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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Alumna Was Guest Speaker for Womengineers Day

Kathy Bethany, a 1981 graduate of Old Dominion University who helps the federal government oversee building costs around the world, was the guest speaker for the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology's Womenengineers Day Saturday, Feb. 18.

Director of the Office of Cost Management in the Overseas Building Operations (OBO) of the U.S. State Department, Bethany engaged to an audience of female K-12 students in Kaufman Hall that Saturday during open house events.

Bethany, who has been in her State Department position since June 2007, oversees an office responsible for identifying all costs associated with OBO work, during all stages of project development, from concept to construction completion.

The office is also responsible for OBO's value engineering program, which recommends alternatives to project management that improve function and value to taxpayers.

Bethany earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from ODU and received an M.B.A. from the University of New Mexico.

Womengineers Day is part of the Batten College's annual open house. During the two-day event, which begins Friday, Feb. 17, educators and prospective ODU engineering students will visit the campus, tour the college's facilities, learn more about student engineering clubs and societies, and participate in design contests.

The Batten College established Womengineers Day in recognition of the need to attract more women to the engineering field. In the past several years, ODU has seen its percentage of female engineering students rise to more than 15 percent, with a success rate better than the student population as a whole.

Bethany was in a decided minority as an ODU engineering student in the late 1970s and early '80s, but her career took off after she left Norfolk. She has worked in high-profile civil service jobs for the past 25 years, including stints with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Voice of America and the Training and Doctrine Command for the U.S. Army.

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