From achieving milestones in industry, academia, and research to an array of professional and personal accomplishments, these women are making news.

Noel Schulz. CREDIT: WSU News

IEEE Honors Noel Schulz with Inaugural Women in Technology Award

Noel Schulz, Ph.D., the Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair in Power Apparatus and Systems in the Washington State University (WSU) School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Women in Technology and Leadership Award.

The award recognizes women technologists for their outstanding contributions to engineering and technology and the empowerment of diverse populations. Dr. Schulz was cited for her work in advancing power systems research while educating the next generation of power engineering professionals, and “working tirelessly to provide support for the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in IEEE, STEM, and beyond,” according to the IEEE Women in Engineering website.

Dr. Schulz, who joined WSU in 2016, conducts research in the areas of power systems modeling and analysis, smart grid applications, microgrids, renewable energy, and shipboard power systems. The research has been funded by multiple national agencies — including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security — and private power equipment companies. She is co-director of the Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)’s Advanced Grid Institute (AGI) and holds a joint appointment at PNNL. She also leads the United States-India Collaborative for Smart Distribution System with Storage (UI-Assist), a consortium supported by the U.S. Department of Energy that is working to increase renewable energy penetration into the electric power grid. Dr. Schulz recently became the inaugural director of WSU’s Institute for Northwest Energy Futures (INEF), headquartered on the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

Prior to joining WSU with her husband, WSU President Kirk Schulz, Ph.D., she served as first lady and associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering at Kansas State University (KSU). She also directed the KSU Engineering Experiment Station and the Electrical Power Affiliates Program and served as the Paslay Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

A nationally recognized expert in power systems engineering, Dr. Schulz is also dedicated to recruiting and retaining women in the field of engineering and mentoring female engineering faculty. She has initiated faculty networks for women at three universities. In 2014, she received the IEEE Education Society Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award for outstanding contributions in advancing recruitment and retention of women in engineering professions.

Dr. Schulz has more than 26 years of teaching experience at six U.S. universities, including WSU. She has taught courses in power systems, energy conversion, application of computer programs to power engineering, application of intelligent systems to engineering problems, and others. She has graduated 45 master’s students and 13 doctoral students.

Dr. Schulz has published 175 papers and two book chapters. During her academic career, she has brought in more than $40 million in external research funding through individual and collaborative projects, including a National Science Foundation CAREER award.

She is a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences and a fellow of both the IEEE and the American Society for Engineering Education. Dr. Schulz holds a B.S.E.E. and an M.S.E.E. from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Two HBCUs Name Women to Lead Engineering Programs

Two historically Black colleges and universities — Hampton University, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) — have chosen women as leaders of their engineering programs.

Joyce T. Shirazi, Ph.D., P.E., is dean of the School of Engineering, Architecture, and Aviation at Hampton University. She has had a long and distinguished career in higher education and in industry. In her role as dean, she leads a team of faculty and staff in the engineering, architecture, and aviation departments to ensure that Hampton University is a leader in STEM-related fields.

Prior to joining the Hampton community, Dr. Shirazi served in both faculty and staff positions in the University System of Maryland (USM), including as senior vice president and chief of staff in the office of the president and chair of the information and technology systems department. She advised the chancellor, presidents, and provosts on matters of systemwide professional and educational concern to the faculty and matters to which faculty bring special expertise. Dr. Shirazi also served on the Maryland Higher Education Commission Faculty Advisory Council.

Dr. Shirazi led major course revamps in all technology programs and helped create an employer-based Cybersecurity Curriculum Advisory Council to enhance the university’s cybersecurity programs. She was a founding director of an innovative online MBA program, which was among the first in the nation.

Dr. Shirazi worked in several multinational corporations before transitioning to higher education administration, including The Boeing Company, where she began her career in industry, and later with Chevron, ExxonMobil, and McDonnell Douglas. As an engineer in the oil industry, she traveled to London, England; Göteborg, Sweden; and Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), performing hands-on design and analysis work.

