With only around 30 percent of female students selecting STEM-related fields in higher education, Golder joins UNESCO, UN-Women, and the global community in recognizing February 11, 2021 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science with the goal of inspiring women and girls to become more engaged in the world of science.
The theme of this year’s day is “Women Scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19” and is focused on gathering together experts working in fields related to the pandemic from different parts of the world.
To mark this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are highlighting the amazing women on the Golder team who have been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19.
Adelmarie Bones – Senior Industrial Hygienist
I have a bachelor’s degree in biology with focus in microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico. While working on my bachelor’s, I was part of a research team studying Aspergillus infections in sea fans along the coast of Puerto Rico. This work sparked my interest in microbiology and that experience landed me in the field of Industrial Hygiene. I decided to further my studies in Industrial Hygiene and obtained a Master of Science degree in Public Health with a concentration in Industrial Hygiene from the University of South Florida
My educational background has enabled me to support the fight against COVID-19. Given my specialization in microbiology, viruses are a part of that biota. Besides working in laboratories for more than 7 years, my educational background was founded on understanding the behavior and infectious properties from bacterial, viral, and fungal agents. In fact, when I learned about this outbreak, I opened my copy of “Molecular Biology of the Cell” and found coronavirus right there on day one. By looking at the morphology and infectious properties I was able to understand what we were going to be battling.
Women should be involved in STEM careers because I think we are smart, and women are not intimidated by challenges. We like to get the answer even if it’s difficult to obtain it. Science challenges you in that way, and you need to work to find the truth.
For women and girls who are interested in a STEM field like mine, I tell them that it is fascinating, challenging and always changing. Being an Industrial Hygienist in 2021 is not going to be the same in 2031. You will be challenged with new trends, challenges, lifestyles, evolution. There is always going to be something new to learn.
Lara Bucklew – Practice Leader, Houston Digital Solutions Group
I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown College, with a double major Environmental Science and Biology and a minor in chemistry. I have also received an executive MBA and have completed post graduate work in M&A as well as conflict resolution.
While I am currently a practice area leader for our digital solutions group, I was a working industrial hygienist in healthcare for 11 years. My IH work, combined with my educational background, and my work in epidemiology and infection prevention enabled me to support our team with COVID-19 awareness and messaging.
For women and girls who are interested in a STEM field like mine, I believe women belong everywhere men work. Period. If you are wondering whether you can work in the sciences, I have one simple response: “Yes, you can!”
Jody McKeown, EHS Management and Compliance Auditor
I graduated from the University of Guelph Environmental Engineering Co-op program in 1999. At that time, Guelph was one of very few universities in Canada with a dedicated Environmental Engineering program. Most Engineering schools only offered Civil Engineering with an Environmental option or required you to double major. That graduating class of Environmental Engineering students was also over 55% women which was not common at most Engineering schools in Canada at that time.
Although my education was in environmental engineering, during my career I have also worked in the health and safety consulting field. Currently I support clients by offering Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) compliance and management system services including identification of EHS legal requirements, auditing as well as EHS program development. When the COVID-19 outbreak started, several clients with manufacturing and distribution capabilities quickly reached out for Golder’s help to identify and learn about the EHS regulatory requirements surrounding the production, storage, and distribution of hand sanitizer (i.e., a flammable liquid). Both the Canadian and US governments were rapidly amending and making exemptions to regulations to support the immediate increase of the production and distribution of hand sanitizer. We were able to support these clients with updates on current regulatory expectations, while also considering the rapidly changing day-to-day situation.
When I speak to women and girls who are interested in STEM career, I relay to them that careers in science and engineering allow you to take the baseline knowledge you acquired in school and grow and evolve that knowledge in any direction you wish to pursue over time. This is an exciting field for women as it allows you take on challenges and new areas of interest as each new opportunity comes along.
For women who have chosen a career in science, I would tell them they have made the right decision by entering a field that is forever growing and changing all the time. If they are willing to continually seek new opportunities and take on new challenges, they will never be bored.
Renae Mayo, Principal, Global Director, HSSE
I have a Bachelor of Science (Technology), as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, and a Masters HSc in Environmental Management, Masters HSc in OHS and Organisational Behaviour.
As Golder’s Global Director for Health, Safety, Security & Environment, our COVID-19 response was my team’s priority. My educational background prepared me well. My first job out of university was as a microbiologist in a manufacturing plant so it feels like I have been developing systems and processes to avoid adverse health effects from day one!
For women and girls who are interested in a STEM career, I believe science and technology are areas that have so much growth and collaboration associated with them. You are always looking for new ways of doing things to continually get better. While we sometimes look at these roles as being jobs behind a desk or in a laboratory, they can offer so much more.
When I speak to young women about science careers, I think of my own family. My 11-year-old daughter is really interested in veterinary science, and we often have conversations about her becoming a veterinarian one day. Although she sometimes shies away because it seems so complex, I remind her that while science and technology can seem daunting, the work is incredibly fun and rewarding. My career has taken me all over the world — at 24 years of age I was living in the Gobi Desert on an exploration camp. For any young woman — like my daughter — who is looking at STEM, I can confirm that science can open so many doors for you.