Monica Simpson, Senior Pricing Analyst, Booz Allen Hamilton
Monica Simpson’s father, an industrial engineer who raised his daughters to value math and science, made sure she dove into STEM head-on. “He had been a math teacher, and he expected us to do well. He would always tell us if you can do math, you can do anything.”
Simpson’s career certainly reflects that. Spanning from industrial to cost engineering, she understands not only how things are produced but how to price that production. “‘ Pricing Analysts’ are the people who work with the proverbial ‘spreadsheets from Hell'” is how she jokingly explains her role at Booz Allen Hamilton.
“It keeps my brain active. I am always learning new things. And knowing how hard it is to develop, produce, market, sell and sustain new technology gives me an appreciation for other tech I was never a part of developing.”
She believes there are many opportunities for women in the tech industry. “Women are incredibly flexible, have a great ability to multitask, and are emotionally intelligent. In today’s world of work, where there are virtual teams, teams of teams, lots of different specialties from various parts of an organization or business collaborating to innovate something new, those skills are important.”
She sees mentoring as key to growing the number of women in technology. “With women still seriously underrepresented in many STEM fields, it can be hard for a young woman to visualize and pursue success. Studies indicate that when women in STEM have female peers to support them, they’re less likely to drop out of doctoral programs,” she explains.
With that in mind, Simpson, who attributes her love of engineering to her passion for problem-solving, started a STEM club at St. Anthony Catholic School for her daughter and her classmates. “It’s very important if we want to encourage women in STEM and technology early on. It’s important to give back.”
She also speaks at schools to encourage students to pursue science. “It really makes a difference when you encourage people around you, and you treat people with respect, and you encourage them. When you look at someone, look at what’s the best they have in there. Bring the best out of them. Instead of looking at what’s wrong with them, look at what’s right with them.
“I was blessed to have a mom and dad who encouraged me in math and science, and I have had mentors encourage me when things got difficult or when I felt like giving up. That’s why I decided to give back to the community, encourage children and give them hope and open their eyes to STEM. We need to open their eyes to what they can see or what they can be.”