Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology
This is the last issue of Diversity/Careers.



December 2018/January 2015

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Diversity/Careers December 2018/January 2015

From the publisher & editor
Women of color
Systems engineers
Pharma & biotech
LGBT tech pros
Grace Hopper Celebration
ITSMF Women’s Forum
Houston Area Urban League
Carnegie Mellon CSIT

WBEs in technology
News & Views
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views
Veterans in action

News and Views

Women of Color STEM conference presents awards to GM, Chrysler and more

Detroit, MI – The nineteenth annual Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) conference recognized and celebrated outstanding women in STEM in October.

The conference provides a national forum to present awards and highlight the achievements of women of color in STEM. It creates an arena for professional networking and offers opportunities for role models to develop and nurture professional mentoring relationships.

Alicia Boler-Davis, senior vice president of global quality and customer experience at General Motors, was named 2018 Technologist of the Year.

“We can never overestimate the impact we can have on young people considering STEM careers,” Boler-Davis said in an address to the audience of more than 1,500 technologists, engineers, scientists and students. “While many companies here are fierce competitors in the marketplace, the advancement of STEM education is one area where we are best served by working together.”

Among the other professionals recognized were Ragini Saxena, manager of sensor engineering at Northrop Grumman, career achievement- industry; Deborah Baker, chief of staff at the Naval Air Systems Command, career achievement- industry; Sarah Ashley Catlin, biomedical engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, outstanding technical contribution- government; and Sapna Jain, IT director at AT&T;, outstanding technical contribution- industry.

Chrysler Group LLC (Auburn Hills, MI) and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII, Newport News, VA) employees were well represented in the Special Recognition and Technology Rising Stars awards.

Fourteen HII shipbuilders were named as Technology Rising Stars, young women who are helping to shape technology for the future.

Sixteen HII shipbuilders received Technology All-Star awards, which recognize accomplished women of color from mid-career level and up who have demonstrated excellence in the workplace and in their communities.

Ten Chrysler Group women captured awards for excellence in managerial leadership or as Technology Rising Stars.

“The Women of Color awards recognize some of the most promising and influential women business and community leaders in the U.S.,” said Mike Keegan, senior vice president of human resources at Chrysler Group. “Chrysler Group is proud that our female employees continue to be recognized for their extraordinary technical achievements and leadership.”

Huntington Ingalls employees recognized for dedication to women engineers at SWE

Los Angeles, CA – Two Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII, Newport News, VA) employees were honored in October at the annual conference of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in Los Angeles.

Alma Martinez Fallon from HII’s Newport News shipbuilding division and Dianna Genton from HII’s Ingalls shipbuilding division received recognition for their dedication to women in the engineering profession.

“We are so proud that Alma and Dianna have been recognized for their hard work,” said Bill Ermatinger, HII corporate vice president and chief human resources officer. “Both are strong leaders in their fields and are engaged and dedicated to the promotion of engineering and STEM.”

Fallon, Newport News’s director of supply chain procurement, was recognized as a Fellow-grade member, an honor that recognizes continuous service to the advancement of women engineers. In her role at HII, Fallon is responsible for about $1 billion a year in subcontracting and services for aircraft carriers and submarines. In her twenty-seven-year career, she has moved up in the engineering and design division at Newport News, rising from individual contributor to management.

Genton, a naval architect at Ingalls, received an Emerging Leader award, one of only ten given annually by the society. The award recognizes women engineers with ten to fifteen years of engineering experience. Genton is currently the technical lead for two U.S. Office of Naval Research manufacturing technology programs at Ingalls.

She began her career at the shipyard in 2003. She has supported various test projects for the DDG 1000 guided missile destroyer program, and served as manufacturing lead for NASA’s Max Launch Abort System during the time when Ingalls supported NASA’s Constellation program.

Toyota’s $1 million pledge to American Indian College Fund supports students in STEM fields

Denver, CO – Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A is donating $1 million to the American Indian College Fund (AICF) to help Native American students earn degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The national Native American education nonprofit commemorated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2018.

Working with AICF, Toyota has helped more than 1,300 Native American students earn college degrees through its Toyota Tribal College Scholarship program since 1999. Four hundred thousand dollars of this most recent gift will continue Toyota’s scholarship program through 2018.

Erika Torres-Hernandez, a Chippewa- Cree tribe member and recipient of a Toyota Tribal College Scholarship, studies math at a tribal college in Rocky Boy, MT.

Torres-Hernandez plans to return to the reservation to teach high school when she graduates. “All my life I’ve loved math and helping people learn new concepts,” she says.

In addition to the $400,000 in scholarships, Toyota’s donation includes $250,000 in unrestricted funds to AICF, $150,000 in in-kind gifts, and $200,000 to fund environmental sustainability programs at the TCUs.

