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    NSWC Philadelphia Division Hosts “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” Event for National Engineers Week

    NSWC Philadelphia Division Hosts “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” Event for National Engineers Week

    Photo By Carmen Vitanza | Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division hosted “Introduce a Girl to...... read more read more

    Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division hosted an online event for girls from Abraham Lincoln High School, Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls, Philadelphia High School for Girls, and Danville High School as part of National Engineers Week on Feb. 23, 2023.

    The event dubbed “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” brought accomplished women in a variety of engineering fields to share their experiences and provide guidance to promising young women from across the Philadelphia area.

    NSWCPD Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Program Manager Tristan Wolfe introduced Deputy Chief Engineer Dorothy Kraynik to give the event’s opening remarks for viewers via Microsoft Teams.

    “Creating the Future is the theme for National Engineers Week this year and my hope is these women’s stories spark your interest in engineering and are the catalyst for you to start your path to this rewarding field. Yes, there will be challenges, but I have no doubt that with passion in your heart, you will be able to achieve your goals just like the women you see here,” Kraynik said.

    Rhonda Hart, the chief engineer for the Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC), was the guest speaker for the occasion.

    “When I was growing up, you didn’t see a lot of women in technical fields…There was a whole mindset of what was girls’ things to do and what was boys’ things to do … For example, if my dad was out tinkering on the car it was my brothers who were out there holding the flashlight,” Hart said. “It’s not that I wanted to be out there holding the flashlight and having my dad yelling at me that I wasn’t doing it right like he was doing to my brothers, it was more along the lines that I didn’t like being told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. It didn’t sit right with me.”

    Her father was apprehensive about Hart’s career choice at first, but his doubts were quickly erased after being able to see her skill firsthand as part of an elective college course.

    “The first elective I took in college was a welding elective ... my father was a welder, he wasn’t keen on this and he thought this was some little adventure and I would come to my senses. When I took the elective and started to weld beads on plated metal, I would send samples to him and the first time he saw the samples he was a convert, he was on my side all the way,” Hart said.

    Winning people over became a theme for the Michigan native as she quickly earned the respect of her colleagues who then became advocates for her whenever she was wrongfully dismissed.

    “Sometimes people would call you on the phone from the ship and say that they needed help … and they would keep repeating it not believing the woman on the line could help them. So I turn to the senior chief engineer who sat next to me and said ‘he doesn’t want my help he wants yours,’” Hart said.

    She continued, “I tell this story because when he picked up the phone and the other guy would say again that he needed help, he said ‘the person you want to talk to is Rhonda Hart’… that senior chief had my back, he believed in me, and he supported me. You find support no matter what the circumstances are in unexpected places. People want you to succeed and even when it doesn’t feel that way, people are in your corner.”

    Hart made sure to give the students some words of encouragement as she closed her speech.

    “There are engineers for everything out there … If you want to save the planet and you want to pursue environmental engineering or alternate energy then that’s your pursuit … Follow your passion. It really is true that if you do something you love it doesn’t feel like work,” Hart said. “If I can tell the younger me what I know today I would say ‘if I’m the only one that looks like this in the room, then I belong.’”

    There was also a Q&A session during the event with a panel that consisted of NSWCPD engineers Makayla Holt, Tania Teissonniere-Almodovar, Chelsea Kpodi, and Laura Loehle.

    NSWCPD’s Propulsion, Power & Auxiliary Machinery Department Head Karen Dunlevy Miller provided the event’s closing remarks for the audience filled with the next generation of women engineers.

    “Be proud to stand out in the audience. I came from an all-girls high school so maybe you’re going to feel uncomfortable at first in your college classes, being one of the few women, but I challenge you to embrace that opportunity to stand out … Let Ms. Hart and our panel be shining examples that talented, hard-working women will overcome any obstacles and continue breaking glass ceilings,” Dunlevy Miller said.

    NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.23.2023
    Date Posted: 03.15.2023 08:58
    Story ID: 440368
    Location: US

    Web Views: 149
    Downloads: 0

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