At the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Region H Conference this year I was able to present my dissertation research for the first time. Graduate Student Rapid Fire pretentions comprised one session of the conference and gave five graduate students the opportunity to present their research to a diverse audience and receive feedback. Members of the audience, including professors from Michigan Tech (the host school), SWE Leaders, and other interested volunteers were provided feedback forms to give to the presenters at the end of the session.
Recently there has been a significant increase in discussions about women in high powered careers. This was touched off by Anne-Marie Slaughter's article in The Atlantic, describing "Why Women Still Can’t Have It All," followed by Marissa Meyer becoming CEO of Yahoo. The most recent explosion in the conversation has come after the release of Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In. At the end of the book Sandberg says "Let's Keep Talking..." and that her "goal is that this book is not the end of the conversation, but the beginning." To achieve this goal she encourages everyone to continue the conversation by discussing on the Facebook page, sharing on the Lean In website, and forming smaller Lean In circles.
I am pleased to be named as one of this year’s Society of Women Engineer’s New Faces of Engineering. An amazing group of women, including Rachel Morford, Brianne Wilburne, Allison Tuff Mjoen, and Jennifer Vallero, are also recognized with this honor.
While working at Rockwell Collins as a systems engineer, I have come to appreciate the value of the top-down approach to design. We are building very complex systems with large teams and it is impossible for any one person to know how every widget works and fits together. Because of this complex interaction my first boss, Bill Piche, always reminds our team that “we are all systems engineers.” When he said this he wanted to make sure that all of the software engineers, hardware engineers, and control law engineers considered how their changes impacted the rest of the avionics system, the airplane, and the crew. After participating in the development of a system from requirements capture through test, it became more apparent to me why it was so important.