This is part 3 of a four-part series about women in fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
At King County March is proclaimed Women’s History Month. Historically, careers in STEM fields have been male-dominated. In the Water and Land Resources Division, 45 percent of the nearly 400 employees are women representing the STEM fields — the expertise needed to provide clean water and healthy habitat for all of King County.
We asked a sampling of our ecologists, biologists, engineers, planners and landscape architects how they pursued a career in a historically male-dominated field and what advice they might have for other women.
About the Water and Land Resource Division’s employees
Jessica Engel is a water quality planner in the Stormwater Services Section’s Water Quality Compliance Unit. She develops and implements a variety of programs that improve water quality and climate resiliency throughout the region.
“I have a Bachelors in Sociology and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy,” said Jessica. “Both have given me the ability to understand what drives people to treat the environment the way they do and the framework to ensure our natural resources are protected.”
Mary Rabourn does environmental communications and is on the same team in Stormwater Services.
“I work with regional teams on effective outreach and multicultural communications,” said Mary. “Information needs to meet people where they are, in a form they can use, at a time they need it, and when it is relevant — and exciting — to them.”
Mary began her career in geology and remote sensing and has worked on industrial and residential hazardous waste projects, pesticide safety, and stormwater. She specializes in building personal and community connections to big issues.
Richelle Rose is a program manager for the Snoqualmie River team in the River and Floodplain Management Section where she manages non-structural, flood risk reduction programs to improve resiliency for residents and farms.
“Much of my 25 year career has been focused at the intersection of people and natural hazards,” said Richelle. “It is important to understand the natural environment and how people interact with nature to protect both. Growing up in Alaska inspired my love for the outdoors and the environment which lead me to pursue a career that respects that balance.”
Richelle has a Bachelor of Science in Geologic Sciences from University of Washington.