On this episode of Diverse, SWE President Dayna Johnson sits down with some of the cast of Netflix’s Baking Impossible. Co-winners Sara Schonour and Rodolfo Goncalves join Dayna with fellow contestants Jacob Swiezy and Brandi Romines and Baking Impossible judge Andrew Smyth to talk about what bakineering is and what their experience on the show was like.
They also discuss WE22, SWE’s annual conference, where Sara, Rodolfo, Jacob and Brandi will be joining Dayna to create an edible landscape and undergo a live stress test with help from the audience! This amazing event, Engineers Make and Bake the Impossible, will take place Saturday, October 22nd at the WE22 Closing Ceremony. You can find more information about this event here.
Host: Dayna Johnson
Dayna Johnson, P.E., is the Emerging Technology Programs and Operations Leader at GE Gas Power. She joined GE in 2012 as a commercial manager, leading large teams through the bidding process to develop proposals for high-voltage electrical substations. Her performance in that role earned her a position in GE’s Accelerated Leadership Program. Prior to joining GE, she worked as a civil engineer, designing water and wastewater projects for rapidly growing communities in the Chicago suburbs.
She holds a B.S. in civil engineering and a Master of Engineering Management from Valparaiso University, and she is a licensed professional engineer, and LEED accredited professional.
Johnson has been an active member of SWE since joining as a collegiate member in 2000. She has served as Chicago Regional Section president and section representative and as Region H lieutenant governor and treasurer. She was previously the awards and recognition committee chair and WE11 local host committee co-chair. She was also engaged as a governance task force member and a senator before joining the Board of Directors. She received the SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award in 2011 and the Emerging Leader Award in 2018.
Sara Schonour is a lighting enthusiast, nature & food lover, and world traveler. When she’s not working on her dream property (net positive by 2050!) with her wife, she’s usually hiking, skiing, drawing, doing a puzzle, or hanging out at the community theater. Sara is the Vice President of Education and Engagement at Lytei, where she helps lead a team of changemakers and cheerleaders for the world of lighting design.
Before Lytei, Sara founded and led an award-winning lighting studio for an internationally acclaimed architectural firm. Sara loves to learn and also loves to teach; she’s served as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer for multiple university lighting programs in addition to presenting lighting and engineering concepts to K-12 STEAM students.
She speaks regularly at events, on podcasts, and at conferences on all kinds of topics surrounding light, engineering, leadership, career path, and now, what it’s like to be on reality TV! You can see another side of Sara on the hit Netflix show, Baking Impossible.
Brandi Romines – wife, mom to two and baker extraordinaire, or “Caker” as her friends and family like to call her. When she isn’t in the kitchen baking something crazy, Brandi loves spending time with her kids, Titus and Larkin. She also loves her Kentucky Wildcats and can be found at every home football game and most home basketball games. She also loves the outdoors and being at the lake or a creek fishing with her husband, Shawn.
She doesn’t just build cakes! In the summer you’ll most likely find her building her own animatronics in anticipation of her favorite holiday, Halloween!
Jacob is a hobbyist, engineer, food enthusiast, and athletic fanatic. He graduated from MIT in 2019 with a degree in aerospace engineering and currently works as an electrical engineer at Microsoft. His engineering background and innate curiosity have led him to tackle projects ranging from rockets to robots to AI tools. When he’s not busy at work, Jacob continues to apply his engineering skills to DIY electronic projects and home improvement projects.
When his mind needs a break, Jacob turns to the kitchen to release his creative energy and to the outdoors to release his physical energy. Jacob loves being creative in the kitchen, often using recipes more as inspiration and less as directions. Outside, Jacob loves to run, bike, and walk his Jack Russell Terrier, Odie.