Clemson University leaders set an example for gender equality on International Women’s Day
CLEMSON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Tuesday is International Women’s Day, where we highlight the accomplishments of women and empower them through representation.
Construction and engineering are two fields predominantly populated by men, but at Clemson University, some women in leadership are helping to take the steps toward gender equality.
Stephanie Cooper is the executive director of planning and construction at Clemson.
“There definitely were not a lot of women when I went to architecture school,” Cooper said, “In fact, I remember one of professors telling me that he was glad I was in the studio so that it was less of a locker room.”
Delphine Dean is the Ron and Jane Lindsey Family Innovation Professor of Bioengineering. She says there wasn’t a lot of girl power in her classes either.
“It was, usually, a huge class of 100 and five other women in class,” Dean said.
According to the Census, women make up around 15 percent of engineers. And OSHA says around 10 percent of construction workers are women.
If you didn’t know, the COVID testing system at Clemson University: there’s a woman behind that.
“We’ve done COVID testing for the university and free for the community,” Dean said, “Over the pandemic, we’ve done over one million tests.”
Also, the construction of the new, Daniel Hall: there’s a woman behind that too.
“I oversee all planning and all construction projects on campus,” Cooper said, “That’s everything from a small renovation of a conference room, up to, we’ve got a $130 million science building that we’re working on.”
Both Dean and Cooper hope they are being the change they want to see.
“As a professor, what I want to do is to provide mentorship for young women who want to go into engineering to see there’s others like them,” Dean said.
The goal is to challenge girls to dream bigger.
“Obviously, women are capable of doing anything that they want to do. And there are so many opportunities in construction,” Cooper continues, “I have the ability to serve as a mentor to other women that may not have thought they could get into a position, like I have.”
Other industries where we need more women: farming, truck drivers, managers, pilots, software engineers, and in automotive, to name a few.
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