Scholarship aims to encourage women in construction field
University of Houston women majoring in construction management have the opportunity to receive the first College of Technology Women in Construction Scholarship, which was introduced this spring.
“There’s not enough people reaching out or educating women about the construction field,” said Sandra Clunn, president of Enviro-San and Clunn Acoustical Systems.”Women are often misled in their perceptions of the construction industry, and this is a wonderful opportunity to make an impact.”
Clunn’s donation will provide immediate scholarship support in the amount of $2,500 a year for two years, as well as a permanent endowment to provide abiding scholarships in the construction sector.
“The construction industry is suffering from workforce shrinkage, manual and non-manual,” said Neil Eldin, director of Construction Management Programs.
“Women can bring an essential skill to the construction industry,” said Eldin. “By nature, women are naturally good at multi-tasking.”
Although construction is viewed as a male-dominate industry, Clunn and administrators believe women can be successful and bring a large contribution to the industry. Clunn is an example of success in the construction industry.
As a customer service representative for a successful delivery company, she resolved a delivery for MC Distributors, an acoustical ceiling supply company in Austin, Texas. By mistake, the delivery was made to another company on Austin Street in Houston. The client, MC Distributors, was impressed and extended Clunn her first career in the industry. She met her husband, Gordon, while working with the company. They founded Clunn Acoustical Systems, a rapidly growing company specializing in acoustical contracting for the commercial construction industry, and Enviro-San, focusing on drywall and insulating contract work.
“I had no formal background in construction, but I feel that this is my calling. I knew I was meant to be in business to build an empire for my children, as well as educate other women about the industry,” said Clunn.
“Our industry could prove intimidating and daunting without the education and knowledge of the opportunities available. Being well educated is vital to dealing with the challenges and proving yourself in a male-dominated work environment, but I have had excellent mentors, which is very important,” Clunn said.
Lisa Burns, director of advancement in the College of Technology, said women have not been encouraged enough to consider construction career options.
“Nationwide, a push exists to encourage more students to consider studying STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), especially women,” said Burns. “The discipline incorporates construction science with engineering and business concepts, requiring technical proficiency to succeed.”
“People are not reaching out and educating women on the construction field,” said Eldin. ” There is something for every woman — from the dresses and heels to the girl that likes to where boots and work outside.”
The UH Construction Management program is doing many projects to increase the knowledge of the construction industry, from conferences and newsletters to speaking engagements and Facebook.
“I am proud to give back to the University that helped me be successful,” said Clunn. “I want women on the forefront of this industry. I want us to unite and get an education.”