In recognition of Women's History Month, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) presents a special blog series featuring candid responses from female ECBC employees and leaders on their experiences as females in the science and engineering fields. The fourth and final part in this blog series feature Robin Haupt, a quality assurance specialist in the ECBC Engineering Directorate, and Linnette Martinez,a member of the Joint Service Ground Mask Branch in the Protective Engineering Division.
Years ago, when I first started working for the Department of Defense (DoD) on the Aberdeen Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, women were not always particularly welcome in some of the automotive specialty areas. No one ever treated me poorly or was disrespectful; it was more of an assumption that women weren’t interested in automotives and therefore didn’t possess a full understanding.
I found that, as with any area of work, if you possess a willingness to learn and a constant inquisitiveness you can make the job easier and much more fun. I recall working on a very intense track test for the M1A1 Abrams tank. The hours were long and the work conditions were not always great. I decided that I was going to learn as much about that track as humanly possible. I did, and that knowledge made the months-long test a rewarding experience. Because I took the time and effort to learn every detail about the track maintenance, wear criteria, etc., I gained the respect of my tank crew, peers and supervisor. I wouldn’t say that anyone necessarily expected a woman to fail, but I was able to gain the confidence of the people around me.