Gender can sometimes affect a person’s career choice.
As a part of the Tribute to Women Expo held from 6-9 p.m. on March 25 in the IRC, a “Professional Women Panel Discussion” was held to discuss how gender plays into a career choice.
The opinions of the women on the panel varied, depending on the profession.
Ferris Associate Professor Rebecca Sammel, Assistant Professor Kristin Poleski, WISE Executive Director Kelley Samuels, Birkam Health Center Nurse Melissa Sprague and Birkam Health Center Account Clerk Sharon Metcalf led the panel discussion mediated by social sciences Professor Bonnie Wright.
Poleski has had 24 years of law enforcement experience, including 20 years with the Grand Rapids Police Department. She said gender didn’t affect her choice in becoming a police officer.
“I never focused on my gender. I focused on doing my job well,” Poleski said.
When dealing with men in a career, the women on the panel agreed confidence means a lot.
The women also discussed the different standards they have been held to over men in their careers.
Poleski and Samuels agreed that studying and being knowledgeable about your work can help prove your worth.
Ferris social work sophomore Hailey Sewell said she can see how gender could affect someone’s career choice.
“If I were a male I probably would have chosen something more masculine,” Sewell said. “One thing I wanted to do was advocate for women’s rights and equality and that fits me better over a male.”
Co-sponsors of the event included the Office of Multicultural Student Services, Ferris Women’s Collection Steering Committee, Office of International Education, Delta Sigma Theta, Student Government and WISE. Local businesses offered their services to students at the event.
“Whatever job you have, make sure you know your worth,” Birkam Health Center Account Clerk Sharon Metcalf said.