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Purdue CEM Student Mayra Pena Attends Kiewit's Women's Construction Leadership Seminar

CEM Sophomore Mayra Pena attended the Women’s Construction Leadership Seminar (WCLS) held by Kiewit Corporation in Aurora, CO last month. The seminar was a two day event focused on developing the leadership skills of collegiate women.
Mayra Pena

During the seminar, the female students attended presentations held by Kiewit employees that outlined the speakers’ experiences – the struggles they came through as a woman in construction, how they reacted to being challenged by males, and the actions they took to step up to the next level of leadership. The students were paired into groups and assigned a female mentor from Kiewit. This small group work allowed for the students to get to know their peers, while connecting with a distinguished female mentor in the industry. They also got to tour Kiewit’s Central 70 project, a $1.2 billion interstate project that will provide regional connection to Denver International Airport. Although the seminar is over, Mayra is still working with her group from the WCLS, putting together an outreach program to recruit more females into the construction industry. The group plans to implement their program in August.

The WCLS gave the students valuable insight on the importance of professional development and building relationships, how to evaluate where you are as a leader and the steps to take to build up to the next level, and the importance of focusing on who you are instead of comparing yourself to your counterparts. When asked what her biggest takeaway from the seminar was, Mayra responded, “Anything you have to manipulate to get won’t be yours for long. Be genuine – you don’t have to fake anything or manipulate or be in control. Leadership isn’t about manipulation or being in control, it’s about moving forward. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, it’s all about making connections and working hard.”

Mayra encourages all female students to attend the seminar. She didn’t know much about the program before Brandon Fulk, CEM Internship Director, encouraged her to apply, and she said “I’m happy I trusted Brandon and did it, but a lot of people didn’t do it because they didn’t know what it was all about.” Mayra’s biggest goal is to inform girls about the program and to influence more female CEM students to participate in the future.

Students must be nominated by emailing, and will be required to complete an online application. If you’re an interested student, contact Mayra Pena or Brandon Fulk. Visit Women's Construction Leadership Seminar for more information on the seminar.