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From breaking the glass ceiling in industry, academia, and research to an array of accomplishments, these women are making news.

An Award-Winning Dean

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Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson, Ph.D., UCLA professor, molecular, cell, and developmental biology, and holder of the Keith and Cecilia Terasaki Presidential Endowed Chair, was named dean of the division of life sciences in the UCLA College, effective Sept. 1. An award-winning scientist whose research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation, particularly RNA splicing, chromatin modification, and the intersection between these reactions, Dr. Johnson has been a member of the faculty since 2013 and has served as associate dean for inclusive excellence in the division of life sciences since January 2015.

Prior to her appointment at UCLA, Dr. Johnson was a member of the University of California, San Diego biological sciences faculty from 2003 to 2013, and a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. Recognized for her scientific leadership and contributions to educational innovation, and as a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Johnson serves as a member of the UCLA Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research oversight committee; chair and director of the biomedical research minor; co-director and steering committee member for the Bruins in Genomics summer program; and co-director/co-principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health-funded UPLIFT/IRACDA program, which supports postdoctoral researchers preparing for academic careers.

Dr. Johnson also started the UCLA-HHMI Pathways to Success program, which is funded through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, to support the success of students from diverse backgrounds in STEM fields. She is also the principal investigator for a second HHMI grant aimed at promoting greater access and success for students studying life sciences who transfer from community colleges.

Beyond UCLA, Dr. Johnson has served as chair of an NIH Molecular Genetics study section, the National Cancer Institute board of scientific counselors, the executive committee for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and the executive board of the Society of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award; the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; the UCLA Academic Senate Award for Career Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and the UCLA Life Sciences Award for Inclusive Excellence through teaching, mentorship, service, and research. 

AIChE Honors Three Outstanding Women

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Stephanie Farrell

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) recognized three women for outstanding contributions to engineering education, materials science and engineering, and environmental chemical engineering, respectively. 

Stephanie Farrell, Ph.D., professor and founding chair of experiential engineering education, and interim dean of the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering at Rowan University, received the Award for Service to Chemical Engineering Education.

 Dr. Farrell has contributed to engineering education through her work in inductive pedagogy, spatial skills, and inclusion and diversity. She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education with several teaching awards, including the 2004 National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the 2005 Quinn Award for experiential learning. She was a 2014-15 Fulbright Scholar in Engineering Education at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland).

Karen Winey, Ph.D.
Karen Winey

The Braskem Award for Excellence in Materials Engineering and Science was given to Karen Winey, Ph.D., professor and Towerbrook Foundation Faculty Fellow, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Winey’s current interests include both polymer nanocomposites and ion-containing polymers. In nanocomposites, she designs and fabricates polymer nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes and metal nanowires with the aim of understanding how to improve their mechanical, thermal, and especially electrical conductivity and resistive switching properties. In ion-containing polymers, including block copolymers and polymers with ionic liquids, Dr. Winey combines imaging and scattering methods to provide unprecedented insights into their morphologies. Current efforts focus on correlating nanoscale structures with ion transport properties.

Lea Hildebrandt Ruiz
Lea Hildebrandt Ruiz

Lea Hildebrandt Ruiz, Ph.D., assistant professor, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, received the Environmental Division Early Career Award. She focuses her research on atmospheric chemistry and the effects of physical and chemical processing of pollutants on human exposure in indoor and outdoor environments. Much of her work is conducted through UT Austin’s Center for Energy and Environmental Resources.

Dr. Hildebrandt Ruiz is an expert in the use of state-of-the-science mass spectrometric instrumentation to conduct policy-relevant and fundamental chemical research. She has led several measurement campaigns in indoor and outdoor environments and projects focused on laboratory chamber experiments. Most recently, she led an NSF-funded study to determine which disinfectants work best with face masks to minimize exposure to chemical byproducts created during cleaning processes to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Named a Fellow for Her Technical Leadership

Laura E. Champion
Laura E. Champion

Laura E. Champion, P.E., an architecture, engineering, construction industry consultant and an association management specialist, was named a fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) board of direction. For the past five years, Champion has been one of the profession’s technical leaders with ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute (SEI). In line with the institute, her mission is to advance and serve the structural engineering profession through every stage of her career. In her current position, she is responsible for SEI’s overall operations, including staffing; overseeing a $2 million operating budget; and planning and marketing programs, events, and conferences for more than 30,000 global members.

