review for damaged fiber optic products and determine cost savings for current fiber optic packaging solutions. I have zero regrets with my career pick. I recommend it to all the women and girls I know. I enjoy waking up each day to go to work as an engineer. Packaging is fun, different and hands-on. It gets your brain thinking in ways you never thought possible.

Specifically, working with fiber optic products is something I really enjoy. Fiber optic solutions are really the strength of today’s communication systems. I’m passionate about packaging fiber optic products to ensure they arrive safely to the customer.

I feel that it is very important to recognize the role of women and girls in STEM. Many women do not hold STEM degrees, but that is slowly increasing, and it makes me excited for our future. I believe that we need more women and girls to create, inspire and lead in science and technology. STEM training opens up careers for women and girls, giving them a broader selection of options.

By Brittany Mantel

An experienced Packaging Engineer, Brittany is skilled in AutoCAD, TOPS, Package Testing, PTC Creo, SolidWorks and Microsoft Office Tools such as Excel. Before joining Clearfield, she was Packaging Engineer at Medtronic and HNI Corporation, where she received a Bronze Certification at HNI (signifying the use of Six Sigma applications throughout the production floor). A four-time WIAC Scholastic Honor student and an Academic All-American Athlete, Brittany received a Bachelor of Science degree in Packaging Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Her volunteer experience includes Feed My Starving Children and multiple Special Olympics events.