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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 221: Celebrating Women Engineers in Government and Public Service

Learn about working in the public sector as an engineer in this episode of Diverse: a SWE podcast!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as an engineer in the public sector?

In this episode, join Jenni Dalzell (she/her) and Jenna Lynn Henderson (she/her), Co-Leads of the SWE Women in Government Affinity Group, along with FY24 SWE President Alexis McKittrick (she/her) as they discuss career paths for engineers in public service and government.

You’ll also learn about the Women in Government Affinity Group and how it creates connections and professional development opportunities for women engineers in this sector.

Listen to the episode on SoundCloudSpotifyApple Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

If you would like additional information about the Women in Government Affinity Group, you can send a message to or join the Facebook Group.

Plus, you can opt into the Women in Government Affinity Group email list by logging into your member portal and updating your Communication Preferences.

Speaker: Dr. Alexis McKittrick, FY24 SWE President

Alexis McKittrick headshot

Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D., a Society of Women Engineers 20-plus year and life member, has served as a volunteer leader in the organization for more than 15 years, holding roles that span all facets of the Society. Prior to being elected president, Dr. McKittrick served as president-elect and spent two terms on SWE’s board of directors, including serving as secretary and leading the senate as speaker. Highlights from her other SWE leadership roles include chairing two committees; serving on two governance task forces; and serving as governor of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Dr. McKittrick is currently a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office. She serves on the SWE board of directors in her personal capacity. Prior to joining the DOE, Dr. McKittrick served as a senior researcher at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., where she conducted nonpartisan research and analysis for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and various federal agencies. She also worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division, focusing on greenhouse gas analysis and policy for the oil and gas, chemicals, and semiconductor sectors.

Dr. McKittrick holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar.

In 2014, she was presented with the D.C. Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies’ Young Engineer of the Year Award and received SWE’s Emerging Leader Award in 2019.

Speaker: Jenni Dalzell, Co-Lead, SWE Women in Government Affinity Group

Jenni Dalzell headshot

Jennifer Dalzell is a Technical Assistant for the Division of Radiological Safety and Security for the Region III office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Division, including budgeting, tracking of work and metrics, and training for staff, in addition to supporting inspections and licensing reviews.

Jennifer joined the Agency in 2007 in the Nuclear Safety Professional Development Program, where she completed qualifications to be a Resident Inspector. Prior to starting her position as a Technical Assistant, Jennifer served as an Incident Response Specialist, was an inspector for spent nuclear fuel dry cask storage, and a license reviewer for materials licensees.

In addition to her technical work, Jennifer has volunteered for the last 10 years for her Agency’s Federal Women’s Program Advisory Committee, including serving as the group’s secretary for 2 years. In recognition for her dedication and outstanding service as a champion for diversity, Jennifer received a Meritorious Service Award and Federal Women’s Program Advisory Committee EEO awards in 2020.

Jennifer has volunteered with SWE Chicago for the last 3 years, serving as both the VP of Membership and the Secretary. In 2022, she became the co-lead for the Women in Government Affinity Group and in 2023 is the Business and Interests AG Work Group Lead-Elect.

Speaker: Jenna Lynn Henderson, Co-Lead, SWE Women in Government Affinity Group

Jenna Lynn Henderson headshot

Jenna Lynn Henderson, PE, PMP (she/hers) is a results-driven professional with a fervent commitment to empowering women, advocating for accessibility, and driving excellence in engineering and technology.

As the National Co-Lead for the Women in Government Affinity Group at the Society of Women Engineers, Jenna spearheads strategic initiatives aimed at creating a supportive and inclusive community for women in the public sector. She conducts engagement surveys, orchestrates impactful marketing campaigns, and hosts networking events, fostering an environment where women can thrive and leave a significant impact on their careers.

Jenna has excelled in a staff augmentation role for municipal departments across the U.S. and as a Project Manager on Civil Engineering Projects. In both roles, she optimized departmental efficiency, streamlined workflows, and prioritized employee growth and development.

Additionally, Jenna serves as a member of the City of Fort Worth Mayor’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities, as a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Accessibility Subcommittee. In this capacity, she actively advocates for the inclusion of all individuals and collaborates with stakeholders to identify barriers and develop strategies for improvement, ensuring equal opportunities for all.

Jenna holds a Master’s of Science in Technology Leadership from Brown University, where she received recognition for her Master’s work on the application of Artificial Intelligence for Infrastructure Assessments. She further enhanced her leadership expertise with a Certificate in Global Leadership, Innovation & Technology from Madrid’s IE Business School, her completion of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Training Program and the Certificate in Leadership Development for Engineers from Rice University.

Her strong foundation in engineering was laid at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering with Latin Honors of Magna Cum Laude.


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