With March recognizing Women’s History, I would like to take a moment and recognize the contributions women have and are making in the energy sector. One such pioneer was Edith Clarke (1883-1959) who advanced electrical engineering concepts and invented the Clarke calculator. Today, we need leaders more than ever. Energy development and security are critical to our economic development and prosperity. Protecting the Nation’s critical energy infrastructure from all hazards, especially cybersecurity, requires bright, committed people who are passionate about driving innovation.

We all must encourage women to develop careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Bringing people together, raising awareness of the importance of STEM, and providing support and opportunities to those interested in moving into professional careers are vital activities being pursued by numerous organizations around the country.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure and honor of speaking at events hosted by some of the organizations promoting STEM within the energy workforce. While there are so many more women pursuing careers in engineering and other STEM fields now than there were when I was in college, that growth must continue to be promoted at every juncture, beginning in elementary school. Girls must learn from their teachers, families, schools, friends, and others that they have the talent and ability to pursue the most challenging fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Speakers at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Winter Summit in Washington, D.C. February 2018.
Speakers at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Winter Summit in Washington, D.C. February 2018.
Arizona Public Service

In Feburary during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Winter Summit here in Washington, DC, I talked about some of the lessons that I’ve learned during my career at a “Women in Energy: Embrace Ambition” event celebrating the advancement of women in leadership positions in the energy industry. I joined Ellen Nowak, Chair of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin; Katrina McMurrian, Executive Director of the Critical Consumer Issues Forum; and Colette Honorable, Commissioner Emeritus of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Here at the Department of Energy, our mission depends on the minds and talents of everyone working across DOE’s National Labs, sites, and offices. To that end, as a Department, we are investing in STEM outreach and our future STEM workforce. To learn more about the Department’s coordinated national platform called STEM Rising, visit energy.gov. Also, be sure to check out the Women @ Energy Series (www.energy.gov/womeninstem) which has more than 300 profiles of women in STEM at Energy, their personal stories of what drew them to a STEM career, their tips for others looking to enter their field of work, and advice for engaging underrepresented communities in STEM fields. 

Patricia A. Hoffman
Acting Assistant Secretary Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Electricity
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