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Women Engineers You Should Know: Lorraine Parker, Ph.D.

Women engineers make real change in the workplace and in our communities. We honor them in our SWE Magazine series “Women Engineers You Should Know.”
Women Engineers You Should Know

This article is part of SWE Magazine’s Spring 2017 Issue. To view it on your mobile device, download the SWE Magazine app! Download it on the App Store or get it on Google Play.

Women Engineers You Should Know: Lorraine Parker, Ph.d.

Closing a 31-year career as an associate professor of computer science at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in 2013 Lorraine M. Parker, Ph.D., became director of diversity and student programs at the university’s school of engineering. Through her innovative programming, Dr. Parker has helped VCU nurture and retain women students — evidenced in the 50 percent increase in the number of women engineering students that has taken place since 2010.

One example of effective advocacy and support for female students is the Vertically Integrated Networking for Engineers (VINE), through which small discipline-specific groups, composed of women in the same discipline but across years of study, meet on a regular basis. Coaching in how to facilitate small group discussions is offered, and each group is asked to do one “give-back” project each year, typically youth outreach.

Dr. Parker received her B.Sc. in mathematical studies from the University of Bath; a Cert.Ed., also from the University of Bath; and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University College of Swansea.

Who Are the Women Engineers We Should Know?

women engineersQuite often, those who are behind the scenes and out of the limelight make real change in the workplace and in our communities. It is our intention to recognize such women and make their efforts better known in our SWE Magazine series “Women Engineers You Should Know.”

Casting a wide net, SWE Magazine staff and editorial board members seek contemporary women whose lives have embodied the Society’s mission to: “Stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force for improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.”

Through a variety of means, including fielding suggestions and conducting archival research, we will examine the stories of many women who have made a difference in these critical areas. Determining a final list is a daunting challenge, and our selections are in no way meant to be definitive. While some names you may recognize, many are not recognizable to most people. From a variety of perspectives, in different environments and moments in time, these women represent “ordinary” when doing “extraordinary” things. In saluting them, we are saluting all the women, known and unknown, past and present, who have advanced our mission.

Nominate women engineers to know for our next article. The deadline for submission of names is December 15, 2017. Submit nominations here.

With each submission, please include the following.

  • Nominee info: name, why her, links supporting your nomination, areas of expertise, where is she located
  • Nominator info: name, email, how you know the nominee

Thanks for your help, and look for the Spring 2018 issue of SWE Magazine.


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