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Daughters join mothers at work

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2000

Shirley Warner, Soldotna police chief, had company in the patrol car Thursday.

Warner's daughter, Morgan, a 16-year-old student at Soldotna High School, took advantage of Take Our Daughters To Work Day to get some firsthand experience.

"I think she's old enough now to know some of the details of my job," said Warner.

Morgan is considering a career in science, but her mother's profession must be having an effect.

"Maybe I'll join the Central Intelligence Agency," said Morgan, laughing. "And I'll do science on the weekend."

Warner and her daughter were part of the millions of young women and parents across the United States celebrating a day that focused on encouraging girls to think about diversity and gender equity.

Research on girls in the early 1990s showed a significant drop in self-esteem, lowered sense of self-worth and intense feelings of insecurity in girls 11 to 16 years of age. In 1993, Ms. Foundation for Women created Take Our Daughters To Work Day to help girls stay strong and remain confident. Corporate sponsors include American Express Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Ford Motor Company, Reebok International and others.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration participated Thursday with an online forum that allowed hundreds of students, parents and schools to discuss and celebrate opportunities with a 17-member panel of female NASA leaders. Panelists featured such prominent individuals as Eileen Collins, the first woman selected to be a space shuttle pilot and first woman to command a space shuttle, and Shannon Lucid, who holds the space flight endurance record for her work on the space station Mir for six months.

Joyce Cox, field executive for Alaska's Susitna Council of Girl Scouts, headed up the local activities.

The Susitna Council extends from the Aleutians to the Canadian border and has approximately 6,000 scouts.

A noon luncheon at Riverside House in Soldotna featured speakers Pam French, chief warrant officer for the Alaska Army National Guard, Paige Lewis and Cate Daday, pilots for Era Aviation, and Kati Sanders, a former database administrator for Unocal.

French, who flew an Alaska Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to the luncheon, lives in Wasilla. She has two young sons and is married to an Alaska State Trooper. She answered questions about her flying and career in the guard.

"My family is my top priority," said French. "I'm a full-time mom. The guard is my part-time job."

Lewis flies for Era as first officer in the Convair 580. Daday serves as first officer on Era's Dash 8. The two women described the different paths that led them to aviation.

Sanders discussed the data she collected as an employee for Unocal and the opportunity, as a Unocal employee, to complete her college education. She left full-time employment two years ago to be a full-time mother and holds a part-time position in a Wasilla doctor's office.

Savanna K. Schoessler, an 8-year-old student from Soldotna Elementary School, won an hour limo ride donated by Harold Ward of Superior Coach Services. Those sitting around Schoessler offered a variety of ideas for how she might use the hour, including having the limo deliver her and her friends to school.

Brownie scout Olivia Bower, a first grader from Redoubt Elementary School, attended the luncheon with her mother, Barbara Massegee. Bower's classmate and fellow troop member, Mariah Henson, also was there. Henson's mother, Carrie Henson, is troop leader for Troop 207.

Connie Downs, the service unit manager, trainer and leader for Girl Scout Troop 118, shared lunch with her 11-year-old daughter, Melissa. During the morning, Melissa, a home schooler, went to work with her father, Bryan Downs, the director of Central Peninsula General Hospital's information systems.

"She got to see a little of what I do," said Bryan Downs. "And she got the grand tour of the facility. I'm not sure she's convinced what I do is the job for her, but she definitely saw some options."

Johni Calloway, administrative assistant for the Kenai Peninsula Borough clerk, worked alongside her daughter Jessica, a student at Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School.

"I think this is a great program," said Calloway. "Mayor Bagley was very supportive and so was my boss, Linda Murphy."

"Being with my mom is the most fun part," Jessica said .

Kim Baumgardner, the visitor services manager at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, shared her workday with daughter Jenna, also a K-Beach Elementary School student. They spent the day preparing the chamber's newsletter and taking advantage of the sunny weather by doing some landscaping around the chamber office.

Debbie Tressler, head secretary at the K-Beach school, shared her work duties with daughter Kaleene.

Kaleene's teacher, Sue Crane, asked students participating in Take Our Daughters To Work activities, to prepare a report on how their parents used reading, math, organizational and people skills in their job.

"I'm counting money and helping my mom with time sheets," said Kaleene.

Her favorite part?

"Counting the money," she said.

Some daughters had responsibilities outweighing going to work with their parents.

Melissa Knight, of Glass Menders, often has her 6-year-old daughter D.J. help her at work. But Knight and her daughter decided D.J. should attend her kindergarten class at K-Beach Elementary School on Thursday.

"Today was D.J.'s day to take treats to class," said Knight. "We couldn't disappoint 30 other kids."



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