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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 267: Where STEM Meets Film: Bringing Engineering to the Screen

Hear from two women engineers who were featured in the IMAX film "Cities of the Future" in this episode of Diverse: a SWE podcast.
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In this episode of Diverse, Diniece Mendes, director of the office of freight mobility at the New York City Department of Transportation, and Monica Morales, water resources engineer and project manager at Jacobs, share their experiences of being featured in the IMAX film “Cities of the Future.”

In conversation with Laurie Shuster, editor-in-chief of SWE Magazine, Mendes and Morales discuss the surprising aspects of being part of a movie, how it has impacted their careers, and valuable networking advice for women engineers looking to create unique opportunities for themselves.

Listen to the episode on SWE’s websiteSpotifyApple Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Learn more about the women who are bringing engineering to the screen in the Summer 2024 issue of SWE Magazine.

Speaker: Diniece Mendes, Director of the Office of Freight Mobility, New York City Department of Transportation

Diniece Mendes headshotDiniece Mendes, EIT A.M ASCE, is the director of freight mobility at the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT). NYC DOT is the agency of the government of New York City responsible for the management of much of New York City’s transportation infrastructure crucial to its economic vitality and quality of life, including but not limited to 6,300 miles of streets and highways, over 12,000 miles of sidewalk, approximately 800 bridges and tunnels, and the operation of the Staten Island Ferry.

Diniece has worked at NYC DOT since 2014 and was responsible for leading the development and implementation of “Delivering New York: A Smart Truck Management for NYC” and “Delivering Green” strategic plans. These provided the foundation for the City’s freight strategy, further cemented in the Adams Administration’s Strategic Climate Plan “PlaNYC Getting Sustainability Done” and through several locally mandated initiatives.

In her role, Diniece leads a fourteen-person team dedicated to enhancing urban freight transportation’s safety, efficiency, and sustainability. Over the past year, she has directed the advancement of several initiatives, including microhubs, new regulations for pedal-assist cargo bikes, Locker NYC pilot, off-hours delivery incentives, and truck route redesign. Diniece is spearheading a citywide freight decarbonization effort, developing a medium-heavy-duty vehicle electrification strategy, and advancing NYC’s Blue Highways initiative to leverage waterborne transport and reduce truck dependency for last-mile deliveries.

Diniece serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers Transportation and Development Institute Board of Governors at the society level and is passionate about educating, elevating, and empowering changemakers in STEM fields. Diniece attended the City College of New York- CUNY (B.E. Civil Engineering) and The University of Texas at Austin, CUNY (M.S. Civil Engineering).

Speaker: Monica Morales, Water Resources Engineer and Project Manager, Jacobs

Monica Morales headshotMonica Morales, P.E., ENV SP, is a water resources engineer, project manager, and northern Nevada water market client sales lead at Jacobs located in its Reno, Nev. office and also serves as Jacobs’ Enlace Employee Network’s Americas STEAM program lead.

Externally from Jacobs, she serves as a director-at-large for American Society of Civil Engineers Truckee Meadows Branch leading its K-12 outreach efforts and the northern Nevada public outreach chair for the Nevada Water Environment Association. Monica is either the project manager, deputy project manager, or task lead on projects helping to solve future droughts in Southern California and protect local water resources in Nevada and Utah.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Oregon State University as a first-generation college graduate and is passionate about sharing her career path story with other first-generation college students, students from low-income families, girls, and students of color.

She believes this concerted effort in outreach will help diversify our future STEAM workforce and represent our diverse public-at-large to provide for better solutions for the public-at-large. She has nearly reached 10,000 students the past seven years she has been actively involved in STEAM outreach, from classroom visits to large-scale, fully funded, engineering related field trips.

Laurie Shuster, Editor-in-Chief, SWE Magazine

Laurie Shuster square headshotLaurie A. Shuster is the Editor-in-Chief of SWE Magazine for the Society of Women Engineers. She has more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, and managing print and online publications in the B2B (business-to-business) field. Shuster is responsible for the content planning, editing, production, and day-to-day management of SWE Magazine.

Before joining SWE, Shuster was Deputy Editor of Landscape Architecture Magazine for the American Society of Landscape Architects and Editor-in-Chief of Civil Engineering magazine for the American Society of Civil Engineers. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Maryland and completed the Program for Developing Managers at Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston.

Throughout her career, Laurie received numerous accolades and awards for her magazine work, both in editorial and design excellence.


Diverse: a SWE podcast has been recognized as a top women in STEM podcast and a top engineering podcast!

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