Note: Paula Stenzler, a former GRPP Coordinator, SWE Member, advocate, and engineer passed away on January 7, 2019. Paula’s professional contributions as an engineer, her advocacy as a SWE member, and her friendship for many will be deeply missed.
About Paula Stenzler
Paula Stenzler is part of the Creative Division of Universal Orlando Parks and Resort and is responsible for the Engineering and Safety as part of the core engineering team. She manages a team of mechanical, structural, electrical and controls engineers for ride systems development. Ms. Stenzler holds a Doctorate of Engineering degree in Systems Engineering from Old Dominion University; Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Central Florida, and Masters of Science from New England College. She is an active member of ASTM F24 International Design Standards and Guidelines for Amusement Rides and Devices. She heads up the ASTM F2291-Restraints task group and is also a member of the G-force and Eligibility tasks groups responsible for the review and development of ASTM industry guidelines and standards.
Ms. Stenzler has a life-long career relationship with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She has held various national leadership roles with SWE. She is past chair and current coordinator for the Society of Women Engineers’ Government Relations and Public Policy Committee; she has attended and presented at six of the Capitol Hill Congressional visits, she is a member of Region D and serves as Professional Coordinator for Valencia’s SWE Collegiate Chapter as well as Advisory Board Member for Valencia’s Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology program. She has an affinity for STEM education and works tirelessly to bring students, academia, private industry, and the local community together to meet the growing needs of a STEM workforce in the Central Florida area and around the world.
SWE HQ: Why do you feel it is important to advocate for women in engineering and how do you personally advocate for this cause?
Stenzler: “Women make up half of the workforce but represent less than 18% of STEM fields. There is still much work that needs to be done to engage and retain women in engineering. As the GRPP Coordinator Elect, I am honored to be able to serve the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) members in this capacity. Public policy is a passion of mine and advocating for diversity and inclusion for women in engineering has been a life-long endeavor; all in an effort to ensure private sector, public sector, government, academic institutions and small business are ready to grow, educate, train and retain the most innovative and diverse talent across all fields of engineering.”
SWE HQ: How has attending SWE’s Congressional Outreach Day in the past helped you be a better advocate?
Stenzler: “Over the last six years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several members of congress during SWE’s Congressional Outreach events to educate and bring awareness to our local representatives regarding the issues that impact women and their success as engineers. The congressional visits have also provided an opportunity for me to advocate at the local level about the importance of diversity and inclusion in engineering and STEM fields in a community where so many high-tech jobs need to be filled over the next five years. Last year, Congressman Webster (R-Florida) spoke at a kick-off meeting hosted by Universal Studios’ Technical Services Division regarding an apprenticeship program developed in conjunction with Valencia College to address the need to educate and train workers on advanced technology developed and used by the parks. The issue at hand goes beyond engineering and design; it extends to understanding and using technology so that equipment can be operated and maintained properly. This is an example of SWE members working with local business, government, and academia to meet the growing needs of a diverse and inclusive STEM workforce in Central Florida.”
SWE HQ: If someone is new to public advocacy, what are some of the first steps you would recommend they take?
Stenzler: “While it is important to advocate on the national level, the most effective way members can support the GRPP team is to advocate at the local level. Promoting and mentoring women engineers to be successful throughout their careers is a powerful way to advocate.”
SWE HQ: Thank you to Paula for your tremendous advocacy for women both inside and outside of SWE!
What to become involved in Public Policy & Advocacy at SWE? Check out the following opportunities and resources:
- Register for SWE’s 2018 Congressional Outreach Day.
- Stay informed about SWE Advocacy through text alerts. Text SWE Public Policy to 56512 to sign-up.
- Use this site to find your United States elected officials, learn a bit about your elected official, the committees they are on and what is important to them.
- Check out the advocacy section on SWE’s All Together blog or our Legislative Action Center.
- Login to the new SWE Advance Learning Center to take the (free to members) public policy educational modules.