Undergraduate Student Barry Participates in a Kiewit Leadership Program

Undergraduate Student Barry Participates in a Kiewit Leadership Program

Valerie Barry, a Junior in Building Science in the McWhorter School, was selected to attend the Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar in Aurora, Colorado, this year. The annual conference is a two-day event sponsored by Kiewit Construction and aims to “develop the leadership skills of collegiate women” (according to its website). “Our 11th annual WCLS event was a great success due to the curiosity, confidence, and passion of the 50+ young professionals who attended,” said Lauren Collins, Business Partner at Kiewit. “Valerie was a welcomed attendee with her eagerness to contribute and insightful collaboration with the other attendees.”

Valerie says she has always been interested in working in construction because her father is an architect. “After graduation, I see myself working for a larger commercial construction company,” she says. “I have an internship lined up this summer with Holder Construction, and I have previously interned locally with Carter & Carter working in preconstruction.” She says some of her favorite memories from Building Science stem directly from the hands-on experience typical of the program. “I really enjoyed shadowing the commercial construction competition team last fall and watching them win first place in Peachtree City.”

During the conference in Colorado, Valerie had the opportunity to connect with many successful women in the construction industry. In recent years, construction firms have made efforts to improve diversity in the field; women still are very much in the minority, representing only about 10% of the industry’s workforce. This is one of the reasons why events like the Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar are important, Valerie says. “It was great to hear from successful women in the industry and how they got to where they are today.” The McWhorter School of Building Science is dedicated to being an inclusive learning environment. “We work hard to ensure that all our students are able to receive an exceptional construction education, regardless of gender or background,” says Professor and School Head Richard Burt. “We were happy to support Valerie’s participation in the Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar, as she represents some of the best qualities of our program.”

top image via Kiewit

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