Last year at WE17, TE Connectivity Ltd., a world leader in connectivity and sensors, made a $100K contribution to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to provide scholarships for women and girls pursing engineering degrees. Meet the inspiring scholarship winners who are already shaping the future of awesome.
Olivia Chen, Chemical Engineering Student at Stony Brooke University
Olivia is a chemical engineering student, specializing in materials science, at Stony Brooke University. Her passion for STEM began in high school when she was influenced by an engaging chemistry teacher. It was not until college that Olivia decided to explore chemical engineering as she realized the unlimited career potential and possibilities the field can offer. So far, she's enjoyed working in materials lab where she has formulated experiments to identify breast cancer cells and synthesize nanoparticles. She has also grown though hands-on internships with NASA and Ingalls Shipbuilding. Olivia’s motivation to work in STEM comes from the “seemingly small differences that can make very big changes in people’s lives”.
“My ultimate goal is to play a part in developing and improving materials to build stronger and higher quality products and structures. I'm really excited to enter the engineering industry after graduation because there’s an exposure to hands-on work that would allow me to constantly learn and explore the wonders of science and the universe.”
Naia Craig-Butler, Aerospace Engineering Student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Naia is a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University studying aerospace engineering with a special concentration in astronautics and a minor in computational mathematics. She’s also a NASA Pathways intern in the Science and Space Technology Systems branch at Glenn Research Center. Naia has enjoyed invaluable research experience as a McNair scholar, undergraduate research assistant, and NASA student in spacecraft test and development, sub-kilowatt electric propulsion and air-bearing spacecraft attitude simulation. She’s also very active in a variety of philanthropic and developmental extra-curriculars including NSBE, Dreams Solar Inc. and SWE. In her words, “My ultimate goal is to become a mission specialist astronaut and participate and contribute to deep space exploration.”
"Following graduation, I’m most excited for the opportunity to pursue a PhD in Aerospace Engineering specializing in Electric Propulsion. That is the specialty in which I seek to be a real asset and have a major impact. I see how the use of it can propel us beyond the limits of our own imagination and make deep space exploration a tangible reality."
Emily Cottle, Mechanical Engineering Student at Purdue University
Emily is in her fourth year of Purdue University’s 5-year mechanical engineering program. She is most interested in sensor technology, software, big data analytics and math. In her own words, “the world is moving towards connected devices, digitalization and computerization, and I want to be a part of it!” She is very passionate about bringing her whole self to a global work environment and values being well versed in different cultures and interacting with diverse people. Emily is also very excited to have the opportunity to study abroad in China next semester.
“Data, data, data. We live in an exciting time where sensors, electronics, computing power, and other resources are inexpensive and available. Therefore, we can now collect oodles of information that can be used for anything from diagnosing an irregular heartbeat in your own home to having a car drive itself. How could you not be excited about the future of technology?”
Raychel Bahnick, Environmental Engineering Student at University of Louisville
Raychel is studying civil and environmental engineering at the University of Louisville. Her initial interest in STEM was influenced by her dad, who has worked his entire career as an engineer. Through her program at Louisville, Raychel works as a co-op with the US Army Corps of Engineers working on projects in the hydrology and hydraulics branch. She is drawn to the constant evolution of research through modeling and software development and is most interested in clean, renewable water solutions and weather’s effect on sustainability. Raychel also is the SWE outreach chair at Louisville and enjoys working with K-12 students through mentorship and STEM events.
“I am most excited about being part of a profession that advances our society forward. The possibility of changing the world for the better is what motivates me and I know that is only possible with lots of hard work. I want to apply my problem-solving skills to engineer a better, cleaner, safer world for all.”
Rachel Romano, Mechanical Engineering Student at University of Maryland
Rachel is studying mechanical engineering, with a focus on sustainability, at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clack School of Engineering. She’s passionate about using her degree to make an impact in the energy field, particularly focused on renewable energy. Rachel is part of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Society of Women Engineers and Engineers without Borders – a program that most recently took her to Sierra Leone to volunteer her knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life for people living in the community.
When asked what excites her most about the future she says, “I am most excited to apply my mechanical engineering degree to overcome the various barriers in wide-scale implementation of clean, sustainable energy generation and distribution. I want to help develop new technologies and tackle issues with current ones that make a difference in solving the growing energy crisis, to ensure our future is a bright one.”
Renee Eastburn, Mechanical Engineering Student at Temple University
Renee is a mechanical engineering student at Temple University graduating in December of this year. She started as a biology major, with an initial interest in healthcare, before realizing her passion for problem solving through mechanical engineering. Renee leads her university’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) presence as the collegiate section president. She was also part of the Temple Formula Racing team and worked on cooling system design for a year which led her to exciting internships with GM and Tesla. In her own words, “Engineering is always evolving and advancing and I like the idea of creating something out of nothing.”
“My advice to young girls thinking of pursuing degrees in STEM related fields is to not shy away from challenges because of fear of failure. Engineering students are notorious for retaking classes and having lower GPAs than other majors, which can be intimidating for young girls since there is an immense pressure on us to be perfect. Do not get discouraged; rather, learn from failure and get back up to try again, because working through these challenging STEM classes will pay off in the long-run.”
