The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Paula Hammond Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

December 4, 2013


“A Trailblazing Woman in Engineering”  December 4, 2013  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Hammond recounts her upbringing in Klamath Falls, her decision to attend OSU and study engineering, her social experience as an undergraduate and the challenges that she faced as one of only eight females in a civil engineering program of 120 total students. She also provides a detailed overview of her thirty-four years working for the Washington Department of Transportation, including her early field engineering assignments and her gradual movement through the ranks of various administrative positions. Her appointment and experiences as state Secretary of Transportation are discussed at length, with the evolution of her agenda, her dealings with legislators, her use of metrics and several memorable moments on the job included as highlights.

The final portion of the interview focuses on Hammond's career movements following WSDOT, her perspective on high-profile public works projects currently in the news, and her thoughts on the future of transportation, including the "driverless car." She concludes by offering advice to young women interested in pursuing careers in engineering.