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When building a career, mentorship tops this dean’s list

Lester recaps a rewarding professional life that led to her Penn College position – a road that wound from San Diego to Washington, D.C., to New York City en route to Williamsport.
Lester recaps a rewarding professional life that led to her Penn College position – a road that wound from San Diego to Washington, D.C., to New York City en route to Williamsport.
Cementing a community partnership are (from left) Alison A. Diehl, director of Penn College's Clean Energy Center; Duane Hershberger, executive director of Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity; and Lester.
Cementing a community partnership are (from left) Alison A. Diehl, director of Penn College’s Clean Energy Center; Duane Hershberger, executive director of Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity; and Lester.
Among the morning's giveaways, a Pennsylvania-based company's flagship product sweetly salutes women's contributions.
Among the morning’s giveaways, a Pennsylvania-based company’s flagship product sweetly salutes women’s contributions.

The “Women’s Wednesday” program, an Office of Student Engagement-sponsored forum for inspiration from those excelling in traditionally male-dominated fields, kicked off this week with a presentation by the assistant dean of architectural and construction technologies.

Ellyn A. Lester provided the Penn’s Inn audience – which included colleagues from the Clean Energy Center, The Madigan Library and architecture faculty, as well as students  – with a summary of her considerable experience and success.

Stauffer and Ybarra, both of whom were interviewed by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette after the event, make their allegiance clear with sweatshirts espousing the college's "Women in Construction" and "Welding and Fabrication."
Stauffer and Ybarra, both of whom were interviewed by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette after the event, make their allegiance clear with sweatshirts espousing the college’s “Women in Construction” and “Welding and Fabrication.”
Franchesca C. Ybarra (left), majoring in welding and fabrication engineering technology, and Lauryn A. Stauffer, enrolled in automation engineering technology: robotics and automation, were among the students in attendance.
Franchesca C. Ybarra (left), majoring in welding and fabrication engineering technology, and Lauryn A. Stauffer, enrolled in automation engineering technology: robotics and automation, were among the students in attendance.
Maya Lin, whose work includes design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the nation's capital and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., is fittingly celebrated in this tabletop poster.
Maya Lin, whose work includes design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the nation’s capital and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala., is fittingly celebrated in this tabletop poster.

“The relationships I’ve built and the opportunities I’ve had have allowed me to have an amazing career,” she said. “And I’ve been bolstered by the women I’ve met along the way. You’ve still got to perform, you’ve still got to do the work, but support is an important piece of it.”

In fact, “Get a mentor” led Lester’s pointers for women in the labor force. Other tips? “Collaborate, work hard, get involved and be part of the solution.”

The presentation was followed by a wide-ranging conversation among the attendees … who told of the influences in their lives, the frustrations they’ve transcended and their optimistic outlook for a world in which only 11 percent of construction-related positions are filled by females.

Upcoming Wednesday events, scheduled in conjunction with Women’s History Month, will feature the other two assistant deans in the college’s School of Engineering Technologies: Stacey C. Hampton, industrial and computer technologies (3:30-5:30 p.m. March 23; College Avenue Labs, Room 107), and Kathleen D. Chesmel, materials science and engineering technologies (10 a.m.-noon March 30; CC first-floor lounge).

Lester’s presentation was attended by Williamsport Sun-Gazette reporter Pat Crossley, who filed a front-page story for Friday’s editions.

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