Dr. Shirazi holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Howard University, an M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a Doctorate of Science in environmental and engineering management from The George Washington University. She is a licensed professional civil engineer in California.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) recently named Stephanie Luster-Teasley, Ph.D., interim dean of the College of Engineering. A 2021 graduate of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Executive Leadership Institute, Dr. Luster-Teasley previously served as N.C. A&T’s vice provost for undergraduate education.

Following a career as an environmental engineer in private industry, Dr. Luster-Teasley joined the College of Engineering’s department of civil, architectural, and environmental engineering as an assistant faculty member in 2004, working her way to professor and department chair in 2016.

During her tenure as department chair, Dr. Luster-Teasley increased enrollment, revived alumni support and engagement to include service and donations, and successfully renewed architectural engineering program and civil engineering program ABET accreditation, among many other accomplishments.

Her research specializations include environmental remediation, water sustainability, and engineering education. She has received patents from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada for developing a controlled-release chemical oxidation polymer system for the remediation of water and wastewater — the first Black woman and faculty member at N.C. A&T to receive international patents. Her technology was licensed in 2017 by a company that marketed it nationally as an emerging remediation method for groundwater and soil contamination.

Dr. Luster-Teasley has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a mentoring program for students in STEM disciplines; from the National Science Foundation to develop and implement case study modules in science labs; and from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to implement science programs for middle school girls, among others. Overall, her research and professional development grants have yielded more than $8 million in funding.

She also serves as co-principal investigator for the university’s ADVANCE IT grant, which seeks to increase equity and help implement programs for women faculty to progress successfully through academia from assistant to full professorship.

Dr. Luster-Teasley’s research and academic service have received many accolades, most recently the Black Engineer of the Year Innovation Award in 2018 and the Michigan State University (MSU) Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020. She has also received the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award, one of the highest awards conferred for teaching in the UNC System.

She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from N.C. A&T, as well as an M.S. in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering, both from MSU.

Joyce T. Shirazi. CREDIT: Hampton University
Stephanie Luster-Teasley. CREDIT: N.C. A&T News

AISES Announces Three Professional Awards

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) annual Professional Awards program celebrates the contributions of Indigenous innovators and professionals in STEM in five categories. This year three of the five awards — Most Promising Engineer or Scientist, Blazing Flame, and Indigenous Excellence — were presented to women.

Aurora White loves hands-on work, whether it’s being in a vehicle as a torque security calibration engineer or building furniture at her mom’s house. The recipient of the AISES 2023 Most Promising Engineer or Scientist Award, White works for Stellantis N.V., a multinational automotive company and mobility provider that includes the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Fiat brands. This award recognizes a professional engineer or scientist with less than five years of workforce experience after earning their last degree. The candidate’s early technical contributions must indicate a promising career.

White has worked in a variety of engineering roles such as instrumentation and diagnostics, receiving numerous awards for leading projects in vehicle testing and analysis. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oakland University; she received Design for Six Sigma green belt certification, and was selected for a new Stellantis Leadership Development Program in 2022. White now serves on that program’s board, while also serving as treasurer for the Indigenous Cultural Opportunity Network, a Stellantis business resource group.

Prior to working at Stellantis N.V., she served as an advanced systems engineer for FCA Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. While an undergraduate, she secured internships with GE Aviation, Iowa State University, and the Indian Health Service.

White helps coordinate multiple Indigenous education activities internally and STEM outreach externally. The youngest of four children growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, White recalls finding her life purpose at age 7 when she was gifted her first traditional dance regalia. She is a Lac Vieux Desert Band of Ojibwe tribal member. Her future interest is in automotive electrification, while also promoting Indigenous values in design and the workplace.

Heather Heckler, a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation, received the AISES 2023 Blazing Flame Award, which is presented to an individual who “blazes” a path for Indigenous people in STEM careers. This award recognizes individuals with 10 or more years of professional experience with significant accomplishments in advancing STEM education and careers.

Heckler is a senior industrial engineer at General Motors (GM) and a subject matter expert in industrial engineering with 28 years of experience. With a master’s degree in management of technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, she currently leads a global team to define computer application needs and provides engineering training in manufacturing plants.

