Rise and Shine, MRS, today was the Women in Materials Science & Engineering Breakfast, a yearly event that features a prominent female speaker. This is one of my favorite events of MRS due to the awareness that it brings of women in the workplace. Last year, a question was asked of the audience: "who is your favorite woman scientist/engineer role model?". This question opened my eyes to a scary fact: I could not think of very many! I eventually chose Sally Ride, a physicist and astronaut (two things that I desire to be), but the exercise helped open my eyes to the need for awareness of women in STEM fields, and the obstacles that they may face.
This year, we were treated to a talk by dr. Dianne Chong, the former vice president of Boeing's Engineering, Operations, and Technology organization. The theme of the talk was "innovation" and Dr. Chong drew on her wealth of experience to give us many examples, at Boeing and elsewhere, of the importance of innovation and the role that managers must play in facilitating innovation. The design and production of the 787 Dreamliner made for a great real-world example of a challenging project that pushed the limits of innovation, collaboration, and dedication in order to make a beautiful product. After this talk, dr. Chung has now become another name that I can think of as a great woman engineer role model, and I am very grateful to have seen a talk on such an important subject.