Engineering Excellence and Effective Communication: Insights from Monique Mills

Episode Summary:

In this episode of “When Science Speaks,” host Mark Bayer welcomes Monique Mills, an engineer renowned for her exceptional science communication skills. Monique shares her unique journey and discusses the importance of communication in engineering and career development.

Key Topics Covered:

  1. Introduction to Monique Mills
    Monique Mills, an accomplished engineer and communicator, joins the show to share her insights on balancing STEM skills and communication.

  2. Importance of Science Communication in STEM Careers
    Discussing the critical role of effective science communication in advancing engineering careers and its impact on professional growth.

  3. Monique’s Personal Journey
    Exploring Monique’s background, her path to becoming an engineer, and the challenges she faced as the youngest of 13 siblings and the first in her family to attend college.

  4. Career Development Tips for Engineers
    Practical advice on how engineers can enhance their career development through improved communication skills.

  5. Role of Communication in Engineering Projects
    The significance of being able to convey complex scientific concepts to diverse audiences and stakeholders.

  6. Monique’s High School Achievement
    Monique shares her experience of graduating third in her high school class despite missing most of her sophomore year. Her story highlights the influence of perseverance and natural talent.

  7. Women Excelling in STEM
    A discussion on the increasing presence of women in STEM fields, including college enrollment and graduation rates. Monique emphasizes the significance of this trend for future career development.

  8. The Translator Role in the Workplace
    Monique delves into her role as a “translator” in professional settings, bridging the gap between technical expertise and effective communication. She explains the value of having individuals who can navigate both technical and interpersonal dynamics.

  9. Challenges and Biases Faced by Women in STEM
    Addressing the unique challenges women encounter in STEM careers, including communication expectations and gender biases. Monique shares her insights on navigating these obstacles.

  10. Respect and Learning in Professional Relationships
    Monique discusses the importance of mutual respect and continuous learning in the workplace. She provides examples from her career, illustrating how these principles contribute to successful collaboration.

  11. Navigating Professional Relationships
    Monique discusses her experiences working as the youngest, only black woman in authority on job sites, and how she managed professional relationships with respect and collaboration.



  12. Navigating Professional Relationships
    Monique discusses her experiences working as the youngest, only black woman in authority on job sites, and how she managed professional relationships with respect and collaboration.

  13. Challenges in the Workplace
    Addressing the challenges Monique faced, including racial and gender biases, and how she overcame them to gain respect and succeed in her roles.

  14. Evolving Career Paths
    Monique shares her journey from highly technical roles to entrepreneurship, founding a tech startup, and consulting. She emphasizes the importance of combining technical and business skills.

  15. Essential Skills for Young Professionals
    Monique offers advice on the importance of communication, connection, and understanding the business side of technical roles. She stresses the need for young professionals to learn sales and real estate fundamentals.

  16. The Importance of Adding Value
    Monique highlights the need for STEM professionals to understand how their work contributes to a company’s profitability and to always be a value add in their roles.


  • Monique’s dual expertise in engineering and communication.
  • Strategies for young engineers to develop both technical and communication skills.
  • The impact of family dynamics and background on career paths.
  • Overcoming gender biases in STEM fields.
  • Monique’s resilience and determination in overcoming workplace challenges.
  • The importance of mutual respect and collaboration in professional settings.
  • Practical advice for young professionals to develop essential business and communication skills.
  • Monique’s transition from technical roles to entrepreneurship and consulting.


  • “Effective communication is just as important as technical expertise in engineering.”
  • “Navigating a male-dominated environment as a woman in engineering requires unique skills.”
  • “Being able to articulate complex ideas clearly is crucial for career advancement in STEM.”
  • “Respecting what other people bring to the table is crucial for effective collaboration.”
  • “Learn how to sell, because you’re constantly selling yourself, whether it’s for a job or convincing someone to help you.”
  • “Understand where you fit into this engine of how people make money. Be a value-add in every role you take on.”