Sandra Gibson, Principle Engineer at Jabil, was recently featured in a Tampa Bay Times article after attending a private screening of the new movie Hidden Figures. The biographical drama is based on the true story of three black women working as NASA mathematicians responsible for the calculations and flight trajectories behind NASA’s first successful space launches.
As a female in STEM, the film made Gibson reflect back on her own career as a woman studying engineering. Despite experiencing moments where she felt like giving up, her perseverance and determination lead her along a journey that made her the leader she is today.
Before joining Jabil in 2011, Gibson held many significant roles and responsibilities that helped shape her career, including positions in advanced planning, Lean Six Sigma and industrial engineering.
Early on, she held internships at both General Motors and Sierra Research, where she learned about printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing. Upon graduation, she led the PCB group as lead supervisor and engineer.
Her next opportunity was working for a company in Rochester, NY, where she was granted secret clearance to work on naval contracts for the Fort Meade, MD, naval base.
Her longest tenure was with the Xerox Corporation where she continued in engineering and gained quality engineering experience along with obtaining a black belt in Lean Six Sigma.
When it comes to getting women interested in STEM fields, Gibson believes it’s important to have mentorship and to support high school programs that introduce STEM careers to students.
“Mentorship is an invaluable tool that enables one to succeed in any endeavor,” said Gibson. “Having the one-on-one communication from someone who has been where you want to go is priceless.”
She believes Jabil can play a role in getting women to pursue careers in this industry by providing workshops for middle and high school students, similar to Manufacturing Day activities, to introduce them to STEM opportunities within the company.
“I think the biggest challenge is letting women know that careers in STEM fields are available to them – to enable them to think; to imagine. Many women started early in age knowing this is something they wanted to do,” said Gibson. “Each of us should have a dream and go after that dream with all our heart.”
She goes on to explain that we should encourage and inspire women at Jabil to become future leaders by letting them know that they have the opportunity to obtain a sponsor who can help them in their career progression. “This would spur the growth of up and coming STEM professionals that will provide for the professional career pipeline needed to fill and back-fill job opportunities within Jabil.”
Aside from her time spent at Jabil, Sandra says she enjoys spending time with her family and giving back to the community.
“I’m so happy to work for a company that loves to serve its community,” said Sandra. “I’m able to balance my passion for community service along with supporting my family, church and career.”
Read more of the Tampa Bay Times article featuring Gibson here.