EPA Women in Science Inspire the Next Generation

By Katie Lubinsky

Who says that science and engineering fields are only for men? Women are found in all types of scientific fields and producing top-notch and significant work, especially here at EPA! June is the month to celebrate all of the many past and present women scientists and engineers. I have met with many women EPA scientists and engineers and learned all about how they reach out to schools in order to promote science and their own scientific research to students.

Being part of the Scientists at Work series, Dr. Gayle Hagler, an EPA environmental engineer, is part of EPA’s Geospatial Monitoring of Air Pollution (GMAP) project. She drives an electric, zero-emissions vehicle around that sucks in air near roadways to study the amounts and types of traffic-related air pollutants. Check out a recently released video about her research: http://www.epa.gov/airscience/air-highwayresearch.htm.

Gayle also takes part in some of the EPA’s outreach activities that are coordinated by Kelly Leovic, another great female environmental engineer here at EPA. Gayle recently developed a fun air pollution measurement demo and joined the team of EPA volunteers at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. She also recently supported a special outreach event for girls in science — teaching high school girls about studying air pollution.

As part of the Citizen Schools program in Durham, N.C., Dr. Rebecca Dodder, a physical scientist, and Carol Lenox, an environmental engineer, joined forces to create a stellar after-school “apprenticeship” on energy and the environment for sixth-grade students. During one class, the students built solar ovens from pizza boxes and then enjoyed cooking s’mores while learning about the benefits of solar power. This is all, of course, side work to their main jobs as EPA researchers who are modeling future scenarios for energy use and environmental impacts (air pollution emissions, water use, etc.).

These are just a few of the brilliant women scientists and engineers working at the EPA. Their commitment to reaching out to schools and communities helps promote science fields to future women scientists, and their research and work influences the scientific world overall. I am honored to have met these and other EPA women scientists and engineers.

About the author: Katie Lubinsky is a student contractor working with EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

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