Published March 3, 2017
It was anything but a typical morning meetup for students in UB’s Women in Science and Engineering program. The group, known as WiSE, offers a weekly program of events and Thursday’s session was advertised as an industry Q&A with female engineers from the New York Power Authority (NYPA).
It started out as planned, with Kaela Mainsah, Melissa Douce and April Contreras from NYPA talking with UB students about what it’s like to be a female engineer in the power industry and offering some tips for success.
About halfway through the discussion, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stopped by to join in and offer her encouragement to the women about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.
“Part of my job as lieutenant governor is to work on economic development — in other words, job creation,” said Hochul. “I believe that there are so many opportunities in the fields of engineering, science and computing and that we need to encourage more women to do what you are already doing.”
Hochul talked about the importance of taking time to serve as mentors to younger women and to build on their friendships with other women for support.
“It’s tough out there. You need to have confidence and always remember that you are smart and have a lot to offer,” she said.
Hochul is visiting schools, roundtables and other events to learn from women in technology fields on how they have successfully broken barriers in male-dominated fields.
WiSE is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The program offers a number of activities for female students, staff and faculty, such as support, mentorship, networking opportunities and skill enhancement.