Creating Our Own Stories

Women working in industries that are typically male-dominated sometimes unknowingly play an important role in inspiring young women. Similar to the evolution of the career path of the Barbie doll, career options are now endless for girls as they consider their future.

Today – International Women’s Day – we recognize the important role that women play in our industry, and we recognize the hard work the women of DC put forth every day.
As children, girls play with Barbies to create their own stories and imagine what life would be like for their dolls if they were real. Most women had at least one Barbie doll as a child. For women growing up between the 1960s and 1990s, Barbie’s aspirations, as evidenced by the themes on her boxes and corresponding outfits, were to be prom queen, beach goer, a bride, mother, nurse, or teacher. She was meant to be a role model for all girls, yet she had so few appearances and career choices. She was a bit one-dimensional. Somewhere in the late 2000s, she began to change. Now, Barbie can be an astronaut, scientist, construction worker, veterinarian, president and vice president, and pediatrician, among others.

Similar to the evolution of the Barbie doll, the architecture and engineering industry has evolved. Women are becoming more prominent in an industry once dominated by men. Design Collaborative is approximately 35% female, with 23 women on staff. We have two women electrical engineers, six women architects, four women interior designers, three women in business development and marketing, and six women in our office administration. Additionally, we have two women interns.

We’ve participated in STEM focused (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) community events aimed at young women currently in high school and college in northeast Indiana. We feel this is the first step to encourage young women to pursue an education and potential career in a STEM field. Women working in industries that are typically male-dominated sometimes unknowingly play an important role in inspiring young women. The career options are now endless for girls as they consider their future. We feel that it’s important for women to be a positive role model for girls in not only the architecture and engineering industry, but any stereotypically male dominated industry.

As a student in high school and college, you’re told to pursue a career in something that you love. For many girls, that’s math and science. That can sometimes be daunting when you go to college and realize there are so few women in your math and science classes. Our advice to young women facing this is to push through; accept the challenge to pursue your dream career and you’ll finish your education by landing a job that you love, just like you were always told to do. Science and math related industries are creating the places we live, the technologies we use, and the science to improve our lives and health. If half of the world’s population is female, we need more women to pursue STEM focused careers to continue adding our perspective to these industries.

When DC started in 1992, there were zero women. Now, there are 23 women working every day to improve people’s worlds and create people-first places. Our industry, much like the Barbie doll, has evolved and continues to change.

Girls play with Barbies to create their own stories. At DC, we’re creating construction documents, leading client meetings, securing future projects, and working with our community to educate its young women as they choose their career paths. These are the stories of our women, and we hope to be role models for young women creating their own stories.


Today – International Women’s Day – we recognize the important role that women play in our industry, and we recognize the hard work the women of DC put forth every day.

Kelsey Rowe, PE - Senior Associate, Electrical Engineer
Kourtney Teegardin - Marketing & Communications Coordinator