AET Honors Women’s History Month with Sherry Malecha, Senior Petrographer

AET Honors Women’s History Month with Sherry Malecha, Senior Petrographer

We are excited to continue recognizing all the extraordinary women on team AET who contribute to our company, present and future, during Women’s History Month! These women help shape not only AET but also the world, and their voices matter.

As we honor this month, we will highlight incredible women with powerful stories to share. Today, we will shine a spotlight on Sherry Malecha.

Please tell us about your position and experiences at AET.

I am one of the senior petrographers at the St. Paul office, and this is my 27th year with team AET.

I started at AET as a technician in the petrography lab after graduating from college with a geology degree. I worked part-time for 18 years while my two sons were young, which was an excellent balance for my family and career. I returned to working full-time a few years ago, and I am proud to be a part of AET through the development and growth of the petrography and chemistry lab.

What does your day-to-day look like?

I perform forensic analysis of hardened concrete, consisting of observations, photo documentation, and interpretations of saw-cut, lapped, and fractured sections of concrete. I view these concrete samples under a binocular stereo zoom microscope and a polarizing light microscope.

I examine various samples that are sent to the lab for petrography analysis, including airport and road pavements, bridges, driveways, foundations, parking garages, piers, and sidewalks.

This image of hardened concrete under a stereo zoom microscope at 20x magnification is an example of what Sherry looks at every day.

What has been the coolest project you have worked on? 

One memorable project I worked on was assessing concrete samples from the Pentagon crash site after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The petrography lab received concrete samples from structural columns and beams to analyze the degree of fire or heat-induced damage using parameters of color change and aggregate/paste cracking associated with fire intensity. I felt honored to be involved in this project, yet working with the samples so soon after the horrific incident gave me an eerie feeling.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, sports, and traveling with my family – my husband, Scott, and two sons, Carter and Colin. Recently, we have been exploring hiking trails along the north shore of Minnesota, as both of my sons attend the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Who inspires you?

Various people have inspired me throughout the years; however, the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my father. He taught me to stay focused and work hard, no matter what obstacles come my way.

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