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Today’s Students Mentor Tomorrow’s ‘Women in Construction’

Girls in ninth through 12 grades visited Pennsylvania College of Technology on Friday for a hands-on exploration of careers in construction and design.

The daylong “Framing Your Future” event introduced 42 participants to the industry’s vast career opportunities; included a networking lunch with guest speaker Angie (Martinozzi) Moore, a May 2015 construction management alumna and an assistant project manager at Wickersham Construction & Engineering Inc. in Lancaster; and provided a dialogue with current college students.

A new generation of industry leaders poses for a PDC portrait.
A new generation of industry leaders poses for a PDC portrait.

“The girls I worked with showed interest and enthusiasm and they have the potential to be industry leaders,” said Katherine L. Mertes, of Williamsport, enrolled in the residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration. “It’s important that we continue to reinforce the opportunities to work in the industry, from the trades to management.”

Kayla A. Gerhart, a Built Environment Scholar and building construction technology major from East Earl, said, “You have to make the connection. I shared with them my experiences about the first time I picked up a hammer, and they seemed to be put at ease.”

The day was organized by construction management majors Lauren S. Herr, of Lititz, and Juliann M. Reazor, of Schuylkill Haven, and students in the newly formed Penn College Women in Construction club helped coordinate the activities.

“Witnessing a high school girl’s face light up when her nail finally made it straight into a 2×4 and pronouncing ,’I did it!’ was amazing,” Herr said. “‘Framing Your Future’ is such a special event to me because it encourages and enlightens young girls on the opportunities in construction. More importantly, not to be intimidated but actually intrigued by the industry.”

Large-group sessions rotated among labs for architecture/sustainable design, building construction and (with the assistance of Marc E. Bridgens, assistant professor of HVAC technology) plumbing. In addition to the etiquette lunch, each girl was given an event T-shirt and a backpack containing a packet of college information.

“I’ve always thought of working in construction and design, and today’s event helped me see more clearly my options,” Milton ninth-grader Sarah Aikey said. “I loved the hands-on activities and the way everyone seems to know each other. The Penn College students were very good teachers!”

Shane Schreck, a drafting instructor in the Milton district and one of five high school teachers attending, added, “I want all the students to experience as much as they can, regardless of gender. It’s important they find a career that they love.”

– Photos by Rachel A. Eirmann, student photographer, and Carol A. Lugg, dean of construction and design technologies





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