She also serves as president of the company’s Indigenous Peoples Diversity Leadership Council, leading GM’s efforts to provide STEM activities for Indigenous youth across the country. As a volunteer, Heckler has served in this employee resource group leadership role for 16 years, continuously advocating for more support within the company. She is a mainstay at AISES events, including coordinating ongoing youth engagement at AISES STEM Days, supporting GM recruitment, and serving on the AISES Corporate Advisory Council.

Even as a high school student, she provided critical computer training to workers at her Shawano, Wisconsin, hometown’s biggest employer, a food systems plant. As a steadfast advocate for Indigenous representation and advancement, Heckler follows in the footsteps of her maternal grandfather, a leader of the Brothertown Indian Nation. He advocated for recognition of their tribe, the only one based in Wisconsin that is not federally recognized, due to a complex history of migration and interaction with the U.S. government.

Ashley Lomboy of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe is the recipient of the AISES 2023 Indigenous Excellence Award, which acknowledges an individual who has done substantial work for 10 or more years to advance programs and opportunities for Indigenous students and professionals within their community and/or in support of Indigenous people at the national level.

With 22 years of information technology (IT) and computer science experience, Lomboy is the global information security manager for Corning Inc. In this role, she builds and deploys global responses to the persistent threat of the stealing of intellectual property and trade secret information. She monitors and manages system data exfiltration capabilities and solves tomorrow’s problems now. She also leads the Corning Native American Council.

In 2019, Lomboy founded Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio, a grassroots community program led by members of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe in STEM careers. The studio’s mission is to increase community understanding of STEM while providing STEM opportunities to Indigenous youth. To provide community-based STEM exploration, the STEM Studio marshals a multidisciplinary team of science, math, engineering, and IT instructor role models, as well as several sponsorhips that include universities and museums. The STEM Studio has delivered more than 40 program events, encompassing tribal culture, language, history, and STEM (ranging from robotics to reforestation), while celebrating and educating participants about Indigenous peoples’ contributions to STEM. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lomboy arranged for her Waccamaw Siouan Tribe to distribute 185 STEM activity kits to Indigenous youth.

Lomboy is an active volunteer board member and community leader in southeast North Carolina, advocating on such issues as Indigenous Peoples Day and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. She is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a system and server administrator. Lomboy holds a B.S. in computer science from Saint Martin’s University.

All AISES photos from Winds of Change (c) 2023 by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

Aurora White. CREDIT: AISES
Heather Heckler. CREDIT: AISES
Ashley Lomboy. CREDIT: Khinsley Locklear Portraiture courtesy of AISES
Ama Frimpong. CREDIT: Courtesy Ama Frimpong

IET Names Its Young Woman Engineer of the Year

Ama Frimpong, Ph.D., has received accolades for her work in medical device product development. She is head of product development at 52 North Health Ltd., in Cambridge, England, where she leads the company’s engineering teams and manages the development of NeutroCheck, a low-cost, portable device that helps identify cancer patients at risk of neutropenic sepsis, a life-threatening medical emergency.

For this work and for promoting STEM to girls and people from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) honored her with its Young Woman Engineer of the Year award, which celebrates women working in modern engineering who aim to change the perception that engineering is predominantly a career for men by banishing outdated engineering stereotypes.

Dr. Frimpong was also named among the Top 50 Women in Engineering (Inventors and Innovators) by the Women’s Engineering Society and a Top 21 Game Changers to Watch in 2023 (21toWatch) within the Cambridge Cluster, a European technology network.

Dr. Frimpong’s journey in STEM began by chance, when she was mistakenly put on a biomedical materials engineering talk rather than one focused on medicine. It put her on the path that she is on now. She earned an undergraduate degree in biomedical materials and materials science engineering from the University of Nottingham, followed by an M.Sc. in biomedical and medical engineering from the University of Surrey, and an integrated M.Sc./Ph.D. in medical and biological engineering from the University of Leeds.

