The Society of Women Engineers elected its new slate of board of directors for FY24. The new team of leaders will build upon the momentum set forth by previous members of the board. The board represents the backbone of the diverse and growing organization charged with upholding the Society’s mission. The new board brings a wealth of experience and represents an array of STEM disciplines ranging from energy and defense to academia to systems engineering to aerodynamics to engineering technology.
Meet the new board.
Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D.
U.S. Department of Energy
Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D., a Society of Women Engineers 20-plus year and life member, has served as a volunteer leader in the organization for more than 15 years, holding roles that span all facets of the Society. Prior to being elected president, Dr. McKittrick served as president-elect and spent two terms on SWE’s board of directors, including serving as secretary and leading the senate as speaker. Highlights from her other SWE leadership roles include chairing two committees; serving on two governance task forces; and serving as governor of the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Dr. McKittrick is currently a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office. She serves on the SWE board of directors in her personal capacity. Prior to joining the DOE, Dr. McKittrick served as a senior researcher at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., where she conducted nonpartisan research and analysis for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and various federal agencies. She also worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division, focusing on greenhouse gas analysis and policy for the oil and gas, chemicals, and semiconductor sectors.
Dr. McKittrick holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar.
In 2014, she was presented with the D.C. Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies’ Young Engineer of the Year Award and received SWE’s Emerging Leader Award in 2019.
U.S. Department of Defense
Karen Roth is an experienced Department of Defense leader in cyber, artificial intelligence, and digital engineering. Roth has taken her proven skills in strategic thinking, communication, and partnership development to create a global ecosystem for the Air Force and to be a trusted fiduciary for the nonprofit boards she has served.
Roth is one of five senior leaders for the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate. Serving as chief engineer, she ensures technical excellence across the $1.5 billion portfolio on an international stage. She directs programming and focuses on strategic external partnerships to accelerate change and technical impact to the Air Force, which has resulted in the creation of the Innovare Alliance. Innovare is an impact-driven global community of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs converging on Air Force technology interests through specialized facilities and programming for technology transfer and open innovation.
Roth has a zeal for supporting women in STEM. Her commitment has led to her participation on several not-for-profit boards, including the Society of Women Engineers, where she has served as treasurer and director of professional excellence. She serves SWE in a personal capacity. Roth serves as an advocate for women in other organizations such as the Girls Scouts and the regional engineering executive council.
She holds an executive MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in systems engineering from Cornell University. She is currently completing an executive certificate in public leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Kaitlyn Bunker, Ph.D., P.E.
Rocky Mountain Institute
Kaitlyn J. Bunker, Ph.D., P.E., serves as co-director of the Islands Energy Program at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a global nonprofit organization working to transform the global energy system to secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. In this role, she leads a diverse team that partners with islands in the Caribbean to support and accelerate their clean energy transitions. The team completes energy modeling and technical analysis to develop integrated resource plans, prepares and de-risks resilient clean energy projects, and connects energy professionals in regional communities of practice.
Prior to joining RMI, she earned a Ph.D., an M.S., and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University. Her graduate research focused on microgrids, and optimizing control strategies for distributed renewable resources. She joined RMI in 2014 and is a certified professional engineer for the state of Colorado.
Dr. Bunker has been part of SWE for 17 years and is a life member. Her leadership roles have included president of the Michigan Tech Section and the Rocky Mountain Section, collegiate director, member of the nominating committee, and most recently SWE senator in FY21-FY23. Dr. Bunker received the SWE Outstanding Collegiate Member award in 2014 and the SWE Distinguished New Engineer award in 2018.
She also holds a volunteer elected position on the board of directors of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, or RREAL, a nonprofit organization working to make solar accessible to all households and communities in Central and Northern Minnesota.
Dr. Bunker lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. They enjoy spending time outdoors and renovating their home with a goal to reach net-zero energy.
Dianne Beever is a transformation program manager and change agent in the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell Technologies in Austin, Texas. She is responsible for overall program management in the newly formed customer experience transformation group. Beever is an active participant in several Dell employee resource groups and was selected to join a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) council that will identify high-impact DE&I programs that can be scaled globally.
During her 18-year career with Dell, Beever has held leadership positions in business transformation, merger and acquisition integration, operations management, supply chain strategy and design, process engineering, manufacturing engineering and maintenance management, and channel services. Prior to joining Dell, she spent more than eight years at Cummins Inc.
