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Celebrating women in engineering at Bucknell University

Bucknell University is marking Women's History Month with a milestone. The first woman graduated from the school's engineering program 100 years ago.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — This year's Women's History Month theme is "Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories." 

Bucknell University is marking the occasion with a milestone. One hundred years ago, the first woman graduated from the school's engineering program.  

Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize shows us how Bucknell is celebrating and introduces us to some female engineers who are telling stories of their own.

Alina Arko and Brooke Dickey are mechanical and chemical engineering students at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.

The two graduate this spring, and both have jobs lined up in their fields.

"I'm in this new department that they have that really focuses on sustainability," said Alina Arko.

This is a significant year for Bucknell University's engineering program. It's been 100 years since Katherine Owens Hayden graduated. She was the first woman to earn an engineering degree from Bucknell.

"The College of Engineering at Bucknell has about 720 undergraduate students," said Erin Jablonski. "Of those, about 30% are women."

Erin Jablonski is the Associate Dean of Engineering at Bucknell. She says in the years since Hayden's graduation, Bucknell University has worked to increase the number of women in the school's engineering program. Erin Threet graduated in 2006.

"There's a shift happening," said Threet. "There's more women being represented."

Threet now works for a civil engineering consulting firm in Union County. She says when she started, there were not many women at the company.

"I was one of, I think, two licensed engineers in the company at that time, and the firm was, I think, 150 at that time," explained Threet. "But recently, in the last five or so years, I would say we probably hire as many, if not more, female engineers." 

Threet wants to encourage other women to follow in her footsteps and become an engineer.

Throughout the month of March, Bucknell University is hosting several engineering panels featuring women in the field.

"They'll talk about how they got to where they are and what are the most interesting aspects of bringing their engineering knowledge and skills to what they ended up working on," added Jablonski.

As for Alina and Brooke, both say they would love to see more women in the engineering field. Alina is the only woman in some of her classes.

"I guess I've had to become a bit more independent as all the men work together, and I'm kind of on the outskirts, but I think it's helped me develop as a person, and I've definitely enjoyed my experience here," added Arko.

This year's Women's History Month theme is "Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories."

These young women are the next generation of female engineers. They are grateful to the women who came before them so they can tell stories of their own.

"Their hard work and their strength and using their voice, making a place for women in the classroom," said Brooke Dickey. "I'm really grateful for that, and I'm really glad I can be here today."

Click here for a list of Women's History Month events at Bucknell.

For more Women's History Month stories, head to WNEP's Youtube page.

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