On this episode of Diverse, SWE President Rachel Morford sits down with two members of FOX’s Domino Master’s Wonder Women Team, Farah Bajwa and Brianne Martin. Listen as they talk about their experience on Domino Masters and the engineering knowledge and background they brought to the competition.
Guest: Farah Bajwa
Farah Bajwa, currently living in San Diego, California was born to an Egyptian mom and a Pakistani dad. This Mid-Easterner from the Midwest has spent most of her life in Southern California where she customized her Electro-Mechanical Engineering degree, as it wasn’t formally offered at UCI.
At UCI, she was introduced to SWE, and through a SWE networking event, landed her first official engineering job. Since then, Farah grew from Project Engineering to Engineering Management. More recently, she decided to pivot and leave Aerospace for a more remote-work friendly industry and is now a Project Manager within the Electrical industry.
In 2012, after making a cold call through LinkedIn, Farah joined Synn Labs’ team to work on The Athlete Machine for Red Bull, which allowed her to creatively channel her engineering talents. The project was a life-size kluge (aka Rube Goldberg, or chain reaction machine) which integrated Red Bull athletes as links within the machine. In 2020, after seeing her chain-reaction work on The Athlete Machine, a casting scout reached out and asked if she’d be interested in competing on Domino Masters.
Domino Masters was a journey of sisterhood for Farah – From the former female teammate who referred her to the female casting manager, to the female manager and engineer who supported her work in her absence, to the female production manager and her all female engineering team, Wonder Women! (And the show premiered the day after International Women’s Day).
Pre-pandemic, Farah networked with other women engineers, supported two local non-profits, travelled extensively around the world, and enjoyed activities such as hiking, snowboarding, escape rooms, and yoga.
During the pandemic shutdown, Farah took advantage of the growing array of virtual tools, obtaining two AA degrees while taking escape rooms and yoga classes online. Currently, she’s succumbed to being an “engi-nerd”, putting her engineering skills, creativity, and her handy pink drill to work doing home improvement projects.
Guest: Brianne Martin
Brianne, also known as The People Engineer®, is an international speaker, a manufacturing consultant, and an engineering founder of 2 successful businesses. She applies tactical engineering methodologies to solve everyday people problems. With 10+ yrs of continuous improvement experience, she helps underserved individuals get over their constraints both personally and professionally. Brianne continues to reach thousands with her content and speeches and has been featured by BuzzFeed, Science Channel, Fierce by Mitu, & most recently as a member of the Wonder Women team competing in Domino Masters on Fox.
Host: Rachel Morford
Rachel Morford is a principal director at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, where she manages a team responsible for the integration of multiple space and ground programs. In previous roles, Morford led the Aerospace team supporting the production, launch, and on-orbit testing of three high-value communication satellites; provided technical leadership and supported strategic development of international agreements between the U.S. Air Force and other nations; and spent several years as a systems engineer working on national security launches. Morford has led the Aerospace Women’s Committee, served on the Aerospace Diversity Action Committee, and is an enthusiastic member of multiple Aerospace employee resource groups. She has been recognized with the Aerospace Woman of the Year award and the Aerospace Commitment to Our People Diversity and Inclusion award.
A senior life member of SWE, Morford joined the Society as a student at the University of Southern California. She has held several leadership roles in SWE at all levels, including chair of the collegiate leadership coaching committee, region governor, Los Angeles Section president, and director of advocacy. Morford is a recipient of the SWE Distinguished New Engineer and the We Local ELiTE awards.
Morford holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California and a certificate in technical management from the University of California, Los Angeles. An active alumna, Morford serves on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and the Viterbi Emerging Leaders Board. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Matthew, and their daughter Emily.