By Mary Maushard
A recent Port of Baltimore tour focused on more than giant cranes and cargo moving from ship to shore. It also highlighted what all this commerce and activity might mean for the careers of the young women taking the tour.
Ninth- and tenth-graders from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., were guests of the Port through a program of the D.C. Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Society (WTS). The young women, from Dunbar’s Charles Drew STEM Academy, are participating in Transportation YOU, a WTS initiative that offers girls ages 13 to 18 a hands-on, interactive introduction to a variety of transportation-related careers.
The students toured Seagirt and Dundalk Marine terminals. Katrina Jones, Outreach Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA), narrated as the students saw a yard full of vehicles, farm equipment and containers upon containers of cargo. Jones described the Port’s day-to-day activities and the jobs of the onsite laborers whom the students saw bustling about the cargo, as well as the workers behind the scenes.
Following the tour, the students had lunch and then presentations and discussions with MDOT MPA staff. Jill Lemke, Manager of Strategic Planning and Special Projects, provided an overview of new maritime technologies and described more career choices at the Port. She explained the evolution of cargo containers and the nuances of dredging to help the students better understand cargo movement.
Later, Barbara McMahon, MDOT MPA’s recently retired General Manager of Safety, Environment and Risk Management, shared her career path and encouraged the young women to continue their education and pursue their career goals.
The students’ questions focused on the future of the Port and how technology might make the ships greener, automated or emissions-free.
WTS members Amanda Rutherford, Director of the Gateway Office of the U.S. Maritime Administration, and Jasmy Methipara, a Research Analyst at the U.S. Department of Transportation, initiated the tour and asked the Port’s help in sponsoring and organizing it.
WTS is an international organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women.