Women scientists, engineers and researchers to converge on Richland for summit

Hundreds of engineers, scientists, managers and researchers, many of them women, are expected at a summit planned July 30 in Richland.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is one of 10 sites across the world picked in a competitive process to hold an IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit this year.

The event is planned to encourage early and mid career female STEM professionals and offer them opportunities for skill development and networking, but is open to anyone.

“More than 60 percent of women who receive an engineering degree will leave the field within 15 years of entering the workforce, making the quit rate for women more than twice as high as for men,” said Emily Barrett, summit chairwoman.

She is an electrical engineer at PNNL and leader of the IEEE Richland Women in Engineering Affinity Group.

Because fewer women enter STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — high attrition means women are seriously underrepresented in technical fields, she said.

Research at the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Courtesy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

“According to the Bureau of Labor, only 10 percent of full-time engineers in this country are female,” she said.

The keynote speakers will be Debra Smith, chief executive of Seattle City Light and Amanda Blevins, chief technologist at VMware, a software company.

Topics to be covered include building a career, women in technical leadership and “imposter syndrome.”

The event starts with with a reception and networking event at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Washington State University Tri-Cities Wine Science Center.

The summit will continue with a day-long session starting at 8:30 a.m. July 30 at PNNL’s Discovery Hall, 650 Horn Rapids Road, Richland.

Registration closes on Friday. Cost is $50 for students, $75 for IEEE members and $100 for others.

Registration forms and more information are posted at