by Tricia Breton '14, MA '16
As an engineer in business, Danielle Czarnowski '15 recognizes that she is following a path that Sheri McCoy '80 helped blaze.
In turn, she follows McCoy's lead in nurturing younger women in science.
Czarnowski was in the first graduating class in bioengineering, a program that McCoy helped UMass Dartmouth develop from the textile chemistry program. In addition to hands-on technical skills, Czarnowski said her studies taught her other vital lessons.
"I learned that my relentless curiosity was an asset, and a core quality as a scientist and engineer," she said.
The younger woman's journey recently landed her at Johnson & Johnson, where McCoy began her career more than 30 years before. Czarnowski is a Supplier Quality Engineer with the company's Depuy Synthes Spine group.
"Sheri's successful career is so inspiring," Czarnowski said. "We need more talented, intelligent, powerful female role models like her to emulate."
Although Czarnowski joins the STEM industry 35 years after McCoy, the young engineer still encounters gender disparity, something that took her by surprise.
"I never expected to encounter it in the 21st century," Czarnowski said.
Like McCoy, Czarnowski believes that women in STEM must advocate for themselves and for each other, and show through example that they are capable of excelling and changing the world. Danielle Czarnowski '15 mentors Gina Tigano '17, a UMassD bioengineering student. Danielle enjoys giving back to her alma mater and helping women succeed.
"It's not good enough to just have the technical skills. You have to be able to work as part of a team to solve problems."