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Kolleen Backlund attended the 8th annual Women's Career Day at General George A. McCall Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA to talk to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students about geotechnical engineering. Approximately 20 female professionals attended the event with careers ranging from graphic design to teaching business psychology at University of Pennsylvania to nursing. There was a networking breakfast from 8:30am - 9:15am. Between 9:15am - 12:00pm the women professionals were assigned to groups of 3 to 4 women. Each group spoke to four different classes taking turns giving a brief description of their profession, why they went into their profession, and the course they followed to become a professional in their field. The students were then able to ask questions to each women pertaining to their career and what it is like to be a female in their profession.
To aid her discussion, Kolleen showed a few slides in power point of photos from construction sites, shallow and deep foundations, and slope failures to better describe a typical day in the life of a geotechnical engineer. The students responded well to the photos and asked a very wide variety of questions pertaining to geotechnical engineering. A question that was asked in every classroom was what it is like to be a female in a profession that typically consists of male professionals, especially at construction sites.
Between 12:00pm - 1:00pm a luncheon was given in honor of the women professionals thanking them for attending the event.