PSC women are accomplished, talented, forceful, and share a wealth of knowledge and experience. As we celebrate Women’s History Month this year, we are excited to shine a spotlight on three PSC women who are making a difference in science, technology, engineering and math.
Kathy Benninger, Manager, Networking Research
Kathy Benninger knows the importance of a supportive work environment. This is part of the reason why she has had
such a positive experience working in technology and engineering. While she has been fortunate to have had mainly productive and collaborative experiences at work, she says that being a woman has presented some challenges, especially in building relationships. She has taken that in stride and, instead, has focused on engaging with middle and high school girls, introducing them to the world of STEM. One way has been through PSC’s “Tour Your Future” program. Kathy says these interactions with young girls help keep their interest in STEM education alive when it could otherwise diminish before they reach college.
“I talk to the girls about my education, the types of projects I’ve worked on, what I like about my job, and the numerous career possibilities available in technology and engineering,” Kathy said. Bringing up salient examples is important. Kathy uses their cell phones as a major introduction to the tech world. “I try to meet them where their experiences and interests might be,” she noted. For these future scientists, Kathy hopes that the number of supportive environments for women will continue to increase, allowing more women to enjoy fruitful careers in STEM.
Anjana Kar, Senior Storage Systems Specialist
Anjana Kar considers herself fortunate—working at PSC is the only job she’s ever had, and it has been a wonderful
experience. Anjana’s interest in math started as a child and continued through college. When computers made their debut, she was instantly interested and hungry for more. “As a teaching assistant, I always enjoyed helping users at the data center, so being hired at PSC back in 1988 was and has been a dream job,” she recalls. Anjana feels that she has always been treated fairly and because of this positive work environment she has grown as a researcher as the field continues to get more advanced.
Throughout her 30+ years at PSC, she has seen the field expand to include more women in systems and operations roles. In particular, the flexibility in work schedules has opened up doors for many women who prefer to work from home. Anjana sees this as a positive and welcoming change that will encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM and ultimately add to the diversity of the workforce. “There is never a dull moment at PSC, and the learning continues even today,” said Anjana fondly.
Marcela Madrid, Senior Computational Scientist
For Marcela Madrid, there is beauty in the sciences that sometimes gets overlooked. “I like math and physics very
much, and the challenge of solving problems and the sense of awe I get when I understand something that produces these feelings can be as beautiful as the arts,” she said.
Marcela has had an exciting career in STEM and she attributes it to the quality of the public education she received. “In Argentina, my home country, I won a very prestigious fellowship to study Physics near the Andes in Patagonia. All my career in Argentina I went to prestigious, free public schools. I am a strong believer and supporter of public education,” she said. This provided her with the experience that would eventually lead her to be the role model she is today.
Working at PSC has given Marcela myriad opportunities to involve and educate young girls in the sciences through outreach activities–an area professional women usually don’t get a chance to capitalize on. In her experience, the scientific community has become more inclusive and respectful of women, though there is still a long way to go.
Marcela thinks it is important to have a “critical mass” of women. “That’s partly because we feel welcome and less lonely working with each other, she added.” Marcela feels that offering incentives to women to study in STEM-related
fields is important to continue the growth of women scientists.