As a life member of SWE, Beever has held leadership roles at the section, region, and Society levels. Her SWE experience includes integrated marketing advisory board chair, finance committee chair and mentor, board of trustees treasurer, RFP/investment committee, Society strategic planning task force, and leadership coach and mentor.
She earned a B.S. in industrial technology, an M.S.M. from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, and an M.S. in interdisciplinary engineering from Purdue’s College of Engineering. An avid supporter of education, Beever serves on the Krannert Student Alumni Association and the College of Engineering Education Industrial Advisory Council. She is also a member of the University of Texas at Austin SWE Corporate Advisory Board.
Beever lives in Georgetown, Texas, with her husband and two golden retreivers.
Inaas Darrat, in addition to being a member of the Society of Women Engineers, is a sister, aunt, cousin, niece, daughter, friend, engineer, colleague, mentor, manager, advocate, immigrant, refugee, learner, world traveler, avid reader, art lover, and artist. She has lived in five different countries and visited five of the continents.
A Society of Women Engineers member since her first year at the University of Kentucky, Darrat has served as her collegiate section’s president as well as in regional roles. Since graduating from college, she has served in various roles in her professional section, including president, vice president, treasurer, committee chair, and book club lead; at the regional level; and at the Society level as scholarship coordinator, curriculum chair, and nominating committee chair.
As director of chemical sector services for Trinity Consultants Inc., Darrat leads a team of specialists, assisting chemical plants, refineries, and oil and gas facilities with compliance with U.S. federal regulations, as well as providing expertise for facilities in Canada and the Middle East.
Darrat earned a B.S. and an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky and The University of Texas at Austin, respectively.
Enanga Daisy Fâlé
Enanga Daisy Fâlé is an engineering leader, new tech adopter, and global engineering advocate who relishes opportunities to drive technological advancement. She works for Northrop Grumman as a senior systems engineering manager in the systems engineering and integration department and the immersive systems visualization lab. Her activities have included leading model-based systems engineering strategies, launching the formal stand-up of a systems integration function, institutionalizing visualization technologies for applied system effectiveness analysis, and expanding visualization technology (virtual/augmented/mixed reality) utilization.
She has served as a Society leadership coach and Africa Task Force roadmap facilitator. Fâlé is a co-founder of SWE’s Technical Career Path affinity group. Additionally, she leads engineering community service activities through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
Fâlé holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from St. Cloud State University with a concentration in aviation operations and a master’s in systems engineering with a certificate in human-computer interaction from Iowa State University.
Her work has been recognized by St. Cloud State University through its 2018 Alumni Service Award; and through NSBE’s 2018 Professional Leader and 2017 Technical Excellence Ambassador awards, among others.
Silvia Karlsson, P.E., F.SWE
Silvia Karlsson, P.E., F.SWE, manages a group of engineers in the areas of aerodynamics and aeroacoustics at General Motors. She is responsible for leading program execution, choice of the proper tool mix, global strategy, resource management, and motorsports teams’ support. Prior to GM, she worked for Rocketdyne, then a division of The Boeing Company, on the space shuttle main engine.
A Fellow and life member of the Society of Women Engineers, Karlsson has made significant contributions to outreach, professional development, and diversity at all levels of the Society. She has been an active member of the organization since she was an undergraduate. Karlsson led many outreach initiatives as a member of the Los Angeles Section. As a member of SWE Detroit, she co-founded the Coalition of Minority Professional Engineering Societies and has held nearly every officer position, including president.
Karlsson has served the Society as Region H director, finance committee chair, and conference programming board chair. Since FY06, Karlsson has been a member of the Corporate Partnership Council and leads the SWE-GM recruiting team. She is a champion and member of the SWE STEM Reentry Task Force and GM’s Take 2 program.
She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from California State University, Northridge; an M.S. in mechanical/aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles; and an M.S. in management of technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a registered professional engineer in both California and Michigan.
Karlsson, an active member of her church, is a life member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Girl Scouts. She grew up in Mexico City and has family in 10 countries.
Bianca McCartt is a life member of the Society of Women Engineers who has remained active since university through a variety of positions across all levels of the Society. As a University of Kentucky mechanical engineering graduate, she took an active role in growing the South Ohio Section. She served on the executive council for several years as president, representative, and on the nominating committee. Through her 20-plus years in SWE, she has endeavored to foster a sense of belonging for all SWE members.
