WINCHESTER, Va. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District observed Women’s History Month during a luncheon March 31st in Winchester, Va.
The event, which was organized by the Federal Women’s Program, featured Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, president of Shenandoah University, as the guest speaker. This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Weaving the Stories of Womens’ Lives,” and Fitzsimmons spoke about her experiences balancing life as the first female president of Shenandoah University with her life as a mother of three school-age children.
She began by discussing how she and others at the university were compelled to act following the Haiti earthquake in 2010. Fitzsimmons led trips to provide medical expertise and structural engineers to assist the community where the College Catherine Flon, a school of more than 4,500 Kindergarten through 12th grade students had been destroyed. Fitzsimmons and the Shenandoah University staff and employees immediately began a fundraising campaign and after five years, have finally raised enough money to begin rebuilding the school building. The students have been attending school in tents since the earthquake,
“Your work is similar,” she said to the Middle East District audience. “You’re making a difference across the world on behalf of the United States.”
Fitzsimmons presented some ideas for women to find balance while integrating their personal and professional lives. The suggestions included have a plan, have clarity around your goals and timing, and trust your instincts.
“And finally, you have to have a sense of purpose,” Fitzsimmons concluded. “It’s important to know who or what we’re serving, and believe in it deeply.”
Other FWP members shared brief biographies of three women selected as honorees by the National Women’s History Project. These included Darlene Clark Hine, a historian who focuses on black women’s history; Lynn Sherr, a well-known broadcast journalist and author; and Vicki Ruiz, a historian and expert on Latina history.
Women’s History Month is an annual observance that celebrates the contributions American women have made, and continue to make, to the country.
“The Federal Women’s Program is a special emphasis program under the EEO [Equal Employment Opportunity] program,” said Mary Powell, FWP program manager. “We research women’s issues like wage equality and hold a monthly lunch out with military women.”
According to few.org, “the FWP has a primary responsibility to identify barriers to the hiring and advancement of women and to enhance employment opportunities for women in every area of federal service.”