Penn College students attend leadership conference for women in construction
Two construction management majors at Pennsylvania College of Technology attended the recent Women in Construction Leadership Seminar at Kiewit Corp.’s headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
Lauren S. Herr, of Lititz, and Juliann M. Reazor, of Schuylkill Haven, applied to participate in the all-expenses-paid trip designed to develop the leadership skills of collegiate women. They were among 36 women from throughout the United States selected to attend the Sept. 29-30 event, sponsored by one of the largest and most respected construction, mining and engineering organizations operating in North America and Australia.
“Both Lauren and Juliann were prime candidates for an opportunity like this,” said Wayne R. Sheppard, assistant professor and construction management department head. “They are examples of how gender doesn’t matter; it is all about your passion, intelligence and work ethic.”
The two days were filled with presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities. The women toured Kiewit University, dedicated to enhancing the knowledge and skills of employees.
They also participated in a “Shark Tank”-style activity, during which they were charged with creating an activity that would encourage other women and girls to consider entering the construction field.
“Kiewit delivered a quality program that encouraged and inspired the next generation of women in construction. Industry support is vital to the success of a diverse workforce,” said Carol A Lugg, assistant dean of construction and design technologies. “I look forward to working with Lauren and Juliann as we develop programming that inspires high school-aged girls to consider a career in construction.”
Herr and Reazor will report to Kiewit on their proposed activity — including regular follow-up by conference call — and plan to implement their event in conjunction with Women in Construction Week, to be observed at Penn College in March.
“My biggest take-away was the presentation that demonstrated that men tend to overestimate their abilities and women tend to underestimate their abilities, yet the outcome is of the same quality,” said Reazor, who added that the program encouraged them to recognize their own strengths and the unique capabilities they will bring to the workforce.
Herr, who took a break from a busy Wildcat soccer schedule to attend the event, said she was challenged with the question, “How are you a role model if you’re trying to blend in?”
“I was reminded of the importance of standing out and taking pride in my abilities, and that my different opinions and views are valued in the workplace,” she said.