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Women Engineers You Should Know

Taken together, these individual women present a mosaic of experiences, contributions, and achievements. Their stories demonstrate that there is no one “typical” woman engineer — just many women engineers blazing new trails in a traditionally male profession, aiming to make the world a better place.
Women Engineers You Should Know

This article is part of SWE Magazine’s Spring 2017 Issue. Download the SWE Magazine app to your smartphone today! Download on the App Store or get it on Google Play.

By Anne Perusek, SWE Director of Editorial and Publications

Who, exactly, are the women engineers we should know? Posing this question on social media channels in late 2016, we received a variety of responses, all in keeping with the intention of this ongoing project: to highlight the lives and contributions of women engineers of whom we might not otherwise be aware.

Despite their significant and high-profile work, these women are not famous in the typical ways of our culture. As is frequently the case, those working behind the scenes and out of the limelight make real change and meaningful contributions in the workplace and in our communities. And while readers may know and recognize some of the names put forth here, none of our “Women Engineers You Should Know” have instant name recognition, but may be well known and respected within their specialties.

Names are brought forward through SWE social media channels, as well as through the SWE editorial board. Gathering and reviewing the information on so many interesting and accomplished women is a powerful experience and a bit overwhelming at the same time. Because we recognize women engineers as having multidimensional lives beyond professional practice, there is a complex, human side to each story.

This is our third installment of what has become an annual series. As with the previous installments, determining a final list was quite challenging, and our selections are not meant to be definitive.

Women Engineers You Should Know


Growing up, civil aviation project manager Apiramy (Api) Appulingam, P.E., lived in five different countries and visited more than 20, developing an inquisitive spirit and love for travel and exploration that has remained with her. Raised in a traditional Sri Lankan family, during high school she was selected to attend the Texas Governor’s Honors program. Participating in this intensive three-week residential program, she acquired leadership, conflict resolution, ethical decision-making, and critical thinking skills that have continued to serve her well throughout her education and career.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Appulingam became a civil engineer, graduating from Texas A&M with her B.S. in civil engineering in 2004. After graduation, she joined RS&H, a facilities, infrastructure, and aviation consulting firm, and has devoted the last 12 years to the aviation industry. She has successfully managed projects in the U.S. and internationally, with clients ranging from general aviation airports to large-hub airports. Currently, Appulingam is project manager for the Stage 1 Airfield Development Project of the Philadelphia International Airport’s Capacity Enhancement Program, a multiyear, multibillion-dollar improvement program. Appulingam earned an MBA from the University of Dallas in 2012.

Read more of this SWE Magazine article here and get the SWE Magazine app to your smartphone today! Download on the App Store or get it on Google Play.