Science Needs Women: Celebrating International Day of Women & Girls in Science with Katrin Leonard

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Katrin Leonard, PE, Raba Kistner Vice President worked with employees from D. Wilson Construction to give an engineering-oriented tour of the City of Pharr, TX natatorium to local pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students.

Today the world turns their focus to the celebration of women and girls in science, shining a light on the tremendous gender gap that still exists in the world of science. The U.N. reports less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide are women, and only around 30 percent of women choose STEM-related fields in higher education. Women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science, and remain underrepresented in these fields —but even so, women have made major impacts in STEM that have forever changed their fields of study and our world. Katrin Leonard is one of these women.

Born and raised in Turkey, educated in Canada, settled in McAllen, Texas — Katrin is the leader of all Raba Kistner operations in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. She’s been in the business for 20 years and was recently promoted to vice president. When Katrin first started engineering, she said she wasn’t always respected and was judged prematurely for being a woman. But over the years, Katrin has paved the way for women interested in a career in engineering – inspiring the next generation of women and girls who are interested in science.

Katrin is serious about recruiting and mentoring young women - actively volunteering with South Texas College and Texas A&M University. Engineering in the United States has long been — and continues to be — a male-dominated profession. Today only 21 percent of engineering majors are women. As an engineering company that operates in this male-dominated industry, Raba Kistner is committed to holding space for diversity. A guiding truth at Raba Kistner is diversity in all its forms makes us better – better thinkers, better problem solvers, better people, and a far better company.

So today — as we pause for a moment to recognize the past and future impact of women in science — Katrin gives a small bit of advice to young women “Your actions define you, not your gender.  Be open-minded, never stop learning, and don't be afraid to speak up.”

Click here for more information on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.