WOMEN IN ENGINEERING
A Feature on Kristina Kuraitis Kennedy '92
When your grandmother was in school, if she went to college at all,
it is likely she didn't pursue a major in Math or Science. While the reasons vary, there were three predominant theories why there was a dearth of females in these fields. One was that women were basically assumed to pursue a path leading them to become wives and full-time homemakers. Another was that society thought women were best suited to be in the work force as secretaries, teachers, or nurses. Lastly, parents often indoctrinated their female offspring with the montra that men would be threatened by a woman with brains, view them as nerds, and as a result, not find them appealing for dating, courtship, or marriage.
Perhaps American author, humorist, poet, and wit Dorothy Parker summed it up best with her quote, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."
Efforts to counter this archaic thinking has taken generations and moves at the speed of a glacier because there were also so few role models for girls to emulate.
Ever heard of Ada Lovelace? In 1842, she wrote a computer program for a machine that didn't even exist yet. More than 150 years later, women are still lacking in science fields. Nationally, women now earn close to 60% of bachelor's degrees overall, but only 20% of the degrees in computer science, 20% of those in physics, and 18% of those in engineering according to the New York Times.
Why women still aren't well or equally represented in the sciences (or, more specifically women in science, technology, engineering, and math - STEM) is a complex topic. Efforts to change this discrepancy have led to, among other initiatives, the creation of an International Women in Engineering Day first celebrated in 2017 and most recently last month.
It's all part of an effort to "draw attention to how important women are to engineering, career opportunities for women in engineering, and to celebrate the accomplishments of women in engineering," said Karen Horting, the executive director and CEO of the Society of Women Engineers.
Recently we learned that one of our graduates, Kristina Kuraitis Kennedy '92, a Senior Quality Engineer for Honda, was nominated by company executives to be featured in a video that recognizes and highlights her passion, challenging spirit, and accomplishments in her field.
Kristina lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Andy, and their two children Grace (7) and Charlie (4). She is a graduate from the University of Iowa in 2000 where she received her BS in Mechanical Engineering. She matriculated to Ohio State University from which she earned her MBA in 2008. Outside of work she is involved with her daughter's Girl Scout troop and has also coached volleyball at her parish school.
In addition to her nine year career with Honda, she previously worked for the Ohio State University Women in Engineering program for more than five years. We are proud to showcase the video Honda produced, congratulate Kristina for her accomplishments, and are sure you will agree that she has shattered all of the stereotypes recounted in the opening paragraph.