This article is part of SWE Magazine’s Spring 2017 Issue. To view it on your mobile device, download the SWE Magazine app! Download it on the App Store or get it on Google Play.
Christine Merdon, P.E., is the first female chief operating officer (COO) of the Architect of the Capitol, bringing 30 years of engineering experience to the position. She has exerted tremendous influence on many of the iconic features in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area. Merdon was responsible for the recently completed Capitol Dome renovation, which posed many technical and logistical challenges. In addition to the high-visibility place the Capitol occupies, there were issues regarding historical preservation, replication of iconic historical construction features, plus deft management of contractors and stakeholders, all requiring skillful navigation.
Merdon has described her position as her “dream job.” She has also worked on projects at the White House, Camp David, and other support facilities. Earlier in her career, she was responsible for managing such visible projects as the Washington Nationals Park, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Merdon received her B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, and actively supports the women in engineering program there. The mother of a teenage daughter, Merdon has written about the importance of serving as an example and role model to young women, particularly young women interested in traditionally male-dominated professions.
Who Are the Women Engineers We Should Know?
Quite often, those who are behind the scenes and out of the limelight make real change in the workplace and in our communities. It is our intention to recognize such women and make their efforts better known in our SWE Magazine series “Women Engineers You Should Know.”
Casting a wide net, SWE Magazine staff and editorial board members seek contemporary women whose lives have embodied the Society’s mission to: “Stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force for improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.”
Through a variety of means, including fielding suggestions and conducting archival research, we will examine the stories of many women who have made a difference in these critical areas. Determining a final list is a daunting challenge, and our selections are in no way meant to be definitive. While some names you may recognize, many are not recognizable to most people. From a variety of perspectives, in different environments and moments in time, these women represent “ordinary” when doing “extraordinary” things. In saluting them, we are saluting all the women, known and unknown, past and present, who have advanced our mission.
Nominate women engineers to know for our next article. The deadline for submission of names is December 15, 2017. Submit nominations here.
With each submission, please include the following.
- Nominee info: name, why her, links supporting your nomination, areas of expertise, where is she located
- Nominator info: name, email, how you know the nominee
Thanks for your help, and look for the Spring 2018 issue of SWE Magazine.