Lindsey is a materials engineer based in Portland, Oregon. She also runs The Engineeress, an Instagram feed where she talks about life as a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and hopes to encourage more women to join her. Here, she shares tips on tackling imposter syndrome and her (hilarious) secret to finding the perfect nude lipstick…
Tee: Coffee & Coded.
Can you describe your job?
I’m a materials engineer. We focus on why materials act the way they do, and how we can change them. I build new electronic materials — so, basically, the devices that are in your phone and computer.
How do you get ready for the day?
I’m not a morning person, so I’ve been trying different methods of waking myself up. A friend recently gave me an Amazon Echo as a present, and I use that as my alarm clock now. I set it up so it goes through a whole routine: it tells me the weather, reads me the news, and tells me how much traffic is on my route to work. It has really helped.
What’s your morning skincare routine?
I usually stumble into the bathroom, brush my teeth and wash my face. Most of my skin products are from Paula’s Choice, a Seattle-based company that is just amazing. Their products are research-based, and I really believe in what they do. I start with their RESIST Perfectly Balanced Facial Cleanser, and then I use their BHA 2% exfoliant — which is their best-selling product. It really gets into your pores and unclogs them, so it’s awesome at preventing acne. It also makes your pores look smaller and reduces blackheads.
Do you use a moisturizer?
I finish with Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for combination skin. At work, I often wear a hardhat or a mask, and I think it’s helpful to have some kind of barrier on your skin whenever something’s touching your face.
What makeup do you like?
I always use eyeshadow as eyeliner. It has a softer vibe, and that’s kind of my ‘look.’ Using an angled brush, I apply a thicker line on the outside of my eye, then really lightly on the inside. I use the awesome Naked palettes by Urban Decay and the Sephora Collection circular eyeshadow pucks, which work very well.
Do you change it up for nights out?
I use Sephora Collection bronzer for contouring. And for highlighter, I really like Benefit’s High Beam — the one that looks like a nail polish bottle. I use it on my cheekbones and brow bone, and it creates such a nice, lit-up effect.
Do you ever wear lipstick?
I like to wear a natural, matte lip, and I discovered a great trick recently: If you want to find the perfect natural tone on your lips, you should look for a shade that matches your nipple! It really does work. Isn’t that funny?
What kind of hair care products do you use?
I’ve had psoriasis since I was in high school, so I always use Head & Shoulders deep moisture shampoo and conditioner to help reduce flakes. Then I use a spray from Aussie called Sprunch. When I first moved to Portland, my hair started doing this thing where the middle section would be super curly but the lower third would be straight. It looked so weird, because gravity is supposed to work in the OPPOSITE direction. I started using the spray on the bottom, which gives my curls some lift.
Do you get any special treatments?
Yes, I always have a manicure — almond shaped, with gel polish. It’s kind of funny because as an engineer, I wear gloves at work. But for me, it’s just one of those things that makes me happy.
Any body care products you really like?
Vaseline works well for SO many things. I use it on my lips every night, and I never have chapped lips, even in the winter. Every other night, I put it under my eyes. I have lots of dark under-eye pigment — one of those genetic things I’m always trying to combat. But on the days I use Vaseline, it’s not as dark when I wake up. Any hand or cuticle issue? Or inflamed skin from a hangnail? I just dab some Vaseline on, and it makes it better.
Tee: Coffee & Coded.
You’ve talked a lot on social media about dealing with imposter syndrome as a woman in STEM. Is that still something you grapple with?
Yes, regularly! I wish I didn’t, but it’s very common for women in STEM — and people in engineering, in general. I remember a period in college where I was constantly thinking someone would find my application and be like, ‘Why is this girl here? This was an accident. We shouldn’t have admitted her.’ Then I took a course on leadership in engineering, and the phrase ‘imposter syndrome’ came up. It hit me: ‘Oh my god, THAT’S what this is.’ It helped to put a name to it. I try to remind myself of objective achievements — things that are tangible — and remember that I’m completely qualified for my job.
I imagine it’s hard to totally avoid those worries when you’re outnumbered by men.
I always had close guy friends growing up, so it feels natural for me to be around guys — and my team is all men. Fifteen of them, and me. But it does sometimes hit me that I’m the only woman, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling. When we’re all in a room together, I’m very aware that they’ve never had the experience of being the only male in the workplace.
Tell us about why you started The Engineeress.
It originally started with me wanting to inspire girls and women to get into STEM. But over time, I realized that wasn’t exactly the impact I was having. It was more that I was helping women to stay in STEM. And staying in STEM, in my mind, is even more important than getting into it. Because there are still far fewer women in these fields, it can be hard to stay. And if we can get more women to stay, it’ll have a ripple effect that will affect those young women and girls who are on the fence about joining. If young girls can see large cohorts of women in this industry, that will have a big impact. I’m not backing down from it.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I loved problem-solving from a very young age, but it wasn’t until early high school that I realized I needed to be an engineer. I love that I get to solve new problems every day. No one likes every aspect of what they do, but the parts I enjoy far outweigh everything else (paperwork, emails, etc.). When I complete an impactful project, I feel so proud of all my hard work.
Thank you so much, Lindsey! We LOVE what you’re doing!