Peach Bottom's Sarah Ramos (below left)
and Limerick's Rachel Heath (below right)
and have always been interested in how nuclear plants operate. Ramos knew from the first moment she stepped in the main control room of a nuclear plant that she wanted to be a nuclear plant operator. Heath was intrigued by how the nuclear process worked and wanted to learn more about plant systems.
After working as engineers during the first several years of their careers, they each made the move to operations, and last month were promoted to Shift Manager at their respective stations.
Like all shift managers, Ramos and Heath put in hours of preparation, training and hard work to become qualified. They are unique at their stations, though, because they are Peach Bottom's and Limerick's first female shift managers. But more women will follow in their footsteps, thanks to organizations like Women in Nuclear and several supportive male colleagues.
"I've been fortunate to have had bosses who, though they're not women, have supported me and my aspirations from day one. Their reinforcement that I deserve the positions I have achieved, that I belong, has gone a long way to internally silence the few naysayers that I've encountered," Ramos said.
"I've always felt welcomed by my coworkers and treated like everyone else," Heath said. "I often forget about the gender imbalance unless I take a moment to step back and look around the room to see how many women are there."
When asked about what advice they would share with other women interested in nuclear operations or STEM-related fields, they both said women should go after what they want and not be intimidated by fields of study typically dominated by men. Take pride in challenging gender barriers.
"Show your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and other young women that there are no such things as gender roles," Ramos said. "Women can do anything men can do, and vice versa; your only limitations are the ones you place on yourself."
"Follow your passions and recognize that being different adds value by bringing different ways to approach problems and develop solutions," Heath said.
Ramos has 16 years of experience in the nuclear Industry in engineering and operations. She earned her senior reactor operator license at Peach Bottom and has held positions as Shift Supervisor, Operations Online Manager, Operations Assistant Outage Manager, and Assistant Shift Manager. Before joining Exelon, Ramos was a Staff Engineer at Hope Creek Generating Station. She earned her bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College and an MBA from University of Delaware.
Heath began her career as an intern in the nuclear fuels department in Kennett Square in 2005 and later became a Reactor Engineer at Limerick Station. She earned her senior reactor operator license at Limerick in 2011 and has worked as Clearance and Tagging Supervisor, Outage Control Room Supervisor during Li1R17, Senior Reactor Operator and Shift Technical Advisor. She has a bachelor's degree in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State University.