She also supports initiatives and programs approved by the board of governors to bolster the “Vision for the Future of Structural Engineering and Structural Engineers: A Case for Change.” Champion collaborates with the membership, marketing, communication, publications, continuing education, government relations, and conferences and events departments within ASCE in managing SEI’s programs.

First Woman Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Saundra F. DeLauder
Saundra F. DeLauder

Delaware State University announced the appointment of Saundra F. DeLauder, Ph.D., as the institution’s new provost and chief academic officer. She becomes the first woman to be appointed as the university’s permanent provost and chief academic officer and is the sixth permanent provost since the university created the executive academic leadership position in the late 1990s. 

She assumes the permanent position after serving as interim provost since the beginning of 2020 and as vice provost from August 2017 through 2019. She was dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research from her 2013 arrival at the university until 2017. During her tenures as vice provost and interim provost, Dr. DeLauder provided leadership in the areas of faculty affairs, academic standards and requirements, new degree programs, strategic planning, key performance indicators monitoring, the Delaware Institute for Science and Technology, the offices of Institutional Research and Sponsored Programs, and other areas.

As Dr. DeLauder takes over as university provost and vice president of academic affairs, she noted four key themes that cover the academic philosophy that guides her leadership: the university must build upon its existing strengths in ways that fully support the creativity and professionalism of the faculty and academic staff; the university must continue to increase its commitment to being student centered by fully embracing the ongoing conceptual change from “the way we teach” to “the way our students learn”; the university must keep expanding its research base and innovative outreach; and the university must continue to fight for resources to enable it to invest in game-changing programs and initiatives.

Dr. DeLauder’s 26-year career in higher education began in 1994 as an assistant professor of chemistry at Morgan State University. She then joined the faculty of North Carolina Central University, where by 2013 she reached the rank of full professor of chemistry. During those NCCU professorship years, she also served as chemistry department interim chair, associate and interim dean of the College of Science and Technology, and interim dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

At NCCU, she was the first tenured female chemistry professor and the first to become a full professor. She also was the lead scientist in a study titled “Environmental Risk and Impact in Economically Disadvantaged Communities of Color,” as well as the campus principal investigator of the NC Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

Outstanding Distinguished Service

Jenny L. Grote
Jenny L. Grote

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) announced that Jenny L. Grote, P.E., was selected to receive the Burton W. Marsh Award for Distinguished Service. Established in 1970, the award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the advancement of ITE over a period of years in an outstanding fashion.

A longtime member, Grote has served ITE with distinction over an extended period of time. She has held all offices of the Arizona Section and the Western District. She was elected to two terms on the international board of direction and in 2002 became international president.

She has continued active ITE involvement as the Western District administrator for eight years, and today is the district administrator of the newly formed Mountain District. Grote remains on several technical councils and committees, continues to contribute to industry publications, and is a mentor for many younger members. In 2016, the Arizona Section established the Jenny L. Grote Student Leadership Award in her honor, as she has dedicated countless hours over many years promoting ITE involvement to students. 

Newly Elected NAE Positions

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Carol K. Hall
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Katharine G. Frase

Elected to serve a four-year term as home secretary for the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Carol K. Hall, Ph.D., Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor, department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, North Carolina State University, will oversee the academy’s membership activities. She was elected to the NAE in 2005. 

Elected to a second term as councillor is Katharine G. Frase, Ph.D., retired vice president of education business development at IBM, for her engineering contributions, including the use of lead-free materials, to the development of electronic packaging materials and processes.

Newly elected councillor Brenda J. Dietrich, Ph.D., Arthur and Helen Geoffrion Professor of Practice at Cornell University and retired vice president of IBM, was elected for her contributions to engineering algorithms, frameworks, and tools to solve complex business problems. 

Achieving the Best Balance, Professionally and Personally

Tammy Reeve
Tammy Reeve

Tammy Reeve, CEO, Patmos Engineering Services and Airworthiness Certification Services, received the prestigious SAE International 2020 J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders for the extraordinary success she has achieved while running two certified women-owned companies and maintaining a well-defined and structured work/life balance with her family and community.

The award is designed to recognize women active in all sectors of the mobility industry who have achieved the best balance of life both professionally and personally. The recipients are selected based primarily on outstanding performance or significant contributions in two or more of the following areas: exhibits outstanding service to her company and community; demonstrates excellent leadership as a supervisor, manager, or in team environments; displays innovation and uniqueness in achieving corporate and personal goals; displays excellence in creatively dealing with the challenges professional women face; provides important engineering or technical contributions to the mobility industry; overcomes adversity; or participates in and is involved with SAE activities.

