On The Spot: Women Inching Forward In Tech Fields

By Danielle Anderson Correspondent
The Daytona Beach News-Journal

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jacqueline W. Sales (Davis), an environmental engineer and retired president of HAZMED, Inc., shares how far women in science have come and why it’s important to cultivate the next generation of young women in the field.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Q: Why did you select the field of environmental science and engineering?

A: Both of my parents worked in technical fields, so science and engineering were natural choices for me. Although I dreamed of being a doctor, my inquisitive nature led me to the emerging field of environmental management and its impact on protecting human health.

Q: What were the challenges you faced in a predominantly male field, and do you think perception is changing for women who want to be in math- and science-related careers?

A: The movie “Hidden Figures” brought to light the challenges women in technical-related careers deal with. Male colleagues often took credit for my suggestions and evaluations. Unfortunately, male-dominated workplaces remain comfortable with women in traditional subordinate roles. For women of color, this issue is compounded. Are things changing?? Very slowly — but they are changing.

Q: Why is it important for young women to become more involved fields involving science and math?

A: Women, when given an opportunity, tend to exceed in these areas because of our innate organizational skills, structure, and analytical capabilities. Women tend to be more results-oriented and are a natural fit in technical fields. It is time for women to move from the background to the forefront in delivering solutions that we need globally. For example, women are now leading world-class firms such as Lockheed-Martin, BAE, and others that we rely on to keep our world safe.

Q: How can schools (curriculum, flagship programs and foundations) and businesses collaborate to support young women considering careers in science, math and technology?

A: Our firm has always collaborated with schools to expose young women to STEM careers. Many have gone on to full careers in science and technology. The “History Makers” Back to School program is a stellar example of collaboration to stimulate students’ interest in STEM. Parents play a vital role in this process. They must work with the schools, churches, and businesses to foster interest in expanding possibilities for young women. Most of all, parents should encourage their daughters to consider STEM careers.

Q: As president of Hazmed, what advice would you give young women in the field?

A: Women before you have paved a path for you to follow. Reach out to these women for advice and counsel. Stay focused on what you are trying to achieve and ignore the nay-sayers. Consider entrepreneurship. It can be the most challenging and rewarding endeavor of your life.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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