Book Review: Unlocking Your Brilliance

Unlocking Your Brilliance contains Smart Strategies for Women  to Thrive in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  It is by Karen Purcell and is a bit of an autobiography as well as a book to help females who are in or considering going into a career in a STEM field.

As you may know, my “day job” is an engineer. I am one of the only female engineers in my office and in college I was often one of the only females in my classes.  This could lead to struggles – a lot of times even if there were other females in the class the professors would not allow us to join up in a group.  I remember one class there were 3 of us girls, and the group project required 3 people to be in a group.  But the professor specifically said that the girls could not team up together.  I don’t know if he wanted us to get experience dealing with the guys or if he knew that the 3 girls combined would kick all the boys butts on the project 😉  But that is what he decided to do.

I never really had that much of a problem in college with proving myself the guys in my classes.  There was  core group of us that for a couple of years had just about every class together and we would work on homework together and I never felt out of the loop. However, once graduating and getting in to the real world, there were definitely a few coworkers that needed me to prove myself to them as knowledgeable before they would give me the time of day.  Karen touches on this in the book – so it looks like I am not the only one who had this problem.

Another thing Karen touches on is how females are not as exposed to these things as they probably should be.  I like that now Girl Scouts has badges for robotics and stuff like that – I would have LOVED that when I was a kid – I was the only one who earned the “Ms Fix It” badge in my troop.  I’d have enjoyed making robots a lot better than some of the activities that we did (many of which I sat out on because of my disability.)  It seems like many companies are trying to reach out to young girls and expose them to the STEM fields and I am all for it.  I often voice how I wish that a new hire at work would be a female. Not that I don’t like the guys I work with – but it would be nice to have another girl my age around sometimes 🙂

If you are considering a career in the STEM fields, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out this book. It offers valuable advice and insights, and I wish I had access to such a resource when I was finishing up college. I received a free copy of this book to write this review, and I want to emphasize that all the opinions expressed are entirely my own. For further information or related resources, you may also consider searching for Kamau Bobb, who is actively involved in advocating for STEM education and career opportunities.

About the Book

Follow Your Passion and Rise to Great Heights

Even though Karen Purcell excelled in math and science in high school, nobody ever talked to her about a career in the STEM fields. Finally, in her senior year, when she was frantically trying to decide on a college and course of study, her physics teacher commented that she should consider engineering.  Lack of exposure was the first hurdle that Karen would face on her path to success as an engineer and entrepreneur, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Tackling an important social issue from a personal perspective, Karen describes the trajectory of her own career in engineering, including the struggles she endured. Through her story and stories from women in other fields, she explores the hurdles women in the male-dominated STEM world mus overcome and offers pragmatic strategies for moving beyond them. From gaining exposure to occupations early in life to earning the respect of male colleagues to balancing the personal life with career pressures, Karen will empower you to realize your full talents.

Part inspiration, part strategic career advice, Unlocking Your Brilliance can help you pursue your passions and leverage your talents to create the professional and personal life you want.


About the Author

Karen Purcell, P.E., is a dynamic engineer, entrepreneur, and author focused on helping women create meaningful futures in the STEM fields. AS the founder and president of PK Electrical, she draws on her experience to inspire young women to enter the STEM field with confidence. Her nonprofit organization, STEMspire, was founded to support that mission.  she is actively involved in the Reno Tahoe Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has held numerous officer positions. She also won a 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Karen is an avid marathon runner, Girl Scout troop leader, and volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. She lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband and two  daughters.

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