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Three women are leading the way in Pen College’s engineering



Williamsport, PA-For two years, Lauryn A. Stauffer has only seen a male face in an electronics class at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology. This fall she will meet at least several female leaders in the Faculty of Engineering.

Dedicated to a career rooted in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the school program now boasts three women as Assistant Dean.

Kathleen D. Chesmel and Erin A. Lester were hired at the end of spring as heads of materials science and engineering technology and construction and construction technology, respectively. They join Stacy C. Hampton, a longtime college student who is an assistant in industrial and computer technology Dean.

“It’s women’s empowerment! I love it!” Stauffer shined with pride. Bath Native is half a bachelor’s degree in automated engineering technology. I’m excited to see women in school who are robotics and automation and share an affinity for STEM.

“It’s difficult to move into a male-dominated area,” she said. “In my first year, I felt lost because basically everyone in the class didn’t want to have anything to do with me. (Ken J.) Kinley and (Randall L.) .) Moser, an assistant professor of electronics and computer engineering, was great, but it’s been a year since I started to realize I didn’t bite. “

“I didn’t have a female mentor. They (Assistant Dean) would be a great resource. I can ask them for advice or just talk. To be honest, it’s a lot. It means that. “

Women make up almost half of the workforce, but only 27% of STEM workers. That number from the Ministry of Labor represents snail-like progress. In 1990, 23% of STEM workers were women.

As a result, women are missing out on enriching their careers. The Department of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual salary for STEM jobs in 2019 was $ 86,980 and for all other occupations it was $ 38,160. Beyond attractive monetary rewards, STEM positions are influential.

“STEM’s career offers great opportunities to be at the forefront of changing technology, changing progress, and changing the way we improve our lives. If you are interested in these aspects, STEM is for you. There are many layers of opportunities in these careers, “explained Davy Jane Gilmour, President of the University of Pennsylvania.

“It’s good for Pennsylvania College to have three women who play a leading role in engineering technology, because they bring diverse backgrounds and interesting perspectives to future and existing students,” she says. Added. “While acknowledging gender uniqueness in their role, it is important to remember that we focused above all on the skills and abilities to do their job. They depend on gender in engineering. The fact that it is non-traditional is a bonus. “

Chesmel holds a PhD and Master’s degree in Biotechnology and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Her resume includes a wide range of education and industry experience. More recently, Chesmel taught STEM accredited courses for secondary school teachers and conducted the Make-It-Matter Materials Science Camp at Pennsylvania State University.

“I’ve always loved science and math,” Chesmel said. “My dad was a chemical engineer, but I really didn’t know what he was doing on a daily basis.”

A trip to a young teenage orthopedist needed by a gymnastic injury helped Chesmel connect her interests to STEM’s career.

“There are prosthetic limbs on the shelves in the office, and I thought,” Tell me about these. ” That was the beginning of my desire to become a biomedical engineer and build orthopedic implants, “said Chesmel, co-inventor of two US patents in the field of biomedicine.

Lester earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, but her “natural curiosity” led to architecture and subsequent construction after her husband enrolled in a master’s program in architecture.

“I went to the architectural library with him and it was very fascinating,” she said. “I fell in love with some of the writings about architecture.”

A few years later, Leicester earned a master’s degree in architecture, resulting in a leadership position in professional-focused companies and professional associations. She later moved to construction management, specializing in a construction environment defined as all man-made structures in the field of human activity.

Lester chairs the Building Environment Program at Stevens Institute of Technology and holds a PhD in Building Environment from the University of Salford (England).

Hampton holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. Prior to arriving at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, she was a secondary teacher, literacy instructor, 4-H extension worker, and university preparation coordinator in various school districts in Pennsylvania.

Hired as an admissions and retention coordinator for college engineering programs, Hampton visits classes and labs and talks with faculty members to immerse themselves in plastics, electronics, machining, welding, and other STEM-related majors. bottom.

By the time she was appointed Assistant Dean in 2013, Hampton was a tireless supporter and recruiter of the STEM major.

“When I started, I knew engineering in my head, but I didn’t know all the complexity and creative career potential behind it. I went to technical fields such as plastics. I wish I knew it when I was young, because it may be. ” “I don’t think the demand for STEM workers has slowed since I came to college. There seems to be more demand now.”

By 2029, there will be nearly 800,000 new STEM jobs, up 8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“If we don’t influence our career decisions and don’t go back to elementary or junior high school to promote our STEM career, especially the right math and science classes to prepare our students for their STEM career,” Gilmour said. increase.

“Girls can do the work necessary for math and science, which can lead to STEM careers as well as boys,” Hampton said. “I don’t think they understand what a career is.”

In describing these careers, Chesmel believes it is important to emphasize the creative and human nature of the field in order to dispel the STEM stereotypes of hard and barren work isolated from society. I am.

“You’re creating things that didn’t exist before, or you’re taking in the parts that existed and putting them together in new ways,” she said. “And if we can position STEM’s career as empathetic and compassionate to women, we can generate more interest. Women have an essential desire to give back to others. I think. So many STEM disciplines are humane at the heart of them. You are doing something to benefit society. “

Society will benefit from more women who excel in such careers.

“There has been a lot of research demonstrating that diversity of experience and thought is very important,” Lester said. “It’s amazing when we can bring together people with different expertise and perspectives and work together for the common good.”

“Men’s thinking processes are based on their experience, and their experience is different from my experience as a woman or mother,” explained Chesmel. “The more diverse the voice, the more the culture of decision making reflects the needs of the people.”

Bradley M, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Technology. Webb hopes that the presence and work of Chesmel, Hampton, and Lester will help universities play a role in increasing the diversity of STEM. During the 2020-21 academic year, about 91% of the student population in the department represented by the three Vice Dean was male.

“There is a lot of research showing that people like themselves need to be seen to imagine people entering their careers,” Webb said. “In the past, there weren’t many female role models in the STEM space. Now there are three female assistants in engineering, Dean, who are participating in our program that STEM has potential for them. You can show it to a young woman, as if’she did it. I too.’ “

An ambitious automation engineer, Stauffer plans to recite the mantra when offering campus tours to future female students interested in the Faculty of Engineering. She tours twice a week in her role as presidential student ambassador.

“Sure, we tell them that we have three female assistant directors of engineering,” she said. “I’m very proud of Pen College!”

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Three women are leading the way in Pen College’s engineering

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