Mackenzie Williams is a sophomore in chemical engineering with a minor in genetics at North Carolina State University. Her professional interest is in genetically engineering pharmaceuticals to match a person’s DNA to facilitate the curing process in chronic illness. She promotes women in engineering and technical science through her involvement with AΩE, as a co-chair for philanthropy and sisterhood at the Gamma chapter, and as a freshman, she assumed a leadership position at the Spring 2013 Engineering Career Fair. Mackenzie maintains a 4.0 GPA while she also fundraised for Ronald McDonald House and breast cancer research, painted picnic tables for the local YMCA, and promoted recycling at the football stadium, all within her first year in college.
Nicole Mowder is a sophomore in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was able to explore different engineering disciplines at a local high school engineering program, where her group developed a safety feature to be incorporated into generators to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Her instructor, James Gilford, noted that her leadership during the team’s capstone project was indispensable. Nicole is a student athlete on RPI’s Varsity Women’s Soccer team, and she co-leads the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. She is an alumni advocate of her high school engineering program, a math tutor, and she led a group of high school girls on a tour of Northrop Grumman.
Caitlin Mackey is a junior in mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a perfect grade point average. The San Diego native fell in love with building, innovating, and engineering as a founding member of an all-girl high school robotics team, and she continues to advocate female participation as a volunteer for FIRST Robotics. She is a leader in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and a starter on the varsity field hockey team. This past summer, Caitlin interned at SpaceX in the Merlin Propulsion Division. Her mechanical engineering professor, Dr. Ian Hunter, stated that he “can confidently predict that with her drive and talent, she will do extremely well in her endeavors and interests in science, technology, and engineering.”
Yinyi Chen is a sophomore in computer engineering and computer science at University of Southern California. She finds computer science fascinating because of the vibrant pace at which change occurs in the field. In her Introduction to Computer Science course, Yinyi led a robot demonstration for middle school students and was chosen as one of the top projects by the middle school students. She also volunteers at a local elementary school by tutoring students, assisting with audiovisual technology, and general office work. Yinyi also helps to plan philanthropy and day away at the Epsilon chapter of AΩE.
Kirstie Gildemeister is a sophomore in metallurgical engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Kirstie was the president of her residence hall and joined AΩE as the treasurer of her candidate class. She promotes engineering and science as a Student Ambassador for prospective students visiting her school and participates in Society of Women Engineers events. Her department head, Michael West, PhD, describes her as “a rising star in the department” and “a great asset for the department even in her first year.” Kirstie is the first legacy recipient of a Foundation scholarship; her mother is Beta chapter alumna Teresa (Leonhardt) Gildemeister.
Nora Petran is a sophomore in mechanical engineering at the University of Iowa. Ever since she was a child, she felt a deep connection to the environment, and her dream is to invent mechanical designs that work more efficiently and use fewer resources. Nora is committed to public service as she helps build bridges in third world countries with her involvement in Continental Crossings. She is an active member of the Women in Science and Engineering living and learning community, and in also the mentoring program.
Liana Nicklaus is a senior in electrical engineering at University of Illinois. Through her college classes, undergraduate research projects, and an internship with IBM, she has refined her interests to firmware engineering. She serves at the Corporate Director for the electrical and computer engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu, and tutors for electrical engineering and physics classes. Liana was a counselor for Women in Engineering Freshman Camp where she advised young women on how to succeed at her school. Her professor, Nikita Borisov, PhD, acknowledges that Liana was an active participant in large male dominated lecture class and recognizes Liana as “among the best undergraduate students at the University of Illinois.”
Elisabeth Spires is a sophomore in computer systems engineering and computer science at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her interests are in artificial intelligence and robotics, and her internships at John Crane Productions Solutions have taught her fundamentals of mechanical and electrical engineering vital to robotics. Transferring from Texas A&M University, she was a member of the Computing Society and Lions Club, a community service organization. Melissa dreams of attending Carnegie Mellon University or MIT for graduate school, and her math professor, Bangti Jin, is convinced that Elisabeth will achieve her goals with “her exceptional learning capabilities, keen interest, and solid preparations.”
Sara Lillard is a senior in aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University. She is fascinated about outer space and technology but even more passionate about encouraging everyone to follow their dreams. Highly involved with the Society of Women Engineers since freshman year, Sara was the event coordinator to introduce engineering to about 150 Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts. Because she believes that every woman in engineering needs a support group, Sara was a founder, charter member, and the president of the Beta Iota chapter of AΩE. Sara has worked on team projects to design, develop, and test a real-time object tracking system in microgravity and to build and restore a Boeing 376 communication satellite. She has also served as an officer for two honor societies.
Melissa Ogden is a junior in systems engineering at The George Washington University. Since attending Space Camp in the fourth grade, Melissa has been in love with aviation and flight; her dream is to serve her country as a naval aviator. She is a Midshipman in the GWU Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps and a mentor for freshmen engineering students. Melissa also serves at the secretary for the Chi chapter of AΩE. As a female in two male dominated fields, engineering and the military, her ROTC instructor, LCDR Alex Greene, can vouch for her determination, dedication, and discipline.