Muscatine, Iowa — Gayle Roberts, P.E., president and CEO of Stanley Consultants, a global consulting engineering firm, has long been a champion of girls in engineering. “I want girls to know there are no barriers. I want them to have confidence in themselves and their abilities. The world needs them to do great things.”
This was Roberts’ message to middle school girls on Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, observed on Thursday, Feb. 26 as part of Engineers Week. Roberts shared with 200 8th grade girls the “Top 10 Reasons Why She Loves Engineering.” The students were from West and Central Middle Schools in Muscatine, Iowa, which is also the worldwide headquarters of Stanley Consultants.
Roberts shared with the girls that despite graduating from high school with outstanding grades in math and science, no one suggested she study engineering. Her decision to pursue an engineering degree was quite by happenstance.
“It was not until my junior year in college that I found the courage and confidence to change my major to Chemical Engineering." said Roberts. "I often think about how much easier it would have been to find my way if someone had told me about the true opportunities that lie within the engineering profession. To know that beyond my skills in math and science, the real passion and rewards of engineering is to make a difference in the world.”
Roberts graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering, and is a licensed professional engineer in eight states and Puerto Rico.
It is estimated that women make up only 17 percent of engineering students and 10 percent of the engineering workforce. “I believe it is critical to our future that more women join the ranks of engineers – to solve the world’s complex challenges in providing sustainable energy, water, and transportation infrastructure,” said Roberts.”
Toward that end, Roberts has a passion for empowering and inspiring more women to lead, to look for opportunities to make a difference, find challenges, solve problems, and keep learning.
Roberts has long been recognized for her efforts to encourage women to pursue engineering. She is the recipient of multiple awards including the Upward Mobility Award from the Society of Women Engineers; the Woman of Influence Award from the Corridor Business Journal; the 50% Solution Award from the Iowa Women’s Foundation; and the Large Company Innovation and Leadership Category of the Iowa Women of Innovations Award from the Technology Association of America.
In 2012, she was presented with the ATHENA Leadership Award from the Women’s Connection. The ATHENA Award is given each year to a woman who has shown professional excellence and community service, as well as consistently promoting women in their efforts toward high professional achievement and exceptional leadership skills.