SURRY COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Women in Nuclear conference wrapped up Wednesday following a trip to the Dominion Energy nuclear plant.
Nearly 45 women from all over the world toured the Surry Power station.
The conference theme: empower, adapt, balance, connect.
Recent college graduate Deena Jaber, an engineering consultant, tells 10 On Your Side she made the trip to network.
“I’m personally the only woman on my team at work right now. So, it’s really nice to see that there are other [women] in the same position,” said Jaber.
It is a similar experience for Norfolk State University graduate, Alayah Bracy. Bracy started as an intern at Dominion Energy a year ago, now she is an engineer.
“Sometimes you have imposter syndrome. You’re like, ‘should I really be here?’ ‘should I really be going through this process?’ ‘should I just build and go someplace that is easier that has more representation for me?'”
She credits her female mentor for helping her stay encouraged.
“She was also African American, so that was a great experience to understand. ‘Hey, you can do it. You can prosper. You can gain experience and continue to grow.'”
Bracy adds representation is “key” in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
The nuclear energy community is primarily made up of men, but there is a need to change that.
Women make up only 22% of the nuclear energy workforce, according to data from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“There should be more women in nuclear,” said John Phillips, a Dominion Power nuclear engineer mentor.
Phillips said more diversity means different perspectives on projects. He mentors Andrea del Campillo, a college senior and intern.
“I come from Puerto Rico. We are not exactly exposed to the nuclear industry, and I have really learned about the importance of nuclear,” said Andrea del Campillo.
The hope is for more girls and students to take up STEM careers.
You can apply for a job at Dominion Energy HERE.