McCartt is the engineering talent pipeline development leader for GE Aerospace. In this role, she guides the strategy to engage employees with external engineering associations for growth, development, and building networks. This position requires her to influence a large, global team and work cross-functionally with business leaders at all levels of the organization. McCartt is recognized as an inclusive leader who is transparent and prioritizes integrity. She has served many years as a representative for GE on the Society’s Corporate Partnership Council.
In her free time, McCartt enjoys creating on the pottery wheel, horseback riding, and scuba diving.
Karen Ramsey-Idem, Ph.D.
Karen Ramsey-Idem, Ph.D., serves as the global hydrogen regulatory leader for Cummins Inc., where she applies global codes, standards, and regulations to the company’s products and facilities. She collaborates with new product and technology development teams and the Cummins government affairs organization. Dr. Ramsey-Idem represents the company in the hydrogen council’s safety and regulatory committee and co-leads the Cummins hydrogen risk council.
Dr. Ramsey-Idem is the executive sponsor for the Society of Women Engineers within Cummins and is a co-leader for the Cummins Advocating for Racial Equity affordable housing team. She has been a member of the Cummins Pride employee resource group for the past 15 years and has had several leadership roles in Cummins leading inclusion for its Technical Women Initiative for more than 10 years.
She joined Cummins Inc. in 1997 and has served in a variety of technical roles, including an ex-pat assignment in Pune, India, where she led the company’s design and analysis organization.
Dr. Ramsey-Idem holds a B.S., an M.S., and a Ph.D., all in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Technological University. She has a certificate in leading organizations in disruptive times (2023) from INSEAD; as well as certificates in leading remote teams from Cornell University, scaling up excellence from Stanford University, and directing innovation and from specialist to strategist from Smith College.
She is a certified Six Sigma green belt and sponsor and a trained facilitator for leadership development, unconscious bias, and inclusion dialogue.
Dr. Ramsey-Idem and her husband, Stephen Idem, an engineering professor at Tennessee Technological University, have three adult children, two children-in-law, and two grandchildren and reside in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Collegiate Director, she/her
University of Pittsburgh
Vidhya Thiyagarajan is a senior chemical engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). She has completed undergraduate research within Pitt’s Process Intensification Lab as well as multiple chemical engineering co-ops.
Thiyagarajan joined the Society of Women Engineers in 2017 as a SWENexter. Over the last six years, she has held various leadership roles within SWE, both within her collegiate section (PittSWE) and on several Society-level committees.
Within PittSWE, she has served as high school outreach chair, vice president of outreach and, most recently, as section vice president. At the Society level, Thiyagarajan has served on the awards and recognition and bylaws committees as well as the SWENext committee, where she was the lead for the SWENext clubs and publications workgroups. For her efforts and dedication to SWE, Thiyagarajan was awarded the Rising Star, Guiding Star, and Outstanding Collegiate Member awards.
Outside of SWE, Thiyagarajan is involved in Pitt’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) chapter, where she was the external vice president for the past year. She is also a leader within the school’s first-year engineering program and has served as a peer mentor and undergraduate teaching assistant. In her free time, Thiyagarajan enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Kristine Barnes, P.E.
Speaker of the Senate, she/her
Kristine Barnes, P.E., works in systems engineering and strategy at General Motors. Since joining GM in 2016, she has worked in a variety of roles within body engineering, including side closures engineer and rear bumper lead engineer responsible for the first integration of Super Cruise technology into full-size trucks. She was then appointed the quality lead for bumper, fascia, grille, and exterior trim and most recently was the exterior vehicle systems engineer for full-size trucks.
Prior to joining GM, Barnes worked for more than nine years in the nuclear power industry as a principal engineer at AREVA Inc. and was a technical expert in finite element structural analysis.
Barnes has been a leader within the Society of Women Engineers for more than 20 years and is a life member. She has held leadership roles at all levels of the Society, including collegiate representative and leadership coach, and several roles in the Chicago Regional Section, including treasurer and president. Barnes is a long-term member of the finance committee and was chair in FY18. She started her work with the senate in FY19 and led the creation of the FY23-FY27 strategic plan as deputy speaker of the senate in FY22.
Barnes is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and an MBA in engineering management from Valparaiso University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Marquette University. In recognition of her dedication to engineering excellence, Barnes received SWE’s Emerging Leader Award in 2020 and the WE Local ELiTE award in 2019.