This week, we’re celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS) on Saturday, February 11th. While women and girls play a critical role in various fields of science, a significant global gender gap still exists in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
This year, the 8th annual IDWGIS day was officially commemorated at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Friday, February 10th and included roundtable discussions and dialogues about how to put science at the forefront of sustainable development programs.
Closer to home in West Virginia, we interviewed Brooke Albin, AVN Corp.’s manager of laboratories to learn more about her experience as a woman who works in the field of science:
- What initially interested you in having a career in the field of science and research?
I was drawn to science starting in high school, and I’ve always liked math, so I guess it was a natural fit for me. I found a love for chemistry in college which pointed me in this direction, and then discovered engineering along the way. Although I have lots of other interests, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. After pursuing this path, I’ve come to recognize I have family ties to science and engineering. I have two uncles that are engineers, and my grandfather was a laboratory technician. It took me a long time to realize this, because his work was confidential and he didn’t talk about it much, but he was a smart man that knew how to do just about anything.
- What does a day in the life involve for you?
I manage our laboratory business at AVN Corp. This means I get to support multiple R&D projects ranging from development of biobased-chemical processes and supporting initiatives related to circular economy and reducing carbon footprints, to developing polymers with enhanced performance characteristics and catalysts with improved selectivity. I interact with customers to make sure we understand their objectives, and I collaborate with employees to make sure we have projects set for success.
- What is a recent exciting project you’ve worked on? Or, what excites you most about working in the laboratory at AVN Corp.
One recent success we had here was to help a customer that wanted to create a value-added product for their agricultural commodity. We developed a process that not only generated more value for them, but also represented a sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-based processes. This project required several years of determination, troubleshooting, and teamwork, but in the end was a success, resulting in the sale of the technology.
- Why do you think it’s important to recognize women working in your field?
Women in engineering are still outnumbered and historically have not received the recognition they deserved. The science and engineering world can benefit from a more diverse perspective that women can help bring to the table, and they should be encouraged and given equal opportunities to contribute.
- What advice would you give other aspiring female scientists?
Although it is a challenging discipline, there are great opportunities for women in this field, and it can lead to a rewarding career. Many companies are beginning to recognize the untapped value women can bring to their organizations and are putting measures in place to make the workplace more flexible and female friendly. I expect to see this trend continue, as it stands to benefit not only women, but all employees, and makes the workplace more welcoming to everyone.
To read more about International Day of Women and Girls in Science, click here.
– For additional information, contact questions@AVNcorp.com
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