The ERE Club hosted a panel discussion November 15, 2017, featuring current ERE graduate student Meghan Mussehl, who studied engineering at the all women's Smith College (with work experience between and throughout); ERE Advisory Council Chair and ERE alumna Meghan Platt, a recent ERE alumna; Kiana Morse, and ESF GPES alumna Hayley Effler, who both work for local engineering firms; and SU alumna Meghan Gilbert, who works for the DEC. Questions were drafted by ERE Club President Isabelle Horvath, who moderated the panel. ERE Chair Ted Endreny welcomed the panelists, introduced and thanked Ms. Horvath, and then stepped out to encourage more candid discussion.
Panelists echoed the empowerment brunch’s mention of the importance of mentors, strong role models, and people who told them they could do it. Each of the panel shared instances where their recommendations were discounted until reiterated by a male colleague or supervisor, one sharing the this came more from within an organization with the common refrain “are you sure? Did you do enough research?” while male colleagues similar recommendation would be accepted without those questions. They have been catcalled on jobsites. Gilbert returned the workforce after “off-ramping” to care for one of her children; Platt went part-time to better balance work and family, and notes that part-time options have become more common, without the “you won’t go anywhere” stigma that used to come with that. She notes that men also use the flex-time options. Others shared that particularly in private firms, that with laptops and cell phones, there is quite a bit of work that can be taken home (DEC was the exception; all work must be done on DEC computers, phones, cameras, as they are subject to seizure through FOIL). Their closing advice to the students: say it with authority, believe in yourself, find yourself a mentor.