Topics: STEAM | STEM | Transportation

According to 2019 U.S. Census data, despite making up nearly half of the U.S workforce, only 27% of STEM workers identify as women. Within certain sectors of STEM fields, these discrepancies are even steeper, with the percentage of women at only 16%. Thus, we were all the more excited to celebrate National Engineers Week (EWeek) by interviewing an inspirational female Baltimore-based civil engineer to get a peek into what it’s like to be a part of this 16%. Only 25 years old, Jayne Tokar is currently a superintendent with Gilbane Building Company and has worked on multiple construction projects throughout the Baltimore region. Join our conversation below, where we dive a little deeper about what it means to be not only a woman in this field, but a leader as well.

Baltimore Engineer Jayne Tokar

Q: What first inspired or motivated you to become an engineer?

A: I have always been interested in math and science, but didn’t want to be in a lab or behind a desk all day. Construction and civil engineering were the best options for me because I get to be on my feet meeting with different types of people and problem solving on the fly. Every day is very different in construction, so I never get bored.

Q: What are some of the duties that you have as a superintendent?

A: I manage the jobsites and ensure that projects are delivered at the highest quality, on schedule, and within budget. I also monitor safety on the job to make sure everyone leaves at the end of the day in the same condition they came in.

Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself when you first started out in the workforce?

A: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It’s okay not to be the expert in the room, and shows others you value their opinions.

Q: What are some unique challenges that you have had to overcome as a woman in your field?

A: The construction field is definitely behind by diversity and inclusion, but most companies are actively working to change that. However, I still have to prove myself to many people on the jobsite, and have had to break stereotypes left and right. But I’m up to the challenge!

Q: What is the best part about your job?

A: Getting to interact with so many different types of people, from trades to architects and designers. I’m constantly on the move and learning new things.


We’re grateful that we had the opportunity to speak with Jayne about her experience in the engineering field, and we are eager to see more women choose engineering as a profession. But, Jayne reminds us that there are still strides to be made and stigmas to be shattered.

There are many organizations that strive to empower women to achieve their full potential in engineering and tech, like Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Organizations like SWE are dedicated to giving women engineers a voice within the industry while promoting diversity. which reminds the public how valuable volunteers, educators, and mentors are in guiding younger generations of women in pursuing future careers in STEM. Jayne concurs with this sentiment, and stated, “My fantastic female mentor, Chelsea, has helped me see a future in a predominately male field. Having a female executive to look up to and get advice from makes me more confident in my abilities to succeed.” Celebrations like EWeek remind us to not only thank engineers, but to highlight the figures and role models that challenge the status quo.

As Northeast Maglev expands in the coming years, we are eager to continue promoting gender equality and to build a company that models that value. In the meantime, we are committed to elevating stories like Jayne’s, so that younger generations can look forward to a future where they can pursue their passions, regardless of gender. Be on the lookout for our next blog, which captures an even bigger picture of the engineering industry and the organizations behind impressive diversity, equity, and inclusion movements.