International Day of Women and Girls in Science
International Day of Women and Girls in Science

For International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we spoke to women within Harsco about their experience of working, not only for Harsco but in the industry in general.

Our first interview is with Jennifer Rederick, Quality/Laboratory Manager

Jen Rederick

 

How long have you worked for Harsco? 
21 years in October of 2020!

What is your job role?
I am a Quality/Laboratory Manager

Did you always want to work in the area that you do now?
I have always wanted to work in the scientific field. 

What is an average day like in your role?
Ensuring the quality of incoming raw materials and outgoing finished products is at the core of my day.  Samples are collected, processed and analyzed in the laboratory.  X-ray fluorescence, combustion analysis and many other techniques are utilized on a daily basis.  As manager and radiation safety officer, I must ensure that all procedures are carried out in a safe and responsible manner.  I author SDSs for our finished products, maintain all laboratory data in Oracle, generate reports for both internal and external customers and order all stock/consumables.  I have 4 direct reports at 3 different sites in the quality department that I also manage, and hopefully, offer guidance to in their job roles.

What/Where did you study?
1) Ohio University:  Forensic Chemistry  2) United States Air Force Tech School:  Pharmacy  3) Kent State University:  Environmental, Safety & Waste Management  4) Youngstown State University: Chemistry

What are some ways we can encourage children to embrace science early on?
Be hands on with education in the home.  Challenge children, spark imagination, encourage them to enjoy the wonders of nature, support educational media. 

How important is female representation in science to you?
I believe the human race as a whole should represent science, regardless of gender.  That being said, I strongly support the desires and freedom of young females to study and learn all they can in life.

Did you have any female mentors or role models in your field?
I did not necessarily have female mentors/role models, but I have great appreciation for the roles women have played throughout history in pushing the limits of science.  We all know the world of yesteryear was dominated by males, but there was almost always a female in the shadow of great successes.  Within Harsco, I have female supervision with much experience and knowledge to provide mentoring and support.

Have you seen an increase of women in scientific roles in the last 10 years? 
Not so much in the last decade, but definitely in my lifetime.  Given the chance to enter and be accepted in the scientific world has allowed more females to flourish and make changes for the better.

What are your hopes for the future of roles in the industry? 
Not so much in the last decade, but definitely in my lifetime.  Given the chance to enter and be accepted in the scientific world has allowed more females to flourish and make changes for the better.

What do Harsco do particularly well in regards to equality, in your experience?
I feel Harsco supports equality in the workplace.

Favorite scientific fact that not many people know?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite fact, but here are some I find interesting:
1)  As a shout out to my manager and mentor Jennifer Lucas in the Chicago area:  The world’s first nuclear reactor was built in a squash court beneath a Chicago football stadium on      December 2, 1942. While it only generated enough power to light a flashlight, it proved that nuclear power was feasible
2) 
The human stomach can dissolve a razor blade
3) 
Rats laugh when being tickled
4)
There is only one letter not included on the Periodic Table:  J  (Although not visible on most tables, Q is in temporary elemental names)

 

Our second interview is with Savannah Hall, Environmental Health and Safety Manager at Harsco Environmental

Savannah

 

How long have you worked for Harsco? 
I have worked for Harsco for 3 years

 

What is your job role?
Environmental Health and Safety Manager
 

Did you always want to work in the area that you do now?
No, when I originally started school I wanted to be a physical therapist!
 

What is an average day like in your role?
The biggest responsibility I have is keeping employees, the company and the surrounding community safe from safety and environmental hazards; and the way this is accomplished isn’t so black and white. One day might start and end with an inspection, assessment, or training, while other days could be filled with investigations, reporting, and many meetings. I don’t think that in my three years of being an EHS Manager have I had similar days.  The sites, risk and behaviors are constantly changing, in which I need to adapt and be thinking/acting many steps ahead.  
 

Where did you study?
Millersville University in Lancaster, PA
 

What did you study?
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
 

What are some ways we can encourage children to embrace science early on?
I think that early on, children are very curious and love to experiment.  I think it’s important to provide a learning environment that allows the children to experience things in a hands-on type of manner.  I believe that this will help encourage and increase their curiosity in science. 
 

How important is female representation in science to you?
Female representation in science is extremely important. I believe that having gender diversity in science sparks new discoveries by broadening the viewpoints, questions that are being asked, and different areas that are being addressed by the researchers.  Without that,  we might not be as far along in certain discoveries in science.
 

