Sweet Briar engineering grad among 2016 NAYGN Excellence Award winners

February 22, 2017 | Janika Carey

Recent Sweet Briar graduate Kathryne Richard ’15 has been selected as a 2016 3rd Quarter NAYGN Excellence Award winner by the North American Young Generation in Nuclear.

Engineer Kathryne Richard ’15 at work

Richard, now an engineer at Parsons in Washington D.C., was honored for organizing and leading an NAYGN group trip to the Pacific Northwest to tour sites important to the nuclear industry while working as a mechanical engineer at AREVA. Richard left AREVA in October.

According to its website, NAYGN “provides opportunities for a young generation of nuclear enthusiasts to develop leadership and professional skills, create lifelong connections, engage and inform the public, and inspire today’s nuclear technology professionals to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Leadership is a skill Richard honed early on at Sweet Briar, where she was a student leader and avid rider. Four years in Sweet Briar’s Margaret Jones Wyllie ’45 Engineering Program — one of just two programs at women’s colleges in the country to award an ABET-accredited engineering degree — also showed her how important it is for women to keep forging their own paths in science, technology, engineering and math.

“For all those young girls out there who are intimidated by the thought of pursuing a STEM career because [they think] ‘science is for boys,’ I just want to let you know to go for it,” Richard says. “It’s okay to want to solve technical problems and still wear pink and pearls. It’s okay to enjoy math and physics while having an outgoing personality; and it’s most definitely okay to pursue a career in a male-dominated field. Do not let the negative stereotypes against girls in STEM discourage you from your passions in life. Work hard, love what you do, change the world for the better and don’t let anyone get in your way!”

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.

Click here for a full list of 2016 3rd Quarter NAYGN Excellence Award winners.

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