Melanie Robinson’s interest in engineering began while watching educational children’s shows. She loved the segments where the hosts would visit factories to show how things were made.
Fast forward to the present, and Robinson now works as a hydrocarbons improvement manager at Dow’s St. Charles Operations. Now she is helping to engineer the facilities in which Dow products are produced.
Beyond her day job, Robinson has also been a leader in the company’s STEM diversity and inclusion efforts. She regularly speaks with young people – in schools and in Dow facilities – to inspire more students of color to pursue careers in STEM.
“It took one person to inspire me to go into the STEM career field,” she said. “I can do that for another student as well.”
Robinson is an inspiring example of an employee who imagines a more inclusive workplace and wider STEM community every day. She has been the subject of a Wall Street Journal ‘Profiles in Innovation’ video, where she shares what attracted her to a career in STEM and is candid about the challenges she has surmounted throughout her career as a Black woman in engineering.
“Melanie’s feature in the Wall Street Journal ‘Profiles in Innovation’ series is a small glimpse of the impact she makes at and around St. Charles Operations,” said Luca Balbo, Lead Site Manufacturing Director of the St. Charles facility. “She is an example of what it means to ‘Imagine Better’ for a more inclusive workplace and expand her love for STEM to the surrounding river parish region.”
Balbo said because the journey to diversity in STEM begins with building diverse talent pipelines, an effective way for the company to contribute to this is via strategic investments in diverse organizations.
“Melanie collaborating with our surrounding schools and community partners is an opportunity for students to get a candid and hands-on view of the variety of STEM careers available,” said Balbo.
In 2020, Dow invested $5 million to foster the Black STEM pipeline at five historically Black colleges and universities. More recently the company joined OneTen, a coalition of businesses that will work together over the next 10 years to upskill, hire and advance one million Black candidates into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement and professional development.
Dow has also established Dow ACTs – Advocacy, Community and Talent – a framework, informed by input from their employees, that is designed to address and dismantle systemic racism and inequity both within the company and in the community.