Did you have any female mentors or role models in your field?
Yes, two key mentors/role models played a huge factor in who I am today as an EHS Manager.  Dr. Denise Hearn was a great professor who persuaded me to join the EHS Field.  She didn’t just teach the topics in the textbooks but rather real life experiences.  One piece of advice that she gave, that I will never forget was, “Going into this field of work in a male dominated industry, you need to have thick skin and confidence in everything you do.”  

 

The other mentor/role model I didn’t meet until a little later in my career. Her name is Meghan Shambach and she was a Harsco employee when I was an intern.  She has helped me network and meet other passionate EHS women that help support one another in this field.  Also, being able to see some of the things she has accomplished at a young age in this field, gives me so much hope and motivation for myself.
 

Have you seen an increase of women in scientific roles in the last 10 years? 
Yes, absolutely.  When I graduated from Millersville University I was one of eight women graduating in our OSHA class of 56 students. Since graduating in 2016, I have been in contact with my professors and seen that the number of women graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety Administration has doubled, if not tripled, in the last 4 years.  And to think, this is just one area of scientific roles out of many
 

What are your hopes for the future of roles in the industry? 
I hope that more women pursue a career in safety and health.  Throughout history, women have played a big role in improving safety and health for people throughout the world.  We (men and women) need to continue to collaborate to make the industry more colorful place and protect our colleagues the best way possible to allow them to go home safely to their families each and every night. 

 

What do Harsco do particularly well in regards to equality, in your experience?
They hire different genders in similar roles that allow us to collaborate and make the best working environment, not only for ourselves but for those around us too.

 

Best memory of working at Harsco?
To date, my best memory would have to be receiving the President Impact Award in 2018 for Reed Minerals.  I received it for outstanding contributions, leadership and teamwork.  As an EHS Manager, it’s important to understand why people do things a certain way, rather than just telling them they are doing it wrong.  The only way to understand their thought process is by communicating and working with them. They are the professionals at their job and I am there to provide a second set of eyes that provides a different angle to what they do.  We work together to discover the best way to protect them and those around them while they complete their job.  It was nice being recognized for the teamwork, contributions and leadership that I provide on a daily basis that most of the time goes unnoticed by others.

 

Favorite scientific fact that not many people know?
I took an astrology class in college and my professor told us that just a teaspoonful of the neutron star (the remnants of a massive star that has run out of fuel) weighs about 10 million tons. The dying star explodes in a supernova while its core collapses in on itself due to gravity, and forms a super-dense neutron star.  Space is amazing and hard to fathom all the discoveries that have been found to date.  I am very interested in seeing what’s discovered in years to come.  

 

Our third interview is with Jennifer Lucas, General Manager at Harsco, who has been with the company for more than 23 years.

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How long have you worked for Harsco? 
Harsco purchased the Performix business about 12 years ago. I have been with the Performix group for 23 years.  Prior to Performix, I worked for ArcelorMittal in northwest Indiana as a steelmaking engineer.

 

What is your job role?
Currently, I am general manager but have had several roles over the last 23 years – product engineer, district commercial manager and technical development manager

 

Did you always want to work in the area that you do now?
My family is from a steelmaking town, my mom always said it was in our blood.

 

What is an average day like in your role?
Herding cats haha Two production facilities, 40+ customers, 100 products and the tasks of ensuring we are adhering to safety, quality and technical standards.  The day could be traveling to a steel mill to meet with customers, vetting a new raw material supplier, designing products and practices, researching new applications or as boring as routine paperwork. 

 

Where did you study?
Illinois Institute of Technology

 

What did you study?
BS, Metallurgical Engineering

 

What are some ways we can encourage children to embrace science early on?
Hands on experiments and introductions to different disciplines.   

 

Have you seen an increase of women in scientific roles in the last 10 years? 
Back in the stone age, I graduated with only a few female engineers.  When I go to college campuses with my kids, the engineering programs are full of women.  Our customers are steel mills and I routinely work with women engineers and see a much more diverse work force compared to when I started 30 years ago.

 

Favorite scientific fact that not many people know?
H Ar S C O – the basic building blocks of life as defined by the Periodic Table of Elements  H = Hydrogen, Ar = Argon, S = Sulfur, C = Carbon and O = Oxygen

 

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