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​PennDOT Secretary, University of Scranton Host Moving Women Forward Town Hall


Scranton, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards and Dr. Joseph H. Dreisbach, interim provost at The University of Scranton, today spoke to more than 100 college and graduate students, faculty, and regional professionals on the importance of representation from women and minorities in public service and transportation.

The forum, titled Moving Women forward and held at The University of Scranton, was the fifth in a continuing series of discussions on this significant topic being held at universities and colleges across Pennsylvania.

"These events provide a much-needed opportunity for leaders to share their experiences and advice with other women and minorities, and encourage them to pursue careers and leadership positions in transportation and public service," Richards said. "Having diverse perspectives makes any team more effective."

Joining the discussion were Dr. Jean Wahl Harris, University of Scranton professor, and Barbara Idhaw, assistant vice president and bridge department manager at Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. Laura Ducceschi, president and CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation, moderated the session.

"We're honored to host this important conversation," said Dr. Joseph H. Dreisbach, interim provost at The University of Scranton. "As students, women at The University of Scranton have a wide range of academic opportunities, career development resources, and student support services available. This reflects the University's commitment to creating and sustaining a campus culture that values diversity, gender equity, and intercultural understanding."

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs in 2015 but held only 24 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that as of 2014, women made up approximately 50 percent of all public-sector employees, yet they held only 20 percent of leadership positions. Secretary Richards is an advocate for encouraging more women to enter the fields of engineering, transportation, and government, making teams more effective through diverse perspectives.

Members of the public who are interested in commonwealth employment can visit for more information. Information on student programs as well as professional opportunities at PennDOT is available at

MEDIA CONTACT: Rich Kirkpatrick or Erin Waters-Trasatt, 717-783-8800

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