SWE Appoints 2 Special Directors for FY21

SWE FY21 special directors

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is pleased to announce the one-year appointments of Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua and Dr. Maisha Gray-Diggs (Dr. MGD) to the Society’s FY21 Board of Directors. The Board unanimously approved these special director appointments in a vote earlier this month.

SWE FY21 President Heather Doty committed to fighting systemic racism and announced a number of short-term actions the Society was taking to address the need for more diverse voices within Society leadership. One of those actions was to appoint at least one special director to the Board who is a person of color. Dr. Ekeng-Itua and Dr. Gray-Diggs were selected from the more than fifty nominations that were received during the short call-for-nominations period.

“The tremendous response to the call is a testament to SWE’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I am excited for the unique perspectives these amazing women will bring to the board from their professional experiences; Dr. Ekeng-Itua as an educator and advocate in the community college environment, and Dr. Gray-Diggs as a talent acquisition and inclusion champion in industry.”

-Heather Doty, SWE FY21 President

Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua

SWE special director Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-ItuaDr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua is a Professor of Engineering and Coordinator of the Smart Manufacturing Technology Program at Ohlone College, with over 15 years of experience in higher education. Before moving to the US, she was the Chair of the Engineering Department, and Senior Lecturer of Electrical Electronics Engineering at the University of West London, London, UK.

She holds a B.Eng. (Hons) in Electrical/Electronic Engineering (specializing in Telecommunications Systems), from the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria, an MSc. in Mobile and Satellite Communication Engineering from the University of Surrey, UK and a Ph.D in Cybernetics from the University of Reading, UK.

She is the 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award recipient from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) PSW section. Prof. Itua also received the 2017 Faculty of the Year Award from Ohlone College and a 2018 SWE “Advocating Women in Engineering” Award.

Dr. Ekeng-Itua has been a two-time Visiting Research Fellow at The University of California, Berkeley where she carried out research on Smart Sustainable Manufacturing and Smart Micro-grids respectively. Her other research interests are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Human Computer Interaction (HCI), STEM Education, Appropriate Technology for Developing Countries, and the Impact of Technology on Society.

She has been recognized by UNESCO, BBC, and the IEEE for her contributions towards bridging gender and race divides in STEM education and careers. She was the FY20 President of the SWE Mount Diablo Section, Chair of the IEEE SIGHT for Oakland East Bay and a Director of the Silicon Valley Engineering Council. She is also the first and founding Lead for the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) African-American Affinity Group. Rose-Margaret has created a TED- Ed Animation series themed “The Unsung Heroes/Heroines” in STEM starting with the Life of Benjamin Banneker. These series seek to create more visibility and change the narrative regarding the contributions made by African Americans in STEM. Rose-Margaret is a TEDx Speaker and recently gave a TEDx talk titled “Unknown Unknown”. This talk advocates for the visibility of women and African American innovators for equity.

Dr. Maisha Gray-Diggs

SWE special director Maisha Gray-Diggs

Dr. Maisha Gray-Diggs (Dr. MGD) is the Senior Director of Technical, University, and Events Talent Acquisition at Twitter. She leads a global team that recruits the software engineers, product managers, data scientists, designers, and researchers responsible for the services and infrastructure that make Twitter the go-to platform for #whatshappening. She is passionate about changing the face of tech and works daily to ensure #inclusionishappening in all of Twitter’s recruitment efforts. Prior to Twitter, Dr. MGD was the Senior Talent Acquisition Manager for Microsoft Silicon Valley/San Francisco.

Dr. MGD is no stranger to career transitions. Before moving into full-time talent acquisition roles for the last three years, she had a thriving research and development career in the consumer goods industry, working 11 years at Procter & Gamble (Cincinnati, OH) and two years at The Clorox Company (Pleasanton, CA). There she leveraged her B.S. (from MIT) and Ph.D. (from Northwestern) in Materials Science & Engineering to create household products for babies, moms, cats, and grillers.

Dr. MGD currently resides in Oakland, CA, with her nine-year-old twins, William and Maya. In her free time (pre-COVID-19, of course), she enjoys traveling, watches all basketball (#GoDubs), serves as a Donate Life ambassador and MITCNC Board Member, and chauffeurs her children to competitive soccer games.

The Board welcomes both special directors’ much needed insight and expertise and looks forward to a productive dialogue this year to advance the Society’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.


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