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Profile: Elise Morse, Vibration Analyst at Augury

Women in Tech: “You can’t let others slow you down”

Sarah Schlothauer

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Elise Morse, Vibration Analyst at Augury.

research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Elise Morse, a Vibration Analyst at Augury.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Elise Morse, Vibration Analyst at Augury

Elise Morse is a Vibration Analyst at Augury, the leading IoT and AI-driven Machine Health solution provider. Previously, she was a Project Engineer at Mechanical Solutions Inc. and Pump Improvement Engineer at an industry-leading pump company. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

When did you become interested in technology? What first got you interested in tech?

My father definitely triggered my interest in technology. He was an electrical engineer and regularly brought projects home with him – such as tool prototypes from when he worked for DeWalt or Black & Decker. I found it fascinating and I still do.

Let’s talk about your background. How did you end up in your career path? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

I used to be an Assistant Engineer in the Merchant Marines, where I learned a lot about maintenance and dealing with pumps and compressors. A challenge I faced was that there wasn’t a terribly large support system. For the most part, everyone was pretty respectful, but there are definitely no shoulders to cry on. You really had to be strong for yourself.

After, I worked for an industry-leading pump company, and it was still a good old boys club. I just put my nose to the grindstone and decided: this is what I enjoy doing so I am going to do it. But I’ve been in situations where I’ve been laughed at to my face. That’s when you have to just be professional, ignore it and say, “show me your asset” and get to work. It’s the only way you can rise above it all. You can’t let others slow you down.

Did you receive support from your family and friends? Do you have a role model?

I was lucky to have my father as a mentor. He’s a very smart and technical man who answered my questions and shared his 20-plus years of experience. I could just keep asking him questions – it was invaluable and sparked my love for technology.

I was lucky to have my father as a mentor. He’s a very smart and technical man who answered my questions and shared his 20-plus years of experience.

Did anyone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

At my past job, it became apparent to me that no matter the level of skill and amount of dedication I brought to the table, I was not going to move up the ranks. Once I realized my progression was stifled because of the “old boys club” culture at the company, I packed my bags and left. Eventually, I found my place at Augury.

A day in Elise’s life

I’m a Vibration Analyst at Augury, the leading IoT and AI-driven Machine Health solution provider.

In a way, I see the wireless condition monitoring of industrial or manufacturing machines as a similar job as that of a doctor. We’re listening like they do with a stethoscope – but continuously. We’re constantly scanning for any kind of change. If something abnormal comes up, we review, evaluate and inform the customer. While a doctor might recommend vitamins or more bloodwork, we might suggest adding oil, tightening a bolt or replacing a part to help extend the life of the asset or prevent an unexpected failure.

What I love about working at Augury is that I’m constantly learning. We’re doing non-traditional vibration analysis and installing on a multitude of different machines that have never had such analysis performed before. It’s pushing the boundaries. We are seeing all these different machines and how they behave. For example, we can align vibration patterns with wear patterns – and really get into a new type of troubleshooting.

It used to be that you’d do these checks monthly or sometimes even yearly. Now you can see all the moments continuously – including those Sunday evenings when operations hit the gas to push production and then you see these transients you would have otherwise missed. It’s like a Fitbit for machines. You can watch – and learn – all the time.

Why aren’t there more women in tech? What’s your take on that?

I was inspired to pursue a career in STEM at a young age because my father was an engineer and would tell me about his work. He encouraged my interest by letting me ask as many questions as I wanted. I think more young girls need role models and mentors that spark their interest in STEM and actively encourage them to pursue a career in technology.

Mentorship is also important for retaining women in tech so that they have a support system and peers they can go to for advice. My past experiences as a woman in tech is why I would love to be mentoring more folks in the future – especially those new to the industry.

Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?

As I mentioned before, some of the places I worked at before there was no support system and had an “old boys club” culture. It can be hard to navigate being the only woman in the room if you’re not in a supportive environment. If a woman is working in this type of environment, they will likely be overlooked for promotions regardless of their hard work and talent. It’s really important to work somewhere that values employees and offers growth potential and learning opportunities.

If you’re not happy with the culture of a company and feel your career growth is stunted, leave for somewhere that presents more growth opportunity and that values you.

How would our world be different if more women worked in STEM? What would be the (social, economic, and cultural) impact?

I think the more diversity and variety of perspectives in STEM the better. It helps spawn creativity and would lead to more discoveries and ideas. Young girls seeing more women in STEM and having more female role models to look up to would also encourage more women to pursue a career in STEM.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current discussion?

I think change will be gradual and vary for every organization and industry but that there’s already been improvement from when I first started in the industry. Companies realize that if they don’t prioritize diversity and inclusion, they’ll lose a lot of great talent.

I’m fortunate to work at Augury where diversity and inclusion is valued, and everyone is treated with equal respect.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career? What should they know about this industry?

You just have to follow the beat of your own drum. You might encounter people that underestimate you and there will be times where you’re the only woman in the room, but don’t let that discourage you. If you’re not happy with the culture of a company and feel your career growth is stunted, leave for somewhere that presents more growth opportunity and that values you.

Fortunately, I’ve seen a growth in support communities in recent years. There’s a lot more outreach, especially with the internet. Now, you can really lean into these networks while you figure out if this work is right for you. I highly recommend any woman interested in a career in tech takes advantage of this opportunity and makes connections with women in the industry.

More Women in Tech:

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Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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