STEAM is at the heart of our business, and we’re passionate about supporting and developing the next generation of innovators by helping young students see themselves in STEAM.
As part of Jacobs’ International Women in Engineering (INWED) celebrations, we’ve connected with several women throughout the company to better understand their work, how it supports our commitment to STEAM and representation and what they envision for the future of STEAM.
Meet Monica Morales, Dawn Pinto and Rebecca Scott:
What's one thing that you wish people knew about STEAM?
Monica: I wish students knew that you don’t have to be a genius to be in STEAM, but rather that it’s helpful if you like to solve puzzles and don’t mind a bit of hard (mental) work. I wish that people knew my job as a Water Resources Engineer is quietly making it possible for people get clean drinking water continuously to their homes without complications.
Dawn: To be successful in these fields you need to have the technical skills but interacting and working as a team is also extremely critical. The stereotype tends to be an introverted person with a green visor with their calculator sitting in a corner — and that can’t be further from reality!
Rebecca: STEAM is an approach to teaching and learning that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to inspire curiosity, critical thinking, imagination and creativity. STEAM encourages us to explore and solve problems with questions and experiments. We need all sorts of different experiences, careers paths and points of view to solve the worlds most complex problems. It’s never too late to get involved in STEAM — it’s not just for young people!
What would you tell someone who might not think they are cut out for STEAM?
Rebecca: STEAM means learning how to learn, coming up with new ideas and solving problems. Although as adults we learn differently from children, we can all benefit from learning opportunities that spark our imagination and help us think about things from a new point of view.
Monica: I would ask them about some puzzles they recently solved, if they enjoyed them, and then ask them why they didn’t think they were cut out for STEAM despite loving to solve puzzles. There is a place for everyone in STEAM who loves to solve a good puzzle!
Dawn: We have computers, so you don’t need to know how to do everything in your head. If you like solving problems and making things better, STEAM jobs will be so fulfilling for you.
If you could tell your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
Dawn: Schooling isn’t everything; you need different experiences to be successful.
Rebecca: You are a fabulous bundle of creative energy. Keep telling yourself you can, and you will!
Monica: That despite being the first in her family to go to college and coming from a low-income family, and despite engineering being a notoriously difficult major, that she’d earn a master’s degree in civil engineering with a stellar GPA and get her dream job soon after, helping positively impact millions of people’s lives through her work.
I would follow that by telling her that she should keep at it — despite the first bad grade she’ll get on her first Physics exam, for which she should see her engineering counselor who will give her amazing advice on how to get a good grade in that same Physics class — and enjoy the process, despite being one of the few that look like her in her classes.
Tell us about representation in STEAM and why it matters.
Monica: If we better represent the diverse public we serve, we will create better solutions for that diverse public and the easier it will be for them to trust our solutions.
Dawn: It’s so important to have female representation and different cultures because we all think differently. When you’re trying to solve a tough problem you need to look at it from different angles and determine the best way forward.
Rebecca: I was affected by a lack of role models growing up — I didn’t feel like I belonged and I struggled to fit in. Today I’m delighted to see more representation and I feel inspired to encourage others and future generations. If you can see it, you can be it!
How do you think STEAM careers will shape the future of our planet?
Rebecca: STEAM careers are varied, wonderful, inclusive and there are opportunities for everyone. Inclusion means innovation. Innovation means finding global solutions. They say it takes a village to raise a child; well, it is going to take our world village full of STEAM thinkers and doers to save our planet. Start by checking out “The Butterfly Effect” a free program designed to help students put sustainability at the heart of every decision they make. STEAM means YOU!
Monica: STEAM careers have historically developed the functions of our society by providing a means of shelter, methods to travel and access to food and water. They’ve provided for the basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and will continue to improve upon people’s safety so that they can continue to focus on the top tier needs, such as love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. In an idealistic perspective, STEAM careers can make the future even more connected, positively impacting our earth and enable people to make time for what they love to do the most while living long, healthy and fulfilling lives.
About the interviewees
Monica Morales is a Water Resources Engineer for Jacobs physically based in its Reno, Nevada office, while remotely working on many challenging water projects helping fight future droughts in Southern California.
Rebecca Scott is part of the Jacobs Women’s Network global steering committee as co-chair for talent engagement & development, an ambassador for Harambee focused on recruitment and retention of black talent and a proud active member of Prism (LGBTQIA+), focused on client collaborations and intersectionality. What she finds most rewarding is the chance to demonstrate, promote and support Jacobs' Inclusion & Diversity approach. She is very proud to be able to share and support Jacobs continuous development in this area and to see the difference it is making with our employees, clients and partners.
Dawn Pinto serves at Jacobs’ Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Critical Mission Solutions (CMS) and Divergent Solutions where she oversees CMS Finance and Accounting and serves on the CMS Executive Leadership Team as well as the Corporate Finance Leadership Team. Dawn brings more than 20 years of experience supporting government contractors and commercial businesses in the finance field. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two rambunctious boys and enjoys traveling, baking and professional football.
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