NNSA Production Office (NPO) General Engineer Christy Drewry is a recipient of the 2021 WE Local Engaged Advocate award from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The national award honors individuals whose contributions have led to the advancement or acceptance of women in engineering.
Drewry is the Lead Safety Basis Engineer assigned to multiple, complex, hazardous nuclear facilities at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12). She also serves as a safety system oversight engineer at Y-12, responsible for ensuring continued safe operating conditions to protect personnel, the public, and the environment. Additionally, she serves as a Federal Team Leader in NNSA’s Radiological Assistance Program.
“I immensely enjoy being an engaged advocate; speaking with people from all disciplines about women in engineering because these conversations often generate questions that are learning opportunities,” Drewry said. “And the dialogue often gets people to ask how they too can support women engineers.”
A committed advocate for women in engineering, Drewry is known for encouraging girls and women to pursue engineering or STEM-related careers and ensuring they receive the backing they need as they begin their journeys. She is known for her support of the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering event held at the Pantex Plant and Y-12, a STEM education conference for girls in grades 8-12, which provides them with career exploration stations and information sessions supported by local women working in STEM fields.
I immensely enjoy being an engaged advocate; speaking with people from all disciplines about women in engineering because these conversations often generate questions that are learning opportunities. And the dialogue often gets people to ask how they too can support women engineers.
Over the past 10 years, she has also served as the SWE counselor for the University of Tennessee, a role that facilitates a connection between the school and professional SWE sections and their members. This collaboration provides networking and coaching opportunities for those in the collegiate SWE section, ensuring students receive foundational support from women working in engineering.
“The networking and coaching ensures women pursuing careers in engineering feel connected to their colleagues and competent in professional settings, which research shows as key components to retaining women in engineering,” Drewry said.
In collaboration with her NPO colleagues, Drewry has also been a part of educational talks, resume reviews, and mock interviews for women pursuing educations in engineering and STEM-related fields.
“In one way or another, my colleagues have given me the opportunity to win this award,” Drewry said. “They have either supported my time commitment to advocate for women in engineering, attended an event and dedicated their time and effort to informing potential students about engineering or sciences, or coached current engineering students to be successful. Some of these activities include resume reviews, mock interview panels, and Introduce a Girl to Engineering events. I truly appreciate their past and future support and efforts related to this very important cause.”
Drewry received the U.S. Department of Energy’s Safety System Oversight Annual Award in 2017, the second woman to have received this honor. She was also recognized by former NNSA Administrator Gen. Frank Klotz (Ret.) for her establishment and leadership of the DASH-2 Employee Leadership Advisory Committee for NNSA, which seeks to elevate the unfiltered employee voice with actionable recommendations that have cross-organizational impacts. Earlier this year, her alma mater, Tennessee Technological University, also recognized her with its College of Engineering 2020 Young Alumna Achievement Award.