Rachel Smithers – one of ArcelorMittal’s amazing women

Posted on 19.03.09 by

ArcelorMittal.com

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Steel has not traditionally been a "female" industry. However, as with other industries, things are changing: it is not unusual now to see women mill operators, miners or CEOs at our sites. Rachel Smithers is one of these trailblazers. Metallurgical engineer at ArcelorMittal Steelton, US, she explains why she chose the steel industry and what it is like being a woman in the sector.

“I have always been interested in science.When I was a little girl, I wanted to be the first female astronaut when I grew up! I had some early internships that turned me towards how machines and materials work. Those experiences focused my college studies on engineering. The steel industry gave me the best opportunities to apply the understanding of how processing, structure and properties of materials all influence each other.

At this point in my career, I don’t think being a woman is an obstacle or an advantage in my job. When I was newer here, I think some of the operators were afraid to be themselves around me; they saw me more like a daughter than a colleague. But, after 10 years, I really don’t think I am treated any differently because of being a woman. That said, I feel proud that, for young women starting their careers in 2009, being a woman in the steel industry is not as much of a novelty as it was when I started in 1998.

My favourite thing about my job is the variety. I have become involved with many projects across multiple operations, worked with a wide range of people, and have had the opportunity to take on new challenges to keep from getting stale in my position.”

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