Hello from your WE Local Raleigh Host Committee!

Raleigh is finally feeling like fall! Leaves are changing and WE Local Raleigh is drawing nearer! Registration will be opening soon and applications for travel grants and the collegiate competition are wrapping up. With all that excitement, it seems overdue that you be introduced to your WE Local Raleigh Host Committee!
Hello from your WE Local Raleigh Host Committee!

Written by Jessica Centers, WE Local Raleigh Host Committee, Marketing Liaison, Graduate Student at Duke University.


Raleigh is finally feeling like fall! Leaves are changing and WE Local Raleigh is drawing nearer! Registration will be opening soon and applications for travel grants and the collegiate competition are wrapping up. With all that excitement, it seems overdue that you be introduced to your WE Local Raleigh Host Committee!

First of all, what is the Local Host Committee? In short, the Raleigh Local Host Committee or LHC is the committee of women who are working to make sure that WE Local Raleigh lives up to its potential. The eleven women on the Raleigh LHC believe in SWE’s missions and the benefits of WE Local Conferences so much that they volunteer their time to help shape WE Local Raleigh into a professionally gainful, personally empowering, and locally inspired conference for all who attend.

Meet the WE Local Raleigh LHC:

Sarita Kuppili: The first person you need to know is Sarita Kuppili. You may recognize her as the face of WE Local Raleigh, especially when we are onsite, and that’s because she is your WE Local Raleigh Host Committee Chair. In her role, as the host committee chair, Sarita guides the rest of the committee towards a successful conference. It is no surprise that Sarita is so committed to WE Local Raleigh as she is a long-term SWE member working in the Raleigh-Durham area at Caterpillar. She has even been highlighted on the SWE All Together blog before!

Ashley Vassell: Next in line for introductions is Ashley Vassell. She fills the role of Sponsorship Liaison which is an extremely vital role when it comes to the development of the WE Local Raleigh Career Fair. While she makes sure that conference attendees are exposed to plenty of opportunities through the career fair, she also helps build local and national partnerships that allow for the whole conference to be successful. In her career, Ashley is a Cloud Operations Engineer where she deploys software to cloud platforms and ensures 24/7 up time of the applications! Ashley is particularly thrilled about the WE Local Raleigh Conference because it is so close to home.

Diana Berry: Diana Berry is your WE Local Raleigh Awards Liaison, and who doesn’t love awards?! As the Awards Liaison, Diana works with SWE’s Awards and Recognition Committee to select the conference’s award recipients. Diana is from Savannah River, South Carolina and has served as president of the Central Savannah River SWE professional section since 2017. With her leadership experiences, she has also contributed as an author to the great business book “The Better Business Book Volume 3”!

Katrina Cribbins, Christi Wisleder and Ashley Suarez: When you attend an awesome Breakout Session at WE Local Raleigh, there are a few women who you should thank. Those women are Katrina Cribbins, Christi Wisleder and Ashley Suarez – your Raleigh Program Liaisons. In their role, these women help evaluate breakout sessions as well as what networking topics should be discussed and highlighted at WE Local Raleigh. Of the three of these women, only one is from North Carolina – a unique attribute of WE Local.

Katrina is from Michigan, although she would like to live on the East Coast… maybe that’s why she is so excited for WE Local Raleigh?! Christi is a Senior Civil Project Engineer at Merrick & Company in Colorado and she was on the 2019 WE Local Denver Host Committee. Christi’s favorite thing about SWE is the personal and professional growth network that is available to everyone in STEM, from kindergarten to seasoned professionals. It is no wonder why Christi is on the Program Subcommittee hoping to shape Raleigh to be as beneficial as possible to all attendees. Ashley is a Senior Engineering Specialist in Pharmaceutical Technical Operations from Wilson, North Carolina. Ashley is looking forward to WE Local Raleigh because it will give SWE more of a presence within the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill). Ashley also hopes the conference will inspire more people in the area to join SWE, as well as the Eastern NC section. In addition to her job and SWE activity, Ashley also has recently become a mom!

Aishwarya Vaidyanathan and Ria Corder: Aishwarya Vaidyanathan and Ria Corder are Raleigh’s Social Subcommittee Liaisons. They are the Liaisons who give WE Local Raleigh personality. They plan the Friday night event known as the WE Local Celebration. In fact, the reason Aishwarya wanted to be on the social subcommittee is because she enjoyed the social events at WE Local Baltimore in 2018 and wants to help WE Local Raleigh consist of events with local flavor. Aishwarya is a Senior R&D Engineer for a medical device company in the Raleigh area as well as a member of the Eastern North Carolina SWE section. Ria is a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering at North Carolina State University, and so with the both Social Subcommittee Liaisons in the Triangle area, you can expect WE Local Raleigh to be authentic and enjoyable.

Emylyn Noma Reyes: Emylyn Noma Reyes is WE Local Raleigh’s Collegiate Competition Liaison. She coordinates all aspects of the undergraduate and graduate collegiate competitions including promoting the event, recruiting judges, reviewing applicant abstracts, and determining competition winners. Emylyn will be seen onsite coordinating with the finalists – perhaps helping with setting up posters or giving a pep talk – as well as onsite judges. If you are interested in judging onsite, let us know so we can connect you with Emylyn! Lastly, Emylyn is from Fort Washington, Maryland. That’s right! All the way from Maryland, Emylyn is helping out! WE Local is virtual.

Alka Upadhyay: Thanks to Alka Upadhyay, WE Local Raleigh has an extra set of hands on deck. Alka is  Raleigh’s floating committee member, which means she helps out where help is needed. She is new to the Raleigh area and was thrilled to join the committee after discovering how close she would be to WE Local Raleigh. Professionally, Alka is the North American Region Industry Sales Manager for Caterpillar. She is most excited for the opportunity to learn about the regional area, networking and attending the professional development events at WE Local Raleigh.

And rounding out with Jessica Centers (me).  I am your Marketing Liaison for WE Local Raleigh. You will hear from me through blogs on SWE’s All Together website as well as posts on the WE Local Raleigh Facebook event page. In my role, I am simply trying to spread the word about various things you need to know related to this conference and to get more people (like you!) excited about this awesome conference! I am still fairly new to the Raleigh area, as I am a second-year Ph.D. student at Duke University studying signal processing, but I am here and ready to dive in and promote. I look forward to meeting all sorts of inspirational individuals such as those who are on this committee or you at WE Local Raleigh in February!


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  • Hello from your WE Local Raleigh Host Committee! WE Local Raleigh SWE Blog

    SWE Blog provides up-to-date information and news about the Society and how our members are making a difference every day. You’ll find stories about SWE members, engineering, technology, and other STEM-related topics.

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