Academics, Campus wide, College of Science and Mathematics

Women in Industry honor CSU dean

By Jan Joslin | April 25, 2022
Women in Industry panelists: Rocco Tomasso, senior structural design engineer, Boeing; Ashby; Dr. Nelson Akwari, director, Interiors Responsibility Center South Carolina, Boeing; and Kevin Graham, director of plant engineering, Volvo. Photo by Jan Joslin

The recent Charleston Women in Industry Conference included a panel of men who were nominated and chosen based on their record of supporting and empowering women in the workplace.

Dr. Todd Ashby, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, joined three men from Boeing and Volvo to discuss how they empower women in the workplace.

Ashby brought the house down when the panel was asked to name some women who had influenced them. The other panelists named prominent CEOs, several nationally known. Ashby named his maternal grandmother. A single mother with an 8th grade education, Ashby’s grandmother loved numbers and taught Ashby fractions when he was 5. “I became a PhD in mathematics and have influenced thousands because of her,” he said.

Dr. Todd Ashby and Dr. Valerie Sessions, CSU affiliate professor of computer science, at the Charleston Women in Industry Conference. Photo provided

Ashby said he learned his respect for people and women early in life because of his strong grandmother and mother. Ashby said he focuses on hiring the best. He pointed out the best math and engineering majors at CSU are currently female, and three of the six chairs in the College of Science and Mathematics are female.

He said people want to be treated in an equal fashion. “People respond to humility much more than arrogance,” said Ashby. “When we disagree, we need to decide how we are going to move forward together.”

The panelists agreed there was much that could be done to impact women in the workplace. They encouraged women to apply when there were openings at the leadership level. 

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