An Office of 40 People, Four of them Women

Beth Komorowski: Started in 1963 after Two Years of Engineering at UConn

bethI was hired as a tech aide – we helped out the engineers. Pipe bending is what I worked on. There’s a lot of piping on submarines. I would look at the plans and then set up the coordinates on sheets of paper.

There would be two of us that would do that. Someone else would read them off to make sure they agreed and then they went down to the computer lab. The results would come back a day or two later. They’d run all night.

Periodically we would take the results down to the pipe shops. They laid them out on the floor and bent them according to our coordinates. I had my own blue hardhat.

The first time we went to a launch, it was exciting to think that I had worked on that boat, that the pipes I worked on were inside it. That was a sense of pride, being part of something big.

There were 40 people in my department. Everybody had a couple years of college – math, science. Like in any office, you kind of gravitate to someone you have an interest in. We all mixed in pretty well. We used to play cards at noontime. Double-deck pinochle, men and women. We were all young and the same age and we partied a lot together after work.

Four of us were women. I never felt like I was treated differently. I was treated fairly. One of the women had a baby and left. One of them probably worked there 60 years. She never married. That was her life, really. Another one got married, left and went to a small company in Pawcatuck. I think she got into programming. I left when I was pregnant with our daughter Jill.

I felt like I was just one of the group, another worker. After having been at UConn with a bigger group of men and only a few women, it didn’t seem strange to me.