Women in Engineering

The Walla Walla High School’s Women in Engineering event highlights ordinary women living extraordinary lives Story and Photos by Brigida Sanchez In a beautifully sun lit classroom with a wall of windows a diverse group of women gathered together to […]

The Walla Walla High School’s Women in Engineering event highlights ordinary women living extraordinary lives

Story and Photos by Brigida Sanchez

In a beautifully sun lit classroom with a wall of windows a diverse group of women gathered together to talk about science, technology, engineering, math, (STEM), and life at the Walla Walla High School Women in Engineering (WIE) Panel Event on April 26, 2017.

Ms. Ruthann Haider, chief of contracting at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District, addressed young women from Walla Walla High School, along with other professional women who attended the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity. (U.S. Army Photo by Brigida Sanchez)

Ms. Ruthann Haider, chief of contracting at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District, addressed young women from Walla Walla High School, along with other professional women who attended the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity.

The WIE event introduces young women interested in STEM to professionals in a variety of career fields. Claircy Clizer, a passionate Career Outreach Coordinator at SEATech Skills Center and at Walla Walla High School exposes students to a variety of opportunities by sponsoring events. These events bridge the gap in which information can be delivered to students, so that they may learn more about those professions in which there is a disparity in gender diversity.

“We wanted to encourage women particularly with the event to be involved in STEM Studies and encourage them to pursue the things that they maybe hadn’t thought about before,” explains Clizer. “The Women in Engineering event, was something that I talked about with a couple of people, and we decided let’s give it a try. And, it has been very successful. It has been a very fun event to do, too.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, sent three representatives to sit on the WIE panel, comprised of women from Walla Walla who are involved in STEM career fields.
All three Corps’ volunteers: Chief of Contracting Ruthann Haider, Project Manager and Chemical Engineer Margret McGill, and Civil Engineer Yvonne Gibbons have participated since 2014, when the event was first organized.

Yvonne Gibbons, who was one of 10 children, grew up on a farm. She was encouraged by her mother to go to college and inspired by her older sister to become an engineer. Yvonne, understands the significance of motivating young women to pursue a career in the engineering field.

“I hope that they will listen to what we all said, and that it isn’t about who you work with, be it gender or ethnicity. It is important to be yourself and to bring forward what you have to add to those groups,” Gibbons emphasized. “There’s nothing holding any of them back.”

Clizer who organized WIE, not only enlisted panel members but the students that attended the event. Emma Wenzel, a junior at Walla Walla High, too shy to raise her hand in class when asked if she wanted to attend the event, rallied a group of friends interested in STEM to go and listen to the panel. This show of confidence and strength by all the WIE members attending the event endeavored to empower the eight students from Walla Walla High School.

Ms. Ruthann Haider, chief of contracting at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District, addressed young women from Walla Walla High School, along with other professional women who attended the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity.“They did a great job, it was really interesting to see where they started, where they ended up and how their paths changed,” Wenzel an Advanced Placement Calculus student said. “I didn’t realize that there are so many different career fields in engineering.”

Like most people, Emma wants a job doing what she loves. The forum opened her eyes to possible opportunities in her future. The Women in Engineering event featured ordinary women with extraordinary stories of blazing trails, like the women before them, and these eight young women who aspire follow them.

U.S. Army Corp of Engineer volunteers: Chief of Contracting Ruthann Haider (right), Project Manager and Chemical Engineer Margret McGill (center), and Civil Engineer Yvonne Gibbons (left)have participated in the Women in Engineering event  since 2014, when it was first organized. Local Walla Walla professional women volunteered to speak to young women from Walla Walla High School. They all attended the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity. U.S. Army Photo by Public Affairs Specialist Brigida I. Sanchez.

U.S. Army Corp of Engineer volunteers: Chief of Contracting Ruthann Haider (right), Project Manager and Chemical Engineer Margret McGill (center), and Civil Engineer Yvonne Gibbons (left)have participated in the Women in Engineering event since 2014, when it was first organized. Local Walla Walla professional women volunteered to speak to young women from Walla Walla High School. They all attended the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity. 

Young women from Walla Walla High School, attend the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity. U.S. Army Photo by Public Affairs Specialist Brigida I. Sanchez.

Young women from Walla Walla High School, attend the Women in Engineering Event at that the SEATech Center on April 26, 2017. The science, technology, engineering and math event was organized in order to expose students to a variety of opportunities and bridge the gap in occupations where there is a gender disparity. 

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