Celebrating Women’s History Month at MDG

Article by Jennifer Oliver |   March 29, 2021

We celebrate this month to remind ourselves of the many accomplishments of women throughout history, in addition to giving us a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change.

We asked some of our very own MDG engineers about women in history that may have been a source of inspiration to pursue a career in science or engineering – below are a few stories we would like to share.

Emily Stauffer, Mechanical Engineer, Bangor Office

Marie Curie stands out as a source of inspiration for me. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two of them in different categories. She is remembered for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her huge contribution to the fight against cancer. Her invention of the portable x-ray machine (called Little Curies) during WWI saved a lot of lives. She built these x-ray machines and recruited other women to help her bring them to the frontlines to teach doctors and nurses how to use them on wounded soldiers. Her influence is so significant that my husband and I have chosen to name our daughter, who will be arriving very soon, after her. Her name will be Lillian Curie.

Eric Hultgren, Director of Power and Energy, South Kingstown Office

My older sister, Gretchen Barnes, inspired me to study and pursue a career in engineering. Gretchen studied mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I loved visiting her on campus and was always amazed about what she was working on. Her enthusiasm was contagious and that solidified my desire to become an engineer. When I finished graduate school, I was fortunate enough to work with her. For over 20 years, she was one of my top technical and programmatic sounding boards. After all these years she still inspires me to keep growing and learning both personally and professionally. Love you Gretchen.

Kayla Rasavanh, Mechanical Engineering Intern, Honolulu Office

There is not a specific woman in history that has inspired me to pursue a career in engineering. My source of inspiration to pursue engineering came from a few of my fellow female lacrosse teammates and the advice they gave me. I was in between majors, and they were both studying mechanical engineering. The curriculum and their internships sounded really exciting to me, so I decided to try it out. Both have now graduated and are working, one at an environmental engineering firm, and the other is a nuclear engineer. The field of mechanical engineering is dominated by men, and because of that, women are able to create a community within one another. Watching my friends lead successful careers and knowing there is always someone who has my back and wants me to succeed is what inspires me to keep going. 

Whether an 18th century two-time Nobel Prize winning scientist, or a few influential people in your life that champion your accomplishments, there is inspiration that can be found all around us. Inspiration can propel a person from apathy to possibility. Here at MDG we wanted to recognize a few of our colleagues and their sources of inspiration – it is our talented employee base that makes this company such a unique place to work, thank you Emily, Eric, and Kayla for sharing your stories with us!