Past Leaders

2015-2016: Victoria Spencer
2014-2015: Courtney Thomas
2013-2014: Jessica Klemme
2012-2013: Laura Ashley Harris
2011-2012: Morgan Miller
2010-2011: Stephanie Smith
2009-2010: Lesley Telford
2007-2008: Kate Van Dellen
2006-2007: Lisa Dakis
2005-2006: Betsy Huigens
2004-2005: Malia Francisco Farkas
2003-2004: Heather Heiman Romero
2002-2003: Tracy Van Houten
2001-2002: Jenn Harris Nichols
2000-2001: Audrey Marsalek
1999-2000: Seema C. Shah-Fairbank


 

2014-2015: Courtney Thomas

Employment History & Current Employer: Civil Engineer at Black & Veatch, Sacramento, CA

Degree and Credentials: BS Environmental Engineering

Graduation Year: 2015

Fondest Memory of SWE:

Fun times at all of the regional and national conferences. Getting to know all the officers and hanging out in the SWE office all day.

Proudest Achievement as President:

Cal Poly SWE getting recognized by Cal Poly President Armstrong and the State Senate for all the work we do each year. Having the entire campus know what SWE does and understand the huge impact we have on incoming students and K-12 students.

How SWE helped in your professional life?

Having a network that expands globally where I can reach out to anyone in any place at any time. Having established friendships across the nation to help me both in my professional and personal endeavors.

Are you still involved with SWE? If yes, how so?

  • Program Development Grant Committee Member
  • Sacramento Valley Professional Section Mentoring Chair

2012-2013: Laura Ashley Harris

Employment History & Current Employer: Deloitte Consulting LLP

Degree and Credentials: BS Industrial Engineering, MS Industrial Engineering

Graduation Year: 2013

Fondest Memory of SWE:

Honestly, this is really hard for me to pinpoint. As I am reflecting back, I more remember the people, the friends I made, and the impact we were able to have on each other, at Cal Poly, and future generations of engineers. I know it sounds a bit cliche...if I had to pick, I guess I would say the SWE Conferences because it really gave me a chance to get to know the SWE girls better and on a more personal level.

Proudest Achievement as President:

I am really proud of the new membership incentive that our section brought to life. For years we had been giving out free memberships to freshmen... which most freshmen, and college students in general, will take anything that is free. So we decided to focus on member retention instead of increasing membership numbers alone. To do this, we offered $20 off the C2C Memberships (the same cost it was to us to give out free freshmen memberships in the past), and ask freshmen to pay the remainder of the C2C membership where they would have a four year membership for $30. In the first year alone over 100 freshmen took up this offer.

How SWE helped in your professional life?

SWE has helped my professional life in a number of ways. It gave me the leadership, management, delegation, and time management skills that are needed in any post-college job. These skills are not only talking points in interviews but also real skill sets used everyday at work, especially in a team setting.

Are you still involved with SWE? If yes, how so?

Yes, I am still involved with SWE. Currently I am the Vice President of Public Relations for the Mt. Diablo Section in Region A, and I am also on the slate to be the next Region A Treasurer.

2011-2012: Morgan Miller

Employment History & Current Employer: Civil Engineering for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District

Degree and Credentials: BS Civil Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, E.I.T.

Graduation Year: June 2012

Fondest Memory of SWE:

I was working with a class of 30 fourth graders, talking about the engineering design process. We did our lab, and all of the students worked on teams. We talked about how engineers have to deal with time constraints, material variation, and redesigning. My favorite moment was when were were wrapping up- I was talking to the students about what it takes to be an engineer. Telling them why I became an engineer: how having confidence in yourself and seeing the larger purpose and the good that engineering can do for the world. I later heard from that teacher that because of the lab and our chat at the end of the hour, 5 more kids wanted to become engineers! It was a great feeling!

Proudest Achievement as President:

When we were at WE12 in Houston and saw one of our officers presenting on planning outreach events. I was so proud to see our officers sharing the successes and best practices from Cal Poly, SLO!

How SWE helped in your professional life?

SWE has provided so much professional development and networking opportunities- I can't even start to describe the amount it has helped me! I moved to Seattle after graduating, and I only knew 2 people. I joined the Pacific Northwest Section, and instantly I had 8 more friends. I attended more and more, and pretty soon I knew a lot more engineers in the Seattle area. It's a great way to bond and meet people in new places! 

Are you still involved in SWE? If yes, how so?

I am still involved in the Collegiate Leadership Coaching Committee as the Lead for Region J.

Anything else you would like! Definitely go to conferences- the scale and impact they will have on you is incredible and so energizing!! 

2010-2011: Stephanie Smith


2009-2010: Lesley Telford

Employment History & Current Employer:

I started working for Abbott Laboratories in July 2011. I was part of their Operations Professional Development Program for 2 years, where I moved roles and locations every 6 months as a Medical Device Quality Engineer. I joined Abbott Vascular in May 2013 after graduating off the program. I currently work as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist for worldwide regulatory impact on the Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold System. 

Degree and Credentials:

M.S., B.S. Biomedical Engineering

Graduation Year:

2011

Fondest Memory of SWE:

It may sound corny but they were all great memories! I made such excellent friends who I am still hanging out with today. So on that tangent, maybe my fondest memory of SWE is my very first one -- when I attended High School Shadow in 2006 as a High School Senior, right before Open House. I shadowed and stayed overnight with two women who I still am in touch with today, and they started me on my path of SWE!

Proudest Achievement as President:

All of the publicity we got! All of the officers did such a great job we were getting published left and right in newspapers, Engineering Advantage, and even were the cover of the CENG fact book for a year :)

How SWE helped in your professional life?

