RALEIGH – The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The stories below are also featured in
NCDOT Now, the department's weekly newscast.
NCDOT Celebrates, Honors Women's History Month
March is International Women's History Month and NCDOT is taking the opportunity to celebrate women in transportation.
Much of transportation's history is dominated by men. However, there are significant moments in transportation that women forged. NCDOT continues to celebrate the accomplishments of pioneering women, like:
Emily Brown Blount. Blount joined NCDOT in 1960 and became the state's first female licensed professional engineer.
Wilma M. Sherrill, who in 1990 made history as the first woman to be named the
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles commissioner.
Sandra A. Stepney, former transportation engineer manager in the
Rail Division's Engineering Coordination & Safety Unit who retired in 2018 after leading the Rail Division's Planning & Development Branch.
The first woman to reach the role of division engineer,
Karen Collette, paved the way for more women to pursue this position - including
Wanda Austin who was named the department’s second female division engineer last week. She will oversee operations in Division 14, which covers the southwestern part of the state.
NCDOT wants more women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. To help make that happen, the department is bringing together a group of the agency's women engineers from across the state for a
series of roundtable discussions. The discussions will be aimed at identifying ways to encourage more females to seek STEM-related career paths.
The group also will tackle the impacts of the pandemic, advice for girls and young women who wish to pursue a STEM career, and how to overcome possible barriers to pursue those dreams. The co-hosts for the series are N.C. Board of Transportation members
Valerie Jordan and
Not only does a series like this bring a collective voice to these engineers, but it also allows the department the opportunity to shine a light on the contributions women have made to the state's transportation system.
The department will use edited sections of the roundtable discussions to engage with school, technology, workforce development, and corporate entities that work to advance conversations and programming around STEM and diversity. You can find the video series on the department's
YouTube channel and
social media pages.