July 11, 2019
News Release

PNNL to Host Women in Engineering Global Summit

Leadership Summit Will Focus on Empowerment in STEM

IEEE Women-In-Engineering

IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit

RICHLAND, Wash. —  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is one of 10 sites worldwide to host an IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit in 2019.  The all-day event will take place July 30 at Discovery Hall, on the PNNL campus in Richland.

The Women in Engineering Affinity Group of the IEEE Richland Section, along with volunteers from the local technical community, proposed and were competitively selected to host the WIE International Leadership Summit. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.

Hundreds of engineers, scientists, problem solvers, managers, and academic researchers are expected to attend from fields such as engineering, computer sciences and information technology, physical sciences, biological and health science, nuclear, construction, mathematics, technical communications, education management, and law and policy.

The theme of the summit is “A rising tide lifts all boats.” It aims to empower early- and mid-career female STEM professionals, enable skill development, and provide networking and collaboration opportunities. STEM refers to careers and studies in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“More than 60 percent of women who receive an engineering degree will leave the field within 15 years of entering the workforce, making the quit rate for women more than twice as high as for men,” said Emily Barrett, summit chair, an electrical engineer at PNNL, and chair of the IEEE Richland WIE Affinity Group. 

“When coupled with lower entrance rates, these attrition numbers mean that women continue to be seriously unrepresented in these technical fields. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor, only 10 percent of full-time engineers in this country are female,” said Barrett.

The summit’s keynote speaker is Debra Smith, General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light. Smith has worked in the public utility industry for 22 years. Before joining Seattle City Light in October of 2018, she served as General Manager of Central Lincoln Public Utility District in Oregon, according to program chair Nikitha Radhakrishnan, a PNNL electrical engineer and secretary of the IEEE Richland WIE Affinity Group.  

“We have a diverse lineup of speakers and panelists, and interactive sessions.” said Radhakrishnan. “The Richland section of IEEE is in a unique position to draw speakers from around the region and country due to the significance and volume of technical work our members perform in this region.”  Amanda Blevins, senior director and chief technologist at VMware is also a speaker at the event. 

A large number of proposals are submitted to IEEE every year by different sections looking to host one of these summits, as they provide regional opportunities to foster networking, mentorship, and collaboration. Only 10 summits are held annually throughout the world, and the summit approval process is highly competitive, according to summit co-chair, Seemita Pal, who is a cybersecurity engineer at PNNL.

The summit is open to anyone seeking greater empowerment, leadership development, networking and collaboration opportunities. More information and registration details can be found here.

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on signature capabilities in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics to advance scientific discovery and create solutions to the nation's toughest challenges in energy resiliency and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Facebook,Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.



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Published: July 11, 2019