Women in STEM Spotlight

March is Women’s History Month, what better way to celebrate than honoring women who have made significant contributions in history? Today, we are spotlighting a former Secretary of Energy and an engineer .

Hazel O’Leary– Prior to becoming the first African American woman to serve as the Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary led an impressive career in law. The honorable Hazel O’Leary attended Fisk University and the Rutgers School of Law, going on to become a New Jersey prosecutor and assistant attorney general. During President Carter’s time in office O’Leary served as assistant administrator for the Economic Regulatory Commission, general counsel of the Community Servies Administration, and an administrator for the Economic Regulatory Commission of the newly created Department of Energy. In 1993 O’Leary was nominated by President Clinton and became the seventh United States Secretary of Energy. During her term she encouraged the Clinton administration to end nuclear testing in the United States.

Beatrice Hicks– Using her educational background in chemical engineering, electrical engineering, and physics Hicks became the first woman engineer to be hired at Western Electric Company. Hicks pioneered in the theoretical study, analysis development and manufacturing of sensing devices. Hicks patented a molecular density scanner and developed an industry model for quality control procedures. In 1955, she was named president of Newark Controls, Inc., a company founded by her father that manufactured environmental sensing equipment that was later utilized in the space program.  She was also chosen to be the first president of the recently organized Society of Women Engineers, consisting, at the time, of 60 members.