Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Science and Engineering


Maureen Byko

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference







The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society

Publication Date



Andrea Hodge is a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her research interests focus on nanomechanics and the processing and characterization of nanocrystalline materials. Despite her accomplishments, when a group of Japanese scientists visited to meet with her recently, they waited patiently for “Dr. Hodge” to arrive. The catch was, Hodge was already there. They had seen her, but assumed she was a secretary. “It had not occurred to them that it would be me,” Hodge said. Hodge, a 2004 TMS Young Leader Intern from the Structural Materials Division, laughs when she tells that story. She laughs when she talks about the men who did not want her in study groups as an undergraduate—“I thought, ‘Fine, then I’ll ruin the curve for you.’” She jokes about choosing whether to have a family or a career in science, and about male subordinates challenging her authority. For every anecdote about a gender-specific hurdle she has overcome, Hodge can offer a punch line. Yet the issues she faced could be seen as more than one woman’s humorous life stories. Many are examples of challenges, from subtle assumptions made by individuals to systemic difficulties imposed by institutions, that are thought to be deterring capable women from careers in the sciences.


Originally published by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). HTML fulltext available through remote link.