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A leading African American female engineer: STEM companies don’t do nearly enough to promote women and minorities

Black Women in Science

A leading African American female engineer: STEM companies don’t do nearly enough to promote women and minorities

By Valerie Strauss via https://www.washingtonpost.com

As seni­or vice president of qual­i­ty, reg­u­la­to­ry and en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices at Abbott, Corlis Murray over­sees en­gi­neer­ing and a $400 million budg­et at a com­pany with 99,000 em­ploy­ees in more than 150 count­ries. And she is one of the only Af­ri­can American women who is a top en­gi­neer at a For­tune 500 com­pany (if not the only one).

Murray is se­ri­ous a­bout re­cruit­ing more women and mi­nori­ties into sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing, and she wants STEM-re­lated com­panies to do more than they are doing.

In this post, she writes a­bout her jour­ney to the top po­si­tion she has at Abbott and what oth­er com­panies can do to di­ver­si­fy.

By Corlis Murray

When I was 17, I dressed up each day for work in a yel­low and orange shirt to as­sem­ble tacos, bur­gers and fries at Jack in the Box. I made $1.76 an hour.

My boss thought I had a bright fu­ture a­head of me there, and even told me I was an i­de­al can­di­date for the com­pany’s man­ag­er track pro­gram.

Around the same time, IBM came to my in­ner-city Dallas school ask­ing to take on a sum­mer high school en­gi­neer­ing in­tern. My guid­ance coun­sel­or and math and sci­ence teach­ers rec­om­mend­ed me.

I didn’t know of any en­gi­neers in my fam­i­ly — or among my friends. In fact, I didn’t even know what an en­gi­neer did. But I quit my fast-food job for the in­tern­ship op­por­tu­ni­ty. My moth­er, who had no i­de­a what en­gi­neer­ing was, sup­port­ed my decision.

Today, I’m one of the only Af­ri­can American women I know of who is a top en­gi­neer at a For­tune 500 com­pany. I over­see en­gi­neer­ing and a $400 million budg­et at a com­pany with 99,000….

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Chrysalis

I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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