Changing Workforce / Industrial Safety / Career Development / STEM Education

Award-winning Sandia engineer traded tailoring for welding

By Nancy Salem, Sandia National Laboratories

Apr 01, 2016

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Pierrette Gorman built a successful career as a seamstress and tailor, working her way from bridal and clothing stores to owning a business in upstate New York. But she wanted more. “I wanted a college education and had a goal,” Gorman said. She wanted to be an engineer.

“I knew my ability as a seamstress and differentiated myself from a home sewer,” she said. “I excelled in science and math, and there is a lot of engineering in tailoring. I especially enjoyed working with people who had disfigurements, and I could pad and fit their clothing so they looked complete.”

Gorman recently was named the winner of a 2016 STEP Ahead award by the Manufacturing Institute. The institute in 2012 launched the Science, Technology, Engineering and Production (STEP) Ahead initiative to honor and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry as researchers and leaders.

The national honor identifies the best women in manufacturing and encourages them to mentor and support the next generation of women in manufacturing careers.

“It’s great to bring this award to Sandia,” said Gorman, who will be honored April 21 in Washington, D.C. “Women who have received it in the past are from major companies like Toyota [Motor Corp.] and 3M. I’m proud to add Sandia to that list.”

Read more about why Gorman thinks women make great welders.