Thursday, April 7, 2016

Women's History Month Career Night Highlights

Women's History Month
By Sarah Latario
Pictures by Jon O'Connor

The Women’s History Month Committee at Groton - Dunstable Regional High School held their last event of the month on Wednesday, March 30th in the high school library. The committee hosted a career panel made up of Lisa Ansara, a Professor of Psychology at UMass Lowell with a background in social work, Dr. Katie Novak, the GDRSD Assistant Superintendent, Veronica Sisemore, a Senior Engineer working for Raytheon, Susan Daly, an EMT, Paramedic, and the Groton Fire Captain, and Sheila Harrington, a lawyer and current Massachusetts State Representative. It was  a great opportunity for young students to be enlightened about the many successful women in different work forces and gain insight into possible careers in which women are underrepresented.

When asked about why they chose their careers and how they got to their current position, each agreed that they decided on their specific career because it allowed them to help others. Sisemore spoke about how everyday, going into work, she thinks about the men and women she helps to protect. Most of the women had held other jobs before they came to their current one, and Novak emphasized that “your passion can be your career." Ansara affirmed that one can always change their career stating, “you can get your PhD at sixty”.

Susan Daly shared about how she worked as an accountant but after her brother got into a serious car accident, everything changed for her. Inspired by the EMT who helped her brother and comforted her family, she was motivated to be that compassionate individual for others in similar situations. This led her to become an EMT and eventually the Fire Captain. She also spoke about how many people do not understand everything that firefighters do. As well as putting out fires, they also educate the public on fire safety and inspect buildings to make sure they follow fire codes.

When asked who inspired them, Dr. Novak spoke about her grandmother who, when telling her a story about how she missed the bus one day, stated that she “took off her heels and ran to work”. Her grandmother taught her to be resilient, and that one can always find another way to achieve their goal. Representative Sheila Harrington commented about how she once heard Sandra Day O’Connor speak about when she first became a lawyer, she was only offered secretarial jobs. Years later, when O’Connor was called by the Reagan Administration to be a Supreme Court Justice, she was offered the position by the same man who had offended her by only extending a secretarial job.

Each women went on to discuss how the world had changed from when they were younger and how women have more opportunities. They opened the question to teachers present, prompting Ms. Case to speak about how when she was younger, all she wanted to be was a veterinarian, but when she spoke to her high school guidance counselor, “he said that I could be either a teacher or a nurse. So I became a teacher.” They ended the night in this way to emphasis how far society has come in such a short time, but also to highlight how many fields in which women have not yet had full opportunity to explore.

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