Women in Industry discussion

Panel discussion explores opportunities for women in local industry

Panel discussion explores opportunities for women in local industry

Wed Feb 5, 2020

Panel Discussion

Brazosport College’s Chemical Technology Division recently held a “Women In Industry” panel discussion for students at the College’s Gator Hall. The panelists were representatives of process operations, instrumentation, safety, health and environment and laboratory technicians. Pictured are Stacey Berndt, BASF; Kristen Hedrick, Dow; Deanna Lambert, Dow; Anjelica Runk, Chevron Phillips; Shannon Henry, Dow; Sophia Vargas, BASF; Kathleen Kidd Cox, Dow; and Crystal Reyes, Dow.

The Brazosport College Chemical Technology Division recently hosted a “Women in Industry” panel discussion with representatives from a variety of careers, including process operations, instrumentation, safety, health and environment and laboratory technicians. 

The event, which was held Jan. 28 at Brazosport College’s Gator Hall, provided opportunities for current chemical, Instrument and safety technology students to explore other women’s experiences in these male-dominated careers. Through the discussion, students were able to take away valuable advice in creating a similar path.

“Students need to connect with other women for support and advice as they begin their career in this male-dominated industry,” said Beth Cassidy, Director of Workforce Development, Brazosport College. “Students must understand that whether male or female, they must be persistent in applying for jobs, be willing to ask for help when needed, but ready to work as a team player even in challenging circumstances.”  

The event was organized by Jennifer Kennon, who is the College/Industry Coordinator for the Physical Sciences & Process Technologies Division at Brazosport College, with support from multiple companies throughout Brazoria County, including representatives from BASF, Chevron Phillips and Dow. 

Even though the male-dominated world of construction has become more "female friendly" over the last few decades, the numbers still show that women are underrepresented in the industry as a whole. Women represent 57 percent of the total U.S. workforce and only 9.9 percent of the construction industry, according to labor board reports. Similarly, a 2019 labor board report shows that women represent 47 percent of industry, with less than 30 percent employed in chemical and oil refining products. As the oil and construction industry continue to struggle in meeting its workforce needs, it’s no longer viable for these companies to depend on predominantly male talent to meet demand.

“These industries offer tremendous programs to attract and retain talent,” Cassidy said. “With the current job demands, and above average pay, opportunities abound for women.”

During the event, students were also invited to participate in the fifth-annual Women In Industry Conference on March 20 at the Moody Garden Conference Center in Galveston. This event is geared toward high school students exploring these careers, college students wanting to connect with industry representatives and women searching for career changes. 

An especially valuable resource at this event will be women currently employed in industry who are ready to network with and mentor other women coming into the industry.  

For more information on the Women In Industry conference, contact Beth Cassidy at (979) 230.3153 or at beth.cassidy@brazosport.edu.