Chair's Corner - March 2022

Chair's Corner - March 2022

Welcome to March; we are blessed to see this month. This month’s newsletter highlights some of the work the SPE-GCS Newsletter Committee is working on in collaboration with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

The Society of Women Engineers, in collaboration with the National Society of Black Engineering (NSBE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineering (SHPE), received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC). SPE is a partner in this collaboration.

The WCEC will be targeting issues women of color (WOC) face that causes a disparity between WOC who complete engineering degrees and WOC in the engineering workspace. The goal is for partner organizations to help decrease the barriers that lead to the attrition of WOC engineers.

The grant has three main goals:

  1. Establish the WCEC to address systemic barriers contributing to WOC leaving the engineering
  2. Create a shared vision that focuses on dismantling systemic barriers:

ӟ Microaggressions and sexism in the workplace that lead to a lower level of credibility for WOC

ӟ The backlash to DEI efforts, fear of change, resistance to change

ӟ Inequitable/inaccessible/inadequate pathways to scholarships, internships and jobs in engineering.

ӟ Retention of WOC in engineering

ӟ Network and sponsorship exclusivity

  1. Develop a strategic plan to guide WCEC


Regarding industry updates, there are several dimensions to the energy conversation. The foremost is that it powers our civilization. People know this, but many don’t realize how interwoven our world is when it comes to energy. The second dimension of energy is its impact on geopolitics. The flexibility to make global political decisions as a country hinges on the independence of the nation’s energy. This is

what is referred to as energy security. With what’s happening


in Ukraine, we know that Europe is “energy insecure.” In the case of Germany, there is a rush to transition unsustainably from oil and gas and nuclear. Germany is on track to close all its nuclear reactors this year, a decision that will cost them even more flexibility.

Here in the US, the government lacks the flexibility to deal with Russia due to some ill-timed policies that have starved investments in the domestic oil and gas industry. What has happened has been a flurry of calls to Saudi, Russia and OPEC to keep the world running in the event of Russian sanctions. It’s easy to see that this exact scenario may also play out in negotiations with Iran.

Your decision to work or fund the oil industry today might affect future geopolitical scenarios. We must take steps to make our business cleaner. The problem is the emissions, not the fuel. The world needs decarbonized energy, not zero energy. While we believe there will be an energy transition or transformation in the coming decades, sustainability must be a vital component of the conversation. So far, the rush has only left us weakened and severely limited in our geopolitical options. It is Energy Security 101 at play again. Perhaps we will learn our lessons better this time.

Section updates: One of the utmost priorities of the Gulf Coast Section is to deliver technical education at the highest level. I encourage you to check out our online calendar for all upcoming events.


All the best,

Nii Ahele Nunoo