Dot Harris Keynotes Women’s History Month Luncheon
March AABE Atlanta Meeting Honors Women in STEM Careers
President Barack Obama's choice for director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity in the US Department of Energy (DOE) is one of our own. Not only was she appointed to a high-level position in the DOE, but she’s always been a staunch champion of the AABE and its various causes. Dot Harris was the keynote speaker at the AABE Atlanta Chapter’s Women's History Month event, which was recently held at Georgia Power headquarters.
Harris was both informative and inspirational before an audience of AABE members from Georgia Power, SCANA, AGL Resources, NERC, and GE. She talked about the need to get more women and girls into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professions. In fact, in her youth she, too, was inspired by a chemistry teacher.
The session was aligned with the theme of this year’s annual celebration, as designated by The National Women’s History Project. This year’s theme --Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – seemed an ideal fit for the AABE March luncheon program.
“Life is measured by the moments that take our breath away,” said Harris, as she began her discussion about the need for more diversity in STEM-related careers. “And if we look at all we have to do, we are more than characters in the story. We are authors of those stories, so it’s important that we make an impact.”
Citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics, which show that by 2018, the majority of young people 18 and under will be minorities, Harris reiterated that the U.S. is indeed becoming more diverse. As that happens, she added, it’s imperative that we encourage young people early on to consider careers in technical disciplines, such as science and math. That may sometimes mean taking a grassroots approach and going into diverse neighborhoods to spread the word about STEM careers and all the opportunities they offer.
The task is an important one, according to Harris, as only 17 percent of high school seniors are proficient in STEM subject areas. To help combat that, the DOE invests annually in small businesses and Historically Black Colleges and Universities that train technical students, she said.
“The AABE has a defined mission to improve the representation of minorities and women in our industry,” said Cherryl Harris, president, AABE Atlanta Chapter. “And that’s why we’re pleased to host this important event to celebrate the contributions of diverse individuals in our industry today and in the future.”
Resources for more information
The National Women’s History Project
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