Prior to joining 52 North Health, Dr. Frimpong served as a senior engineer with Cambridge Consultants, a global product development and technology consultancy firm. In addition to her work with 52 North Health, she founded the Invent Foundation with the goal of preparing the next generation of creators and innovators through early exposure to STEAM education and activities. Invent Foundation is geared toward girls age 9 and older.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology is a multidisciplinary professional engineering institution. The IET was formed in 2006 from two separate institutions: the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers.

Two Earn Prestigious Awards for Achievements in Chemical Engineering

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will present awards to 14 leaders and innovators in chemical engineering, two of whom are women. The awards include the AIChE’s Industrial Progress Award and the Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by a Woman Chemical Engineer. The awards will be presented this fall during the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

AIChE’s Industrial Progress Award recipient is Maria Wang, Ph.D., director of product management for Traffic Solutions at PPG (formerly Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.), where she leads strategy and innovation for pavement marking products. She has accountability for paint, epoxy, and methyl methacrylate product life cycle, profitability, and growth in the United States and Canada. The Industrial Progress Award recognizes significant contributions by individuals who are working in industries served by chemical engineers and who have received their highest academic degree within 17 calendar years of the year in which the award is given (2006).

Dr. Wang’s expertise in waterborne coating formulation contributed to the creation of PPG Clean-Surface Technology, a 2020 R&D 100 Award winner. She began her career at the PPG Coatings Innovation Center in 2015 as a formulator on the Automotive Refinish team developing low-VOC (volatile organic compound) coatings. Prior to her current role, Dr. Wang was a technical manager for Architectural Coatings Inc. and led cross-functional teams in developing more than 40 new products generating multimillion-dollar sales.

Before joining the coatings industry, Dr. Wang served as the associate director of the Center for Probing the Nanoscale at Stanford University, and technology manager at Energy & Environmental Resources Group. She holds an M.S. and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jennifer Sinclair Curtis, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and former dean of engineering at the University of California, Davis. She received the organization’s Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by a Woman Chemical Engineer. The award is given to a woman member of AIChE who has made significant contributions to chemical engineering research or practice — in academic, industrial, or government settings — over the course of her career. The candidate’s contributions may include a component of service, mentorship, or leadership in raising the visibility of women engineers and paving the way for other women to have a greater impact in chemical engineering. Dr. Curtis is being honored for pioneering work in particle technology, as well as for international leadership in education, diversity, and inclusivity in engineering.

Dr. Curtis’ research focuses on the development and validation of particle flow models that have been extensively adopted by both commercial and open-source computational fluid dynamics software packages. She was the first to partner with Ansys Fluent to greatly expand the multiphase simulation capability of the code, which is used by 96 of the 100 largest industrial companies in the world.

She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Engineering Education, and AIChE. She is the recipient of several AIChE awards, including the Particle Technology Forum’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Shell Thomas Baron Award in Fluid-Particle Systems, and the Van Antwerpen Award for Service to the Institute. She also received a Humboldt Research Award, a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award, and an ASEE Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award, as well as its CACHE Award for Excellence in Computing in Chemical Engineering Education.

Dr. Curtis holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Purdue University, which recognized her as a distinguished engineering alumna. She currently serves as co-chair of the National Academies’ Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and vice chair of AIChE’s Foundation Board of Trustees.

The award honors the memory of Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau, the first woman member of AIChE and a pioneer who designed the first commercial plant for deep-tank penicillin fermentation during World War II. She was also the first woman to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering from MIT and the first woman AIChE fellow.

Maria Wang. CREDIT: AIChE
Jennifer Sinclair Curtis. CREDIT: Jennifer Sinclair Curtis
Susan R. Madsen

Madsen Honored for Legacy of Promoting, Supporting Women and Girls into STEM

The Women Tech Council, a national organization focused on the economic impact of women in tech, has honored Susan R. Madsen, Ed.D., with its 2023 Impact Award. The Women Tech Awards is the premier awards program for women in technology with ties to Silicon Slopes, a nonprofit organization empowering Utah’s startup and tech community to learn, connect, and serve. Through her work championing women and girls, especially her focus on helping bring more women into STEM fields, Dr. Madsen has created a positive influence for women in technology throughout the economic pipeline.