Reeve’s software-management-related activities and experience include software project management, Federal Aviation Administration coordination for parts manufacturer approval, and technical-standard-order-related aspects of certification, as well as consulting in the area of software and programmable logic devices/aviation security identification card standards and policies.

An FAA designated engineering representative (DER), Reeve has worked in the aviation field for more than 16 years. Prior to becoming a DER, she worked as an embedded software design engineer for GE Aerospace and AvTech Corp. She has worked on aviation equipment ranging from engine controls for the C17 to audio control systems for the Boeing 777.

AISES 2020 Professional of the Year Awards

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Kathleen Jolivette

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) honored recipients of the 2020 Professional of the Year Awards. The awards program celebrates the contributions of Indigenous innovators and professionals in six award categories: Executive Excellence, Technical Excellence, Most Promising Engineer or Scientist, Blazing Flame, Indigenous Excellence, and the Professional of the Year. Five of this year’s six recipients were women.

The Professional of the Year Award was presented to Kathleen Jolivette (Rosebud Sioux), vice president of Attack Helicopter Programs and senior site executive for The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona. She leads more than 4,600 Boeing employees who support numerous businesses and functions, including the design, production, and delivery of the AH-64 Apache and AH-6 Little Bird helicopters for the U.S. Army and allied defense forces around the globe. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance/accounting and an executive MBA from Washington University. Jolivette volunteers for and supports the Native American Heritage Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, AISES, and the Boeing Native American Network.

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Serra Hoagland

The Most Promising Engineer or Scientist Award was presented to Serra Hoagland, Ph.D. (Laguna Pueblo). She serves as the liaison officer/biologist for the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) Fire Sciences Lab to Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana. Previously, she was a biological scientist and the Tribal Relations co-point of contact for the USDA Southern Research Station in Asheville, North Carolina. As the first Native American to graduate from Northern Arizona University with a Ph.D. in forestry, Dr. Serra studied Mexican spotted owl habitat on tribal and nontribal lands in south central New Mexico. She holds a master’s in environmental science and management from UC Santa Barbara and a B.S. in ecology and systematic biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has published 10 peer-reviewed scientific publications, contributed to eight books, and provided numerous podcasts, guest lectures, newspaper interviews, plenary speeches, magazine articles, and scientific presentations. 

Laura Smith-Velazquez
Laura Smith-Velazquez

The Technical Excellence Award was presented to Laura Smith-Velazquez (Cherokee Nation). Smith-Velazquez served as a human factors and systems engineer at Collins Aerospace in the advanced avionics technology department developing supersonic flight technology. Her work at Collins Aerospace focused on intelligent automation design in both flight deck and unmanned systems to include human autonomy teaming. She served as principal investigator on the NASA Sonic Boom Display program to enable commercial supersonic transport over land. She holds five patents on supersonic flight deck technology as well as vehicle systems safety intelligent flight deck technology. She received a B.S. in aeronautical science, an M.S. in human factors and systems engineering, and a minor in meteorology and flight safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She holds commercial pilot, sUAS, and aircraft dispatcher certificates.

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Frances Dupris

The Blazing Flame Award recipient is Master Sergeant Frances Dupris (Lakota/Northern Arapaho), operations superintendent for Space Delta 7; during the award period, she was noncommissioned officer in charge of cryptologic engagement for the Cryptologic Services Group in the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command at Peterson-Schriever Garrison, Colorado. As an intelligence analyst, she was part of a binational joint military and civilian team that provides specialized intelligence support to the commands. She also served as co-chair of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service American Indian and Alaska Native employee resource group for hundreds of joint military and civilian personnel. She holds an M.S. in organizational leadership from Argosy University.

Sandra Begay
Sandra Begay

The Indigenous Excellence Award was presented to Sandra Begay (Navajo Nation). She has worked at Sandia National Laboratories for more than 27 years, where she is a research and development engineer. From 2002-2018, Begay mentored American Indian interns through the Sandia Department of Indian Energy Program, which she created. She inspires new generations of Native students and professionals to not only consider pursuing engineering studies, but also to explore research and work in the energy sector. Many of her interns have become highly regarded technical professionals, staff members, and leaders within tribal organizations, industry, academia, and nonprofit groups. Begay earned an Associate of Science degree in pre-engineering, a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico, and an M.S. from Stanford University in structural engineering with an emphasis in earthquake engineering.

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