For many women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) roles, there were influential family members, teachers or role models who encouraged them in their chosen careers. For Morgan Pilkinton, those people are her parents.
Morgan’s father, a civil engineer, introduced her to engineering and helped her discover her passion for it. Morgan’s mother, a computer programmer, knew what it was like to be a woman in a male-dominated field and inspired Morgan to pursue anything she wanted. This led Morgan to graduate with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 and to join Oklahoma Natural Gas as an engineer shortly after.
“All female engineers are aware on some level of being in the minority, but I think our company does a great job directly and indirectly supporting women,” she said. “I’ve always felt supported as a female engineer by all levels of leadership, and I’ve never felt like an outlier.”
Just three years after starting her career, Morgan was promoted to a manager role. While she acknowledges the hard work that got her there, she also credits this to the inclusive culture at Oklahoma Natural Gas.
“People don’t realize how much of an impact they can have just by asking someone for their opinion,” Morgan said. “Being the only woman in the room can make you feel hesitant to speak up, but people here were intentional about making that extra effort with me.”
Morgan wants to do the same for other engineers that follow her. That’s why she’s celebrating International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) this June 23. The day recognizes the achievements made by women in the historically male-dominated field of engineering. Although women have come a long way, they still lack professional representation. According to the Society of Women Engineers, only 15% of engineers are women as of 2018.
"It’s important for people to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and think about what it would be like to be the only woman in the room,” Morgan said. “That's something most people aren’t cognizant of.”
Happy International Women in Engineering Day to our female engineers at Oklahoma Natural Gas and to female engineers everywhere!