When students leave the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, they do so with more than just a diploma in hand. Take Amanda Hodges, a 2016 UTC graduate who, upon her entrance into a college education, never would have guessed the direction of her career or the achievements it would reap.

She had succeeded in STEM in high school, and envisioned for herself work in a lab one day. Though craftsmanship was an influential generational given in her family, the possibility of a career in the manufacturing industry was the furthest thing from her mind. Her acceptance of an adventitious manufacturing internship marked for her the completion of an unconscious puzzle. Now, having received the honor of being chosen as one of the 2020 STEP Ahead Emerging Leaders, Amanda is certain that she chose one of the most fulfilling careers possible.

Her day-to-day involves critical thinking and problem solving that produces tangible effects. “Manufacturing,” she says, “is a place where ideas become reality. I thrive in an environment where creativity is encouraged, and the results are very tangible. Every day is different and filled with new challenges. I am honored to be part of an industry which continues to change our world.” Of her company in particular, she says that “BASF has been a really great steward for me in taking those steps to become an emerging leader.”

The result of this initiative is clear: reception of a STEP Ahead Award, which is granted annually to women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields who have exhibited leadership within their organizations.

For Amanda, the willingness to lead has been easy to muster given the stimulating career in which she takes pride. She gets a taste of a wide variety of projects and products, making her path well-suited to the “jack of all trades” worker who seeks to positively affect those around them.

Amanda Hodges’ interest in what would become her livelihood was cultivated by the craftsmanship of her father and grandfathers. They impacted her. In turn, she seeks to impact others, and her role at BASF allows her to see the results of her efforts on a daily basis. Additionally, she takes an active role in impressing the value of craft and manufacturing in turn as her models did for her. Her work with local STEM Days and as a volunteer with BASF’s Kids’ Lab during National Chemistry Week at local Orchard Knob Elementary School is beneficial to a host of young students, and particularly young girls, as they are exposed to a whole host of career paths they might have thought unexplorable. STEM paths are worth exploration in the lives of women and girls both worldwide and right here in Chattanooga, where Amanda Hodges proves herself an adept leader at BASF and is recognized, through the 2020 STEP Ahead Awards, for her achievements.

To women and girls interested in adding their footsteps to the manufacturing mix Amanda would say “expect it to be super rewarding” as you come to realize exactly “how you can impact your community.” Congratulations to Amanda Hodges on this accomplishment!

For more information: https://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/people/amanda-hodges/

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