The resurgence of interest amongst Native American students in the environmental sustainability and science fields dovetails with Toyota’s philanthropic goals that focus on education, safety and the environment. “We consider it a great privilege to celebrate the American Indian College Fund’s twenty-fifth anniversary with this gift. AICF’s ongoing work is critical not only to the Native American community, but for all of us who value diversity of thought and culture in our communities,” said Michael Rouse, Toyota vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of AICF, said, “We are pleased to expand our partnership with Toyota in support of the education of our students. Tribal colleges address the dismal reality that only about one percent of Native American people get to go to college. Because of the support of Toyota, we can provide access to college to dozens of students. This is an amazing and welcome commemoration of the College Fund’s twenty-fifth anniversary and directs us down the path of even more educational success for the next twenty-five years.”

Barbara Ryder of Virginia Tech receives AAUW of Virginia’s Women of Achievement award

Blacksburg, VA – Barbara Ryder, the J. Byron Maupin professor of engineering and head of the department of computer science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg) received the biennial Woman of Achievement award from the American Association of University Women of Virginia (AAUW) at its 2018 state conference.

“This award is given to a Virginia woman who has made outstanding educational, civic and cultural contributions; demonstrated excellent leadership skills; and contributed to the advancement of women with positive impact in our state and nation. This year we are focusing on women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. It is a priority of AAUW of Virginia to encourage and support women and girls’ interest and entrance into STEM careers. By all measures, Dr Ryder surpasses our criteria,” said Caroline Pickens, AAUW state president.

Ryder is a founding member of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Pacesetters program that strives to increase the number of women in computer science. She continues working with Pacesetters as Virginia Tech’s executive champion for the program. She has worked to increase the number of women graduating from college with technical degrees by targeting outreach efforts to high schools. “Our goal here is to connect with about 100 high school girls each year,” Ryder said.

As a member of Pacesetters, Virginia Tech is among about two dozen industrial and academic organizations working to draw from previously untapped talent pools of technical women and retain women who are at risk of leaving, resulting in the recruitment of a higher number of new women for the computing and the information technology workforce.

In 2011, Ryder was a founding member of the NCWIT VA/DC Aspirations in Computing awards, which recognize high school women for their interest and achievement in computing.

Ryder has been a Fellow of the ACM since 1998, received the ACM President’s award in 2008, and its SIGPLAN Distinguished Service award in 2001. She serves ACM in multiple leadership capacities. She was a member of the board of directors of the Computer Research Association from 1998 until 2001. At Rutgers, where she was on the faculty before coming to Virginia Tech in 2008, she received the Graduate School Teaching award in 2007, the Leader in Diversity award in 2006, and the Professor of the Year award in computer science in 2003.

She has a 1969 AB degree in applied mathematics from Brown University, a 1971 masters degree in computer science from Stanford University, and a 1982 PhD in computer science from Rutgers University.

AAUW promotes equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

Radhakrishnan appointed to consortium of leading women in cloud computing

Palo Alto, CA – Shobana Radhakrishnan, VP of engineering for Mindflash (Palo Alto, CA), was recently appointed to the board of CloudNow (San Francisco, CA).

CloudNow is a nonprofit consortium of the leading women in cloud computing, focused on using technology for the overall professional development of women from around the world by providing a forum for networking, knowledge sharing, mentoring and economic growth.

Radhakrishnan joined Mindflash in March. She directs the company’s technical strategy and leads development of its cloud-based corporate learning platform. Mindflash provides online platforms for employee and customer training. The company’s executive team is 50 percent diverse and 50 percent female.

In March, Mindflash CEO Donna Wells said, “We’re very excited to add Shobana’s experience and talents to our team. We are an Agile team delivering very high-volume, complex training content across the world to millions of desktops and mobile devices. Shobana’s experience leading teams facing precisely these challenges will be instrumental in our ability to continually deliver a fantastic experience to business trainees worldwide who are taking courses in Mindflash.”

Radhakrishnan has held engineering leadership positions at Netflix, Yahoo, Symantec and Excite@Home. She has a masters degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Radhakrishnan is also working to launch TekSpark, a nonprofit to promote gender balance in technology by engaging young girls at the grassroots level in schools and communities with information and mentorship.

Great Minds in STEM HENAAC award winners include seven Cal State LA students

Los Angeles, CA – Ernesto Covarrubias, a Cal State Los Angeles ME major, has been selected by Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) as this year’s recipient of the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation (HENAAC) undergraduate student leadership award.

“I am excited to receive this honor and represent my Cal State LA community,” said Covarrubias. “I’m looking forward to furthering my education and sharing my experiences and knowledge with students so they may also be successful in the future.”

As part of the award, Covarrubias will receive a HENAAC/Chrysler Foundation scholarship. He received a stipend to attend the conference in New Orleans at the beginning of October, and was honored at the conference’s student leadership dinner.

Most recently, Covarrubias was one of six students selected to join a summer research program in Costa Rica. He and his team combined their knowledge of research and statistics methods to analyze problems impacting biodiversity in Costa Rica. He plans to pursue a masters degree after graduating from Cal State LA.

Six additional Cal State LA students were named 2018 HENAAC Scholars and received merit-based scholarships.

