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Meet Pamela McCauley: Entrepreneur & Engineer

The road to becoming an engineer is rarely easy, but for Dr. Pamela McCauley Bush it was especially challenging. A welfare-supported teenage mother in high school, Bush was repeatedly told that higher education and a successful career were too much to hope for. Undaunted, she worked persistently towards her goal of becoming an engineer, ultimately earning a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering – the first African-American woman to be granted an engineering doctorate in her home state of Oklahoma.

After serving on the MIT faculty and acting as a management consultant for NASA, Dr. Bush and a female colleague decided to found their own company. Tech-Solutions, Inc is a small engineering consulting business that helps government and private agencies develop solutions to management and efficiency issues.

In addition to running Tech-Solutions, Dr. Bush currently is a professor at the University of Central Florida, where she leads the Ergonomics Laboratory and has won numerous teaching awards. There she conducts research in disaster management. Her 2012 book, Transforming Your STEM Career Through Leadership and Innovation: Inspiration and Strategies for Women, offers a practical, research-based guide for individuals, organizations, and communities seeking to increase innovation and nurture innovators.

There is no better time than now for young African-Americans to pursue a STEM education, McCauley-Bush maintains. “We no longer have to fight to sit in front of the bus, to go to class, or to gain an education. However, in many cases, today’s fight is to convince each other of the opportunities we should pursue,” she writes in a recent blog post. Given the $1 trillion in purchasing power of African Americans, “it would benefit our community to participate in the industry creating these technologies,” she writes.

Appearing on  CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch, a show about creative entrepreneurship, she elaborated on her background and what motivated her to keep pursuing engineering:

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