RPS celebrates the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Part 4)

11.02.19

RPS is excited to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11th. To understand what a career in science offers, we interviewed several staff members. These women use their deep expertise in a variety of sectors to provide complex solutions to our clients and solve challenging problems.

Here are some of their responses:

Juliann Chen, Principal Consultant, Environmental Risk

What inspired you to choose a career in science?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in science. This curiosity, plus having great female science teachers throughout junior and senior high schools helped strengthen my desire to pursue a science degree in college. Then in college, my focus on anatomy, microbiology, and epidemiology really took off after having engaging professors conducting really cool research leading me to pursue a graduate degree in public health, with a focus on environmental health sciences.  

What do you like most about your job?

Three things – collaboration, variety, and the challenge of finding solutions to problems.  I love my job because everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to the mission. This truly creates a family environment where everybody is there for each other. As a consultant, policies and regulations are always changing — always evolving — and I get front row seats helping businesses navigate through these changes. Every day is different and it is a constant adventure.  That feeling of a sense of accomplishment when I am up against a deadline and only have one shot to get it right and it turns out better than imagined is unmatched.

Beth Fitzpatrick, Manager, Environmental Risk

Who has inspired you most?

The list of people who inspire me is very long and includes obvious choices such as family, teachers, scientists, and engineers.  A less obvious choice is Dee Caffari. The first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both direction.  Last year I met Dee Caffari while she was skippering the first mixed gender youth team to compete in a 45,000-mile sailing race around the world.  During the race, her team spread a message of sustainability and collected data on water quality.  I admire that she is working to make her sport more inclusive, highlighting issues that impact ocean health, and challenging herself.         

Why do you think it is important for women and girls to consider careers in science? 

I think it's important for all people to consider a career that makes them feel fulfilled.  Gender should not be a hurdle to pursuing your passion.

Cheryl Horn, Manager, Environmental Risk

What do you like most about your job?

This will sound like a cliché but the answer that comes immediately to mind is the people. I love my co-workers. The second answer I would give relates to the previous question. I like taking a new problem, designing a creative solution in a way that is going to make a client’s life easier, and then organizing the big picture with the help of others here at RPS.

Why do you think it is important for women and girls to consider careers in science?

It is important for women and girls to know that they can and should consider careers in any field that interests them-be that science or anything else. I was literally the only woman in many classes in engineering school. I don’t think this was because other young women at the time weren’t interested in science. I hope the world has evolved since I left school. Can we just let girls know they can do anything they want to do? I hope we are already doing that. Science needs smart people! If we are only appealing to about half of the potential contributors to the future of engineering, technology, and science, we are seriously limiting ourselves as a species. Why would we want to do that?

Jennifer Makino, Consultant III, Environmental Risk

What inspired you to choose a career in science?

I always enjoyed the outdoors when I was a kid. My favorite family vacations included camping and hiking and I would usually end up with a few small rocks in my bag when I got back home. I took a geology class in high school and had a really great teacher that was excited about the subject and made it fun to learn about. After that, I was pretty sure I wanted to go become a geologist.

What do you like most about your job?

I really like the fact that there is a mix of working both in the field and in the office. I didn’t ever want to be cooped up in an office all day.

Why do you think it is important for women and girls to consider careers in science?

I think breaking the gender stereotype that women and science don’t go together is far overdue. If science something that a girl or woman is interested in, they should pursue a career in that field and not be intimidated because it is male dominated. Some of the most incredible scientific research and discoveries are accredited to women.