When you were a young person deciding your career path, did you have a clear vision of what you wanted to do? Or did you learn about your field along the way? Energy Supply’s Senior project engineer Sherea Brown didn’t know about engineering until her senior year of high school, and now she spends as much time as she can informing students about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
During Women’s History Month, our company, along with the Women of DTE employee resource group, celebrate the accomplishments of women within our company and across the world. Sometimes, we go back and acknowledge those who helped us along the way.
Sherea says she owes her decision on her career path to Mrs. Moore, her high school counselor. After participating in mentoring and job shadow programs, Sherea hadn’t found a program that interested her, so she talked with Mrs. Moore. “She acknowledged that I excelled in math and science and recommended I consider becoming an engineer,” she says. “I had never heard of that field, so I started researching it. I found that there is a considerable focus on critical thinking and math. Plus, it was a financially sustainable career. Mrs. Moore guided me on how to apply for colleges and scholarships, and I ended up receiving five academic scholarships, one of which covered four-year tuition. I really owe my decision to Mrs. Moore.”
While attending Wayne State University for a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Sherea had three co-op rotations with DTE and two internships with General Motors. After six months in her first job out of college, she moved to Chicago to work with Sargent & Lundy, a power and energy architectural engineering firm. “I loved being able to manage projects and prepare deliverables, such as calculations, technical specifications and design drawings,” she says. “I primarily worked in nuclear technology where I supported multiple nuclear plants and their refueling outages. My most significant work was as a Mechanical Lead that developed design changes and technical plans for Fukushima Daiichi related NRC orders.”
Sherea moved back to Michigan 10 years later after starting a family, and she worked in a staff augmentation role at Fermi, which led her back to DTE, where she’s been for 6 years. She belongs to Women of DTE and recently started becoming more involved with advocacy in the group.
“Advocacy is usually the most significant act that sparks change towards a positive trajectory,” she says. “The comradery, events, guest speakers and shared experiences in Women of DTE help give me the fuel to keep moving forward in my growth as an engineer.”
When FIRST Robotics’ World Championship landed in Detroit, Sherea took it as an opportunity to expand her outreach for youth. FIRST prepares young people for STEM careers by teaching them valuable technical and business skills important for their future careers.
“I had the privilege of being a judge for First Robotics during World and district competitions here in Detroit,” she says. “Each time, I dedicated about four days as a judge where I visited a multitude of teams and discussed their concept and approach to design with them, as well as the functionality of their robots. It is so invigorating to see the excitement and pride students display when talking about their robots. I learn something new each time I speak with them. It also gives me the opportunity to provide encouragement to the students and acknowledge their accomplishments. “
Sherea has also visited local K-12 schools to talk to students about engineering. She said many students don’t know a lot about the field, and some even think engineering involves railroad work. “The field of engineering is so diverse and presents so many opportunities,” says Sherea. “In STEM, the potential for growth and learning is endless. STEM is sustainable and critical to our future, and it’s something young people should be a part of developing. I am beyond grateful for each opportunity I have to encourage young people to pursue a field in STEM like Mrs. Moore encouraged me.”