At the conference, Grace Lieblein, VP of global purchasing and supply chain at General Motors, was named Engineer of the Year. Scientist of the Year was Dr Sergio Torres, a Lockheed Martin Fellow. Awards for executive excellence went to Maura Gregorio, business president for feedstocks and energy at Dow Chemical, and Rear Admiral Ronald J Rabago, assistant commandant and chief engineer of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Additional honorees are employees of major corporations and government agencies. For a complete list of award winners and more information about GMiS, see www.greatmindsinstem.org.

FIU and Chrysler bring Engineers on Wheels to Miami-Dade County public schools

Miami, FL – The College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University (FIU, Miami) rolled engineering education into South Florida’s public school classrooms this fall with the launch of Engineers on Wheels, a hands-on STEM education initiative sponsored by Chrysler Group LLC (Auburn Hills, MI) and the Chrysler Foundation, the automotive company’s charitable arm.

The initiative will be part of FIU’s Education Effect, a university/community/school partnership that launched its second site at Booker T. Washington Senior High School this year. The Engineers on Wheels van will visit South Florida classrooms, providing hands-on activities and engineering experiments led by FIU students and overseen by FIU faculty.

“We are delighted that FIU is bringing its Engineers on Wheels program to Miami-Dade County public schools,’’ said Cristian Carranza, an administrative director with the district who oversees science, math, career and technical education. “This will give our students the kind of high-tech, hands-on education they need to prepare for future success in STEM subjects and careers.”

As part of the Chrysler Group’s broader strategy to recruit and retain talent, especially in the field of engineering, the company has worked closely with FIU to recruit twenty-plus students over the past three years. “Inspiring young, bright people to pursue education and careers in STEM is essential to Chrysler Group’s ability to compete and succeed,” said Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of talent acquisition and diversity at Chrysler.

Chrysler donated a new 2018 Ram ProMaster van and the Chrysler Foundation donated $15,000 to help FIU establish the Engineers on Wheels program.

JoAnn Browning named dean of UTSA engineering college

San Antonio, TX – JoAnn Browning, associate dean of administration and professor of civil engineering in the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas (KU), has been named dean and David and Jennifer Spencer distinguished chair of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Engineering.

“Dr Browning has great experience as a researcher and administrator, a strong commitment to student success, and, most importantly, a track record of collaboration and consensus building,” said John H. Frederick, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “She is committed to expanding the college and building on its community and industry partnerships.”

Browning earned her bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky. She earned her PhD in civil engineering from Purdue University and joined the faculty at KU as assistant professor in 1998, earning tenure in 2004 and promotion to professor in 2010.

As associate dean of administration at KU, Browning oversaw engineering faculty hiring, innovative teaching programs and the assessment of every aspect of the school’s operations.

“Joining UTSA is an incredible opportunity to take what I have learned about managing healthy growth in an engineering program and apply my knowledge so the growth benefits UTSA’s talented and diverse student body and supports the goals of the College of Engineering,” said Browning.

Browning also hopes to create faculty development and mentoring programs for the engineering faculty.

Her own research interests include structural engineering, earthquake engineering, engineering materials, and reinforced concrete design and analysis. She is actively involved in research to improve the durability of concrete bridge decks through studies of corrosion protection systems and low cracking, high-performance bridge decks.

Her work is also aimed at improving the design and performance of concrete bridges subjected to earthquake motion. She received the Young Member award for professional achievement from the American Concrete Institute (ACI) in 2008 and was named an ACI Fellow in 2009.

Purdue student goes to northern slope of Mauna Loa volcano to spend eight months on Mars

West Lafayette, IN – Jocelyn Dunn, an industrial engineering doctoral student at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN), is spending eight months in a domed habitat on a volcanic landscape mimicking life on a Martian outpost.

Dunn is one of six participants and one of two grad students in the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission, which began in October.

She and the other researchers are living in a habitat located at an elevation of about 8,000 feet in an abandoned quarry on the northern slope of the Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. The program focuses on the study of social, interpersonal and cognitive factors that affect team performance during long-duration space travel, such as missions to Mars.

“It’s analogous to Mars but translates well to any situation that requires teamwork and a reliance on technology,” Dunn said. She will chronicle her experience in a blog at fivestarview.blogspot.com.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa leads the study, supported with NASA funding.

Conditions mimic those of life on a Martian base. The domed structure has a single porthole overlooking lava fields and the dormant volcano Mauna Kea in the distance. When exploring and mapping the terrain, crew members will wear spacesuits as though on Mars. All communications will be delayed twenty minutes to simulate transmissions between Earth and Mars. During their eight months inside the habitat, the crew will be continuously monitored using surveillance cameras, body movement trackers, electronic surveys and other methods.

Dunn’s research specialty is data analytics, using data to support decision-making that can lead to systems improvements. “During the HI-SEAS mission, I will monitor habitat systems data and develop analytics to optimize crew schedules and mission performance,” she said.

Dunn has a 2011 masters in biomedical engineering from Purdue and a 2009 bachelors in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, FL).


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