St. George’s School blends the strong traditions of its past with a bold vision for the future: to prepare young people in a journey of joy and discovery to lead “lives of constructive service to the world.” Located on a 125-acre campus overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, St. George’s is home to 370 boarding and day students in grades 9 through 12. Founded in 1896 as an Episcopal boarding school by the Rev. John Byron Diman, the school lives firmly in the 21st century, with state-of-the-art academic and athletic facilities. A community drawn from a wide range of traditions and backgrounds in the U.S. and around the world, St. George’s extends opportunities for teachers and students to deepen their skills, find new passions and discover their best selves, whether that be in a DNA sequencing lab, in competition on the basketball court, at sea navigating by starlight, or abroad in one of our unique service-learning internships. With a faculty committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for intellectual, social and personal development, St. George’s continues to fulfill its mission through enrolling a diverse, academically talented, and well-rounded student body.
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Guest speaker Heather Dionne talked about her experiences as an engineer with The Boeing Co. at St. George’s recent Brown Bag Lunch event on Jan. 19.
Approximately 30 students and faculty members attended the event, which was sponsored by the Science Department and held in the Academic Center, where Dionne talked about her high school interest in math and science and how it helped her get to where she is today.
“In high school, [I was] heavily interested in math and science. It was just interesting to me. I found it to fit my natural talents and so I made sure I that I took advanced math and advanced science classes,” Dionne said to students. “I know you guys have that opportunity here. I encourage you to take advantage of that. What that did for me was it allowed me to go into more advanced math classes in college.
Dionne highlighted how important the skills students pick up in high school are such as time management and studying and also encouraged students to pursue internships early on to explore their desired career paths.
Dionne holds two degrees in mechanical engineering – a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree from Duke University. She has worked with Boeing for over 30 years as a structural or systems engineer on multiple programs at the company’s Huntsville, Alabama, location, primarily in the space exploration and missile defense business sectors.
Her assignments at Boeing have taken her to Japan to review space payloads, Maui to identify improvements for an Air Force observatory operation, New Mexico for development of laser energy systems, and Texas for mission operations on Space Shuttle missions.
Dionne is currently on the technical staff of one of Boeing’s chief engineers and said she does a lot of teaching and coaching with other employees to work on details in problem areas.
“I end up where there are problems, helping figure out what those solutions are, or helping the team that needs to go solve them figure that out and put the plan together on how they’re going to actually close those open items,” said Dionne.
The Brown Bag Lunch was organized with the help of St. George’s Assistant Athletic Trainer and Assistant Director of Music Wendy Drysdale, who’s Dionne’s sister, to give students a chance to talk to a woman in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field.
More women are going into careers in STEM as younger generations enter the workforce and the population changes over time, according to Dionne.“Definitely within government as well as aerospace, [there’s] an emphasis on trying to get a better demographic or diverse workforce,” said Dionne. “An appreciation of, not just women, but diversity comes in many shapes and colors. Bringing different ideas to the table, different modes of how we work, how we communicate, how we solve the problems. There are many different correct answers to a lot of problems and so there typically isn’t one right answer, one right way to get there.”
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St. George’s School admits qualified students of any religion, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, or mental or physical disability to all the programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The school does not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, mental or physical disability, or any other status protected by applicable law in the administration of its educational policies, admissions, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other policies and programs.