Outstanding Collegiate Member
Molly A. Skinner
University of South Florida
For exemplary service to SWE and the engineering community; for developing programs that promote success among women and graduate students; and for mentoring and showing girls the opportunities in STEM.
Molly A. Skinner joined the Society of Women Engineers as a first-year student at the University of South Florida (USF). She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.S. in biomedical engineering and is now a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering, where her research focus is creating a novel transfection method for immunotherapies. She was involved in research throughout her undergraduate years, focusing on Alzheimer’s treatment. Skinner presented her research at the 2017 University of South Florida Colloquium and at WE17 as a finalist in the Technical Poster Competition. She was one of 30 students recognized with the university’s Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award.
As a graduate student, Skinner was one of five students selected to participate in the National Science Foundation funded project, the International Research Experience for Students (IRES), at the National University of Singapore to conduct research on viruses. She presented this project at the WE18 conference as a finalist in the Rapid Fire Graduate Competition and at the WE Local Tampa Collegiate Competition, where she earned first place.
Skinner remains actively involved in SWE as a member of both the collegiate section and the Tampa Bay Area Section. She has taken on several leadership roles within SWE, including Big and Little chair and treasurer. As Big and Little chair, she created a mentoring program involving upper-class students and first-year students to boost camaraderie and provide the younger students guidance about USF’s engineering programs, courses, and possible careers. As treasurer, she represented the section as a fiscal officer and worked with student government to manage the budget and allocate funds.
She co-founded the university’s GradSWE community to bring together women engineers to address issues they face in postbaccalaureate degree programs and provide resources to aid in their success. She is GradSWE co-chair and plans events for graduate students such as workshops, panels, and socials. Through GradSWE, Skinner organized an activity to support the local Pace Center for Girls, an intervention program for middle and high school girls. The activity included a drive to obtain donations of feminine hygiene products and a quarterly program for Pace participants to explore opportunities and careers in STEM, particularly engineering. In the future, Skinner would like the collegiate section to offer a mentoring program with Pace. For her service to SWE, Skinner received its Ada I. Pressman Memorial Scholarship.
Skinner is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Engineering Alumni Society (EAS), and the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association. She was named Student of the Year for EAS in 2020 and awarded the university’s highest honor, the Golden Bull Award, given to students who exemplify exceptional leadership and service to the university and community at large.
She and her family founded the SkinnerStrong Foundation in 2016 to honor her brother who died from childhood hypodiploid acute lymphoblastic leukemia (http://www.skinnerstrong.org/). Skinner is secretary and social media coordinator for the foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys musical theatre and baking.