Neha Dobhal

Neha Dobhal

Senior Systems Engineer
San Francisco Bay Area
Neha Dobhal
Ask a Question:
Required field
Please note
The engineers who take the time to respond to student questions on this forum are often very busy and may not respond to some questions, particularly those that have been answered elsewhere. Please be sure to review previous questions and answers to see if your question may have already been addressed.
Enter the code shown: (only upper case)

I am mechanical engineer and currently work as a Reliability Engineer and Failure Analysis Lead at Abbott Labs, in their diagnostic division located in Dallas, TX. I have a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, NYC and am actively involved in Dallas SWE. I work in the medical device field and am thrilled that I can apply my engineering skills towards my vision of doing good for mankind. I have worked in a variety of roles before which include mechanical design engineering;process development and thoroughly enjoy problem solving and the challenges an engineering career brings with it. I believe in empowerment through education and would like to encourage more young girls to embrace careers in the STEM field and to make a positive impact both in their own lives and in society.
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Neha Dobhal

Hi Ayesha,Thank you for the question, I hope you find my feedback helpful. 

I would encourage you to follow your passion and interest.If you truly believe that you have the perseverance to study, excel in a certain subject and make a successful career out of it, go for it! I believe that with hard work and persistence you will be able to even attain the marks to prove to your father that you definitely have the capability to follow your dreams. Parents are wonderful people who want the best for us. I would not necessarily dismiss their concerns, but speak to them and show improvement in your grades, so that they too have the confidence that one day you will make a great aerospace engineer! Good luck !!  

Hi Anusha,

It is so nice to learn of your interest in physics and astronomy as well as to learn that you aspire to be an aerospace engineer. I am a Mechanical Engineer myself and while some courses I took in school were tough and needed a lot of effort, they were certainly doable. Going to med school is no easy task when compared to engineering. I would say they are both strenuous.

Being a good doctor or a good engineer and acing in your respective field will take both effort and perseverance from your end. Just as you are getting advice from an engineer,I would encourage  you to reach out to a doctor as well and hear from them first hand about their educational experience. When you have enough data about both professions, you will be able to make a choice based on both your interest and capability level. There are a lot of jobs available for engineers all around the world. It completely depends on what you want to do and over the 4 years of engineering, you might discover new passions and interests which can lead to many innovative careers. 

If you need additional advice, please feel free to reach out to me via email.

Hello Janice,

Thanks for reaching out to me. It is very nice to know that you are interested and fascinated by subjects in the mechanical engineering field. Being in India, your family's apprehensions regarding your choice in engineering is not completely baseless. Due to a variety of reasons, even today in India, mechanical engineering is not considered a women friendly engineering stream and it is perhaps due to this general conception that your family perhaps thinks it is tough to find a job. 

The real question you need to ask yourself is, what is YOUR priority in life. Do you think it is more important that you find a job 'easily' or are you willing to put in hard work when the going gets tough? Do you know what kind of job/jobs do you envision yourself doing after 3 years. Do you want to be an automobile engineer, want to do something in fluid mechanics, do design engineering, robotics? Do you see yourself working in the IT industry? Is that something you could potentially develop an interest in?

I would suggest before you make up your mind, find out if your college provides assistance in finding jobs in the mechanical engineering field, if not, what can you do yourself to get a foot hold in the industry? There are a lot of avenues - working in the govt sector area, BHEL, HAL, NRSA etc are examples or working in the private sector areas, TATA motors, Chrysler, Nissan etc. Find out what you need to do (write entrance tests, apply online etc) to find job here. I will not deny that while computer science itself is definitely as challenging as the mechanical engineering, in India, finding a job in the IT service sector is relatively easier since the demand for talent is quite high. But if you are willing, motivated and consistent in your efforts, you will definitely make it. 

If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to me via email and I will be glad to help you out. 

Hi Kelly, First of all, it is wonderful that you are thinking of being an engineer. While you need to know that basics of both physics and chemistry to be a mechanical engineer, unless you decide to major in areas such as bio chemistry, optics etc (just to give you a few examples) you will not need to deep dive into the topics. Mechanical engineering is a very widely applicable field. Mechanical engineers find jobs as aerodynamic engineers, as design engineers, as HVAC engineers, as structural engineers, as quality engineers, as fluidics experts, as quality engineers, as automotive engineers, as metallurgical engineers, as material scientists.... the list is so long! There is no fixed formula for being a good mechanical engineer. It completely depends on where your interest lies and what courses you choose to excel in your field. I had started my career as a design engineer and a few of the courses that were very helpful to me were mechanics, engineering drawing, design of machine members, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics etc... most of the courses I took during school help me in one way or another throughout my work life. More importantly what the course structure inculcated in me was critical thinking skills and a logical thought process. Feel free to reach out to me with any more questions you may have. I will be more than glad to help you out.

To answer your question, I would like to quote Dr Kelso from the TV Series Scrubs - "Nothing in this world worth having comes easy". An engineering degree is something you will cherish through your life because it will open so many doors for you. It will not be easy, but it certainly is not and will not be impossible. Look around you and draw inspiration from all the wonderful women engineers who are changing the world, one step at a time. It may be a field that is dominated by males currently, not to say, that this cannot change in the coming years. I would encourage you to be a part of this change. It is unfortunate that in the past you may have been ignored because you were a girl. The important takeaway from this, is the fact, that this was the PAST. As long as you give your 100% to your work and do a great job, no righteous person should discriminate against you on gender basis. Perhaps you are aware that engineering is of various kinds. While some may be more suited for men, there is no reason why a woman who does a good job and has the passion for it, will not be hired. Being taken seriously in the working world has got nothing to do with gender bias. This is the 21st century and gender bias cannot stop you from reaching your maximum potential. Hope I answered your question. Feel free to email me if you have further questions. Thanks