Dr. Madsen has spent decades working to strengthen the impact of girls and women in Utah and worldwide. She is currently the inaugural Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, and the founding director of the Utah Women and Leadership Project, where she leads a program known as “A Bolder Way Forward.” This initiative focuses on driving change across 18 key areas to champion Utah women and girls, including strengthening the interest and economic power of women in STEM fields. Dr. Madsen is also an author and principal of the 100 Companies Championing Women program, which recognizes and highlights Utah companies that offer family-friendly and women-focused policies.

Prior to this position, she spent 18 years as the Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. She is also a visiting fellow of the faculty of economics and business at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) and a former fellow of the Leadership Trust Foundation in Ross-on-Wye, England.

Dr. Madsen is considered one of the top global thought leaders on the topic of women and leadership. She has authored or edited six books and has published hundreds of articles, chapters, and reports. Her research has been featured in U.S. News and World Report, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others, and she is a regular contributor to Forbes.

Dr. Madsen holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise from Portland State University, and an Ed.D. in human resource development from the University of Minnesota.

SWE Collegiates Among New Class of Tau Beta Pi Scholars

The Fellowship Board of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, has selected 265 engineering students from 452 applicants for undergraduate study during the 2023-24 academic year. Most recipients will receive a $2,000 cash award for their senior year of engineering study, and some will receive $1,000 for one semester. Of the scholarship recipients, 35 are Society of Women Engineers collegiate members active in their institution’s section.

All Tau Beta Pi scholarships are awarded on the competitive criteria of high scholarship, campus leadership and service, and promise of future contributions to the engineering profession. These awards bring the total to 4,148 scholarships granted since the program began in 1998. The list includes each scholar’s name, school, and academic major:

Yazan E. AlBakheet, California State University, Long Beach, chemical engineering
Grace A. Almgren, Saint Louis University, biomedical engineering
Audrey A. Ball, Wayne State University, mechanical engineering
Sun Li Batten, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, chemical engineering
Kimberly L. Betty, Kettering University, mechanical engineering
Emily M. Buckner, The University of Tennessee, mechanical engineering
Carrie M. Carpenter, University of North Dakota, mechanical engineering
Maria J. Carter, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, biological systems engineering
Elizabeth Clarkson, Drexel University, environmental engineering
Michaela D. Divito, University of San Diego, industrial and systems engineering
Sophie H. Ehudin, Cornell University, computer science
India S.J. Elkhazin, Prairie View A&M University, electrical engineering
Sydney L. Eng, California State University, Long Beach, electrical engineering
Emily N. Friedman, Louisiana State University, mechanical engineering
Katharine G. Hart, Carnegie Mellon University, environmental engineering
Megan E. Hayes, Auburn University, aerospace engineering
Alice C. Johnson, West Virginia University, industrial engineering and management systems
Kathleen E. Kane, University at Buffalo, electrical engineering
Catherine E. Lacey, Louisiana Tech University, biomedical engineering
Abigail N. Lanter, University of Kentucky, mechanical engineering
Sein Lee, Yale University, biomedical engineering
Rebekah E. Lindblade, Louisiana Tech University, biomedical engineering
Callie M. McCaffery, Colorado School of Mines, mechanical engineering
Mary R. Peterson, Wichita State University, electrical engineering
Grace E. Peterson, Wichita State University, mechanical engineering
Anna Rahn, University of Colorado at Boulder, computer science
Elizabeth A. Reardon, The University of Iowa, biomedical engineering
Rebekah Revadelo, University of Dayton, mechanical engineering
Ashley C. Rhodes, The University of Iowa, biomedical engineering
Jenna M. Russell, Grand Valley State University, biomedical engineering
Maria Russo, Florida Atlantic University, mechanical engineering
Isabella Steinley, University of Pittsburgh, chemical engineering
Natalie K. Tsubamoto, University of California, Los Angeles, bioengineering
Alayna G. Wanless, Kettering University, electrical engineering
Alison F. Yurchak, Illinois Institute of Technology, biomedical engineering