Jennifer Ogle’s Day at the White House

It was only a few weeks ago that Dr. Jennifer Ogle, WTS International member and member of the Transportation YOU 2012 DC Youth Summit team, was nominated and selected as a “Champion of Change” for a special White House roundtable panel specifically gathered to discuss the engagement and support of girls and women in STEM studies.  But the time to head to DC came upon Jennifer pretty fast, and the trip to Washington and the day”s events went by like a whirlwind!

Thursday night, December 8, Jennifer flew in to DC and spent the evening and the next morning prepping final exams for her students at Clemson University in South Carolina where she’s and associate professor of civil engineering. When the scheduled time came on Friday, December 9, she headed to the White House for the day’s events only to discover that she and her fellow Champions weren’t on the security roster. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for the group to get some quality time together and get to know each other a little before they were allowed in and the breakout sessions quickly began.

There were three different breakout sessions: 1. RETAINING Women in STEM, 2. MENTORING women in STEM, and 3. RECRUITING Women in STEM. Jennifer was asked to participate in the first session regarding retaining women in STEM.  “The breakout session was phenomenal. There were women leaders from IBM, Google, Girls Inc., the Society of Women Engineers, ASHTA, and tons more. We were making such great strides in this breakout we went half an hour over our allotted 90 minutes for discussion,” said Jennifer.

After the breakout sessions Jennifer was ushered to photo sessions and then to a briefing about the featured panel discussion. She was wow’ed by the level of individuals that were part of the panel, including the President’s advisor and the Secretary of Finance and Economics. In the end, what was the most important take-saway for Jennifer? “There are so many transportation programs going on around the country that I wasn’t aware of, and I’m excited to bring these ideas and organizations back to WTS and Transportation YOU. We’ve got a lot to look forward to!”

Dr. Jennifer Ogle earned her selection as a Champion of Change with her contributions to WTS and Transportation YOU, which include her stand-out leadership with her efforts to elevate the importance of STEM studies for local young women. The highlight of Jennifer’s work with WTS will culminate this coming spring with the DC Youth Summit, the first meeting of young girls who’ve been partnered with WTS members for mentorship and hands-on programs to solidify their interest in STEM studies and future careers in the transportation industry.

Details about the White House Roundtable and the Champion of Change series can be found HERE.

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