OSU Institute of Technology will host the annual Women in Technology conference Friday, Nov. 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the OSUIT campus, 1801 E. 4th St., in Okmulgee.
The free one-day event, aimed at female high school students and women interested in making a career change, is focused on the numerous opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that are open and available to women.
A highlight of the conference will be a panel discussion featuring three women in leadership roles within the energy sector who are members of the Women’s Energy Network.
Panelists include WEN’s North Texas Chapter President Diana Frazier, vice president of integrated asset management for Holland Services LLC in Fort Worth, Texas; Mary Curliss Patton, membership director co-chairwoman of the North Texas Chapter of WEN and a registered petroleum engineer with the state of Texas; and Freese and Nichols facility engineer Patricia Stamatoyannakis, a WEN member and OSU alumna.
“Having a panel allows us to demonstrate the breadth of opportunities for women, with multi-faceted points of view from each of the three women answering questions from our participants,” said Dr. Ina Agnew, vice president for Student Services at OSUIT. “Our panelists are prepared to share their career tracks and trajectories, and the participants will see there’s more than one career path to success in traditionally male-dominated fields.”
OSUIT’s energy-related programs such as Pipeline Integrity, Power Plant Technology and Natural Gas Compression have become vital to their respective industries and are growing on the Okmulgee campus.
“Our industry partners are demanding highly skilled female technicians,” Agnew said. “We have a number of programs at OSUIT that lead to careers represented by the Women’s Energy Network, whose mission is to educate, attract, retain and develop professional women.”
In addition to the question and answer panel discussion, participants also choose one of seven interactive career tracks that each explore two different programs or divisions offered at OSUIT.
Career tracks include: Body Mobility & Civil Engineering (Orthotics & Prosthetics and Civil Engineering Technology); Creative Design & Diesel Engines (Visual Communications and Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technology); Driving Education (Automotive Technologies and Pre-Education); Energy Resources (Pipeline Integrity Technology and Natural Gas Compression); Food & Manufacturing (School of Culinary Arts and Manufacturing Technology); Powering Health (Power Plant Technology and Allied Health Sciences); and Time to Chill (School of Watchmaking and Construction Technology)
The number of career tracks more than doubled from last year to accommodate the growth of the event, Agnew said.
“We’ve seen an exponential increase in the number of women interested in participating in this program. We had to turn away more than 100 students last year because we didn’t have enough room,” she said. “Educators see the value of this program and they bring their students. Women interested in a career change see the value and want to explore their options.”
Organizers purposely pair programs that don’t seem to go together naturally so that attendees get a broader knowledge of their career possibilities, Agnew said.
“The whole point of this program is to get people out of their comfort zone and to explore an opportunity they would not otherwise consider,” she said. “They may sign up for culinary arts because it’s a more traditional female career, and then they get a taste of manufacturing, working with complex robotics and programming.”
The goal of Women in Technology is for teenage girls and women to think outside the traditional female box and consider different career paths.
“We want them to know that they have a ton of options and they aren’t limited to the stereotypical female-appropriate careers,” Agnew said. “Female trailblazers have made it possible for women to succeed in many different industries and professions.”
For more about Women in Technology or to register go to the Women in Technology event page contact Sable Wise, special events coordinator, at 918.293.5220.