Leonore C. Witchey-Lakshmanan
Section Leader, Schering-Plough Research Institute
Kenilworth, NJ
(also Year 2000 AIChE Women's Initiatives Committee Chair)

Previous discussions have reviewed the results of statistical findings, commission studies and various independent reports. These outline the exciting and provocative research regarding the development of female engineers, from kindergarten through practicing the profession. Each of us, both woman and man alike, is an expression of the culmination of these results. Each of us falls somewhere in the continuum of heroines and heroes who have promoted the development of both genders as fully contributing engineers. It is incumbent upon our generation to determine exactly where we as individuals fall along this continuum. Once we determine where, then we must establish how our lives will express themselves in the continuing effort for the advancement of all people in our demanding profession. This presentation is an overview of the types of influences our culture has on the development of one female engineer. It will touch on the impact of various social aspects on this engineer, from childhood development, through high school influences, collegiate support and industrial experiences. It will review one perspective on the navigation and balancing of family and professional life, while keeping in mind personal fulfillment.  The hope is that this discussion will assist each of us in determining our place in the continuum of talented engineers. Once we know that, then perhaps we can assimilate all aspects of our culture so that we can most effectively live our lives. Only then can each of us most effectively advance our own careers, as well as those of our colleagues and those yet to come.

Dr. Witchey began her career in 1988 in the Animal Formulation Development group of Merck Research Laboratories after receiving her degrees in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State and North Carolina State Universities.   While at Merck, she participated in the dosage form development of several product classes, including bio-erodible implants as well as antiparasiticides for companion animals.  In 1994, she continued her career in veterinary medicine development at Schering-Plough Research Institute, developing long acting injectable formulations, as well as orals and topicals for both food and companion animals.  She currently heads a group in Sterile Product Formulation Development in SPRI, with activity in protein/peptide, gene therapy and small molecule formulation development.  She is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is active in AIChE as chair of WIC 1999-2000, as well as other professional societies.