We the Women series on March 3 featured Darleen Buttrick, the director of Engineering and Capital Projects for the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, an independent public water utility serving 250,000 people in the Lower Pioneer Valley.
Springfield Technical Community College Professor Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh, who moderated the session, noted that the timing of Buttrick’s appearance coincides with World Engineering Day and Women’s History Month.
“It’s great to have you here,” said McGinnis-Cavanaugh, who noted Buttrick is the first woman in her department to hold a leadership position.
Professor McGinnis-Cavanaugh asked Buttrick a number of questions about her role and what it’s like to be a woman in engineering, a field dominated by men.
Buttrick said she received support and encouragement when going to college in the 1990s. She was the first in her family to go to college and finish.
“I never got the message that science or engineering was something a woman couldn’t do,” Buttrick said.
Buttrick said she was better at math and science when she growing up. English, social studies and other non-STEM courses were not her strong suit. “Going into college, it seemed like a natural progression for me to go into the sciences,” she said.
Buttrick earned a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Bucknell University
She worked at Tighe & Bond, Inc. as a project engineer before taking the position with the Water and Sewer Commission.
Presented by the offices of Community Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, the We the Women virtual series celebrates achievements by female leaders. Lidya Rivera-Early, director of Community Engagement, said the series brings in local speakers who have made a great impact on the community.