Santee Cooper Celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Four disciplines have been the foundation of innovation and discovery throughout human history and are key factors to the advancement of civilization: science, technology, engineering and math – also known as STEM. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the importance of gender equality and the unique challenges girls face in the world of science, technology and innovation and declared Feb. 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to promote the empowerment of females everywhere.
As an electric and water utility, Santee Cooper understands how important it is to recruit a diverse workforce that specializes in the STEM fields. Santee Cooper employs numerous women in engineering, biological and environmental sciences, technology services, and generation operations. I am honored to introduce you to two inspiring women who are making large strides in their respected STEM fields and took the time to answer questions about why they chose to enter their career field and encourage young girls to pursue a career in STEM: Susan Jackson and Casey Moorer.
Q: What is your specific career area of STEM?
Susan: I have a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and am licensed as a professional environmental engineer.
Casey: My area is science – specifically biology and lake management.
Q: Why did you choose your STEM field?
Susan: I have always had a passion for science and been a bit of a geek. I started college studying biology and quickly realized I liked figuring out how and why things worked, so I was encouraged to switch to mechanical engineering by other engineers.
Casey: I have enjoyed the sciences since I was a child. It only seemed natural to pursue a career in a field I enjoyed and excelled at.
Q: What encouraged you to pursue a career in your STEM field? Did anyone inspire you?
Susan: The career paths of my parents and most other family members were either scientists, engineers or educators. We were all “environmentalists” well before it was the “in thing,” whether it was through recycling, scientific hands-on experiments, or simply appreciating nature. I don’t think I even considered a non-STEM career path. I’ve been inspired by so many people (parents, teachers, peers) and that inspiration continues, so I have a personal goal to inspire others.
Casey: I have always enjoyed being outdoors and working in a scientific field. I also like working with people, so I sought out a career that would allow both. Working in lake management provides me with the opportunity to work in a field I enjoy while interacting with our community. There have been a select few of my colleagues that I consider mentors. While lake management is a male-dominated industry, a few gentlemen encouraged and supported me along the way.
Q: What do you look forward to the most for the future of your STEM field?
Susan: I look forward to making a lasting difference or improvement in the world. I love to see how STEM fields are reshaping our world and solving severe environmental problems. Take the problem of plastics not being recycled and ending up in the oceans killing wildlife. Now, emerging methods for producing low-cost, biodegradable plastics offers a solution to this problem. Without STEM education, this wouldn’t be happening.
Casey: Lake management is a growing industry. I look forward to the research and technology being developed to help us better manage the most important resource, WATER!
Q: What inspirational message would you give young girls to inspire them to pursue a STEM career?
Susan: You don’t have to be a straight “A” math student to pursue, and then truly enjoy, a career in STEM. Be confident in yourself and your ability to learn.
Casey: Even though there is a lot of talk about women entering STEM careers, don’t focus on the gender gap. Focus your time and effort on excelling in your chosen field. The day will come when you won’t notice you’re the only woman at the table, and neither will anyone else.