Jeana Fitzpatrick, Chemical Engineering Student at University of South Florida
Jeana is studying chemical engineering at the University of South Florida. She has enjoyed math and science since a young age, and more recently became interested in engineering as she has realized her potential to work on sustainability projects, specifically with renewable energies and clean water. Jeana is most excited about the unlimited possibilities her degree will give her and she is driven by the opportunity to solve important world problems. She’s also very passionate about influencing others to get active in STEM fields. Jeana volunteers with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and FIRST Robotics to mentor and introduce young girls to engineering.
“The most important topic I plan to make an impact on in the chemical engineering field is to grow the number of women in STEM, as well as women in leadership throughout the industry. After graduation I am excited to drive projects that will make an impact and expand my knowledge through hands on experiences and collaboration with other professionals.”
Megan Haase, Biomedical Engineering Student at North Carolina State University
Megan is a student at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina as part of a joint biomedical engineering program. The program allows her to take engineering classes at NC State and bio medical classes at UNC Chapel Hill’s medical school. She is also working toward a minor in genetics. Megan lives with scoliosis, which has helped influence her passion for engineering. She wants to design biomaterials and orthopedic devices to help those in need around the world. Megan’s career aspirations include researching and implementing ways to provide effective medical devices and preventative medicine to those in underprivileged countries. She’s also interested in conducting research on the genetic factors that control diseases, such as scoliosis, to help develop more effective treatment protocols.
When asked about her advice to young women pursuing STEM degrees, Megan says, “There are times when pursuing STEM fields can feel intimidating, but you must always keep in mind your passion and never let others prevent you from achieving your full potential. Experiencing classes with only a handful of girls or receiving stereotypical comments about choosing to pursue STEM can be discouraging, but if you stay confident, fearless, and determined you can do anything you set your mind to!”
Allison Laber, Civil Engineering Student at University of Kentucky
Allison studies civil engineering at the University of Kentucky and is expected to graduate this year. She was first drawn to engineering because of the wide range of opportunities the degree provides. Throughout her college tenure, she’s enjoyed several different work experiences through internships in land development, and most recently, in transportation and traffic operations. These experiences have helped her realize her passion for improving the efficiencies of cities, particularly though traffic engineering.
“I'd really like for my work to have a positive impact on the environment. Within transportation, there is an opportunity to improve traffic efficiencies, which in turn reduces emissions. I'd love to engineer new solutions that greatly reduce the environmental impact of transportation.”
Hattie Greydanus, Civil and Environmental Engineering Student at Calvin College
Hattie studies civil and environmental engineering with a concentration on sustainability design at Calvin College. She’s most passionate about her opportunity to improve design, through cost saving and sustainability, to provide access to clean, reliable water sources around the world. Her passion was reaffirmed while recently conducting research through a National Science Foundation program where she investigated microclimate cooling of green infrastructure in Oregon. Hattie is also interested in traveling and is inspired by her opportunity to have her work deliver a global impact. Hattie helped to create the Society of Women Engineers student organization at Calvin College during her freshman year and has seen a significant increase in the chapter’s involvement over the last three years.
“I am encouraged by the way humanity and technology will communicate in the future. We can honor our humanity while making space for amazing advances in autonomous and innovative designs to complement our lifestyles. This will save time and money, but also increase safety and allow us to focus on ethical questions in response to these powerful technological tools. This special relationship between humanity and technology can help make our world a better place.”
Marissa Campobasso, Civil and Environmental Engineering Student at Southern Illinois University
Marissa is a civil and environmental engineering student at Southern Illinois University. She is excited that throughout her career as an engineer she “will always encounter different challenges”. Marissa is passionate about problem solving and finding new, clean solutions – and she is motivated by the rewarding aspect of her environmental engineering contributions to a create a better world. Marissa is also excited by volunteering and has spent many hours on various building projects and adopt-a-spot roadside cleanups through the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Marissa shares her advice to younger girls interested in STEM: “If you're considering a career in a STEM field, you should definitely go for it. It's not easy getting an engineering degree, but you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. Always believe in yourself.”
Samantha Schultz, Biomedical Engineering Student at Florida Institute of Technology
Samantha studies biomedical engineering in the honors program at Florida Institute of Technology. She has always enjoyed math and problem solving, and was not specifically interested in engineering until college when she realized the endless possibilities the field can offer. Samantha is passionate about research and development and is looking forward to seeing the impact of what she works on globall
In her words, “Ultimately, I want to improve the quality of patient care by reducing recovery time after surgery. I believe designing surgical tools that are more efficient than current technology will help me to achieve this goal.”
Zoe Schwartz, Mechanical Engineering Student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Zoe is a mechanical engineering student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. At a young age she loved tinkering with LEGOs to build fun and efficient designs. In high school, Zoe was the only girl to join her high school’s robotics team and enjoyed designing and building bikes with her classmates. Today, she is very passionate about STEM outreach and volunteers with several organizations including Tech Girls, where she regularly runs lab sessions for fifth and sixth grade girls. In her words, “engineering is all I want to do.”
“I am excited for the future of technology because it can help break societal boundaries as well as enhance the day-to-day lives of individuals. We live in a time where opportunities for women in technology are abundant; I'm eager to watch and contribute to the narrowing of the gender gap."
This content has been contributed by TE Connectivity.