SWE got me my full time job! I interviewed at the SWE conference for an internship with Abbott in 2009. After that, I was able to interview for and accept a job in Abbott's Professional Development Program. The skills I learned in SWE - project management, people management, communication skills, presentation skills; they all come in handy every day with my job. 

Are you still involved in SWE? If yes, how so?

Yes I am still involved with SWE. I am a member of the Collegiate Leadership Coaching Committee, a national committee that does Leadership coaching for college sections. Additionally I am the secretary for the SWE Santa Clara Valley professional section and I am running for Section Rep next year. 

Anything else you would like!

Go Cal Poly SWE!

2007-2008: Kate Van Dellen

Employment History & Current Employer:

Currently -  Lead Engineer of Systems Test at General Atomics, Aeronautical Systems Inc.
Previous: Textron Leadership Program Engineer for Textron, Summer Intern at Lockheed Martin Space Systems

Degree and Credentials:

2008 BS Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly SLO, Six Sigma Green Belt, 2013 MS Engineering Management from Kettering 

Fondest Memory of SWE: 

I visited Cal Poly my senior year of high school (2004) for admitted students day and my mom and I came to the SWE panel. An aerospace engineering graduating senior was on the panel, Tracy Van Houten, and she inspired me. I ended up calling her a few months later when I was registering for classes and needed some advice. I've been coming to Tracy for advice ever since. She has been the voice and example of "yes I can" when I felt the world was telling me I couldn't do something. I never thought I'd graduate in 4 year and I never thought I had it in me to be Cal Poly SWE Section President. She, along with SWE, helped me prove my 18 year old self wrong, and I'm a better person for it today. 

Proudest Achievement as President:

At Celebrate SWE in Baltimore having my parents watch as Cal Poly SLO won Outstanding Collegiate Section (OCS) Gold and Team Tech, Multicultural, Membership Upgrade/Transition, Newsletter, and Collegiate Poster awards. My parents saw that I wasn't part of some little club on one campus, but that SWE was huge as a Society, and that my team was a major player. The article is here

How SWE helped in your professional life?

When looking for my first job, it gave me tons of examples to talk about in interviews. Just this year, it gave me the ability to apply and receive a promotion to lead engineer (with 5 years of work experience) because I was able to transfer many of my SWE leadership skills (interpersonal communication, staff motivation, public speaking, meeting management) to the position. Basically, SWE had already trained me to be a lead, and all my company had to do was put me in a position to use these skills. Without my SWE experience, I may not have been considered to be a lead for many more years. 

Are you still involved in SWE? If yes, how so? 

Oh yes! After college, I was the awards chair for the Wichita Professional Section and I started serving on the Society-level Membership Committee. I've also been the Region i Collegiate Membership Coordinator, Collegiate Leadership Forum Coordinator, and SWE San Diego's Membership Co-Chair. I currently am the SWE Membership Committee Chair responsible for all 25,000 + members of the Society, reporting directly to the board of directors. 

Anything else you would like! 

On my last day as Cal Poly SWE Section President, I had planned the officer turnover gathering and I had such a great team that included many graduating seniors and graduating grad students. I was so honored to call each of them up and thank them for being on this journey with me, and I even thought up my last words of wisdom to the officer team "You got yourself to Cal Poly, SWE is the glue that will keep you engaged". Then they surprised me. As a Californian moving to Kansas I was a little bit scared, but I was ready for a big change. The exec board had taken red flip flops and put glitter all over them. They called it the "reverse Dorthy slippers" (think Wizard of Oz) as they would take me back to California. I framed them and I still have them today as a reminder of their thoughtfulness. 

2006-2007: Lisa Dakis

Employment History & Current Employer:

Chevron, since graduation in 2008, primarily focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, design, and construction. Experience includes 5 years as a Project Engineer working on project development, detailed design, construction, commissioning, and operation of energy efficiency retrofits and designing renewable energy systems(primarily solar PV) in the SF Bay Area.  More recently spent 8 months as an on-site Field Engineer for Chevron Renewable Power, supporting construction of a utility scale single-axis solar PV tracker on an air force base in Arizona. Next assignment will be a Field Construction Engineer for an LNG pipeline in Western Canada, starting in May 2014. 

Degree and Credentials:

BS in Mechanical Engineering, P.E. in California, Mechanical

Graduation Year:

June 2008

Year you were SWE President:

2006-2007

Fondest Memory of SWE:

Talking to prospective engineering students at Cal Poly Open House events.  When I was applying to colleges, I attended a SWE open house event where current students were more than willing to answer my questions about college, Engineering, and Cal Poly.  The sense of welcome and community inspired me to attend Cal Poly, and become involved in SWE. Every year I returned to volunteer at that same event and inspire young women just like I was, and I was pleased to see them return in the fall as freshman and see them continue to grow as students and leaders.

Proudest Achievement as President:

Developing professional and public speaking skills.  Being president of a large club presented public speaking opportunities to large crowds at meetings and events such as Evening With Industry.  In addition, SWE had a great relationship with the Dean of Engineering, and Dean Noori invited SWE to be the keynote speaker at the Dean's Advisory Council dinner, where approximately 400 industry professionals and members of the Engineering Department advisory board were in attendance.  Being able to speak in front of such an accomplished audience was great experience.    

How SWE helped in your professional life?

Being involved with SWE presented many opportunities to develop my organizational and leadership skills.  Being responsible for 40 officers, organizing events, and interfacing with leaders within academia and industry gave me valuable professional skills both within college and throughout my professional career.  I went on to be President of Cal Poly's student chapter of ASHRAE, Secretary of the Mechanical Engineering Student Fee Allocation Committee (MESFAC), and have also served in leadership roles within  Chevron and my community in San Francisco.  I also strongly believe that being involved in SWE and other clubs directly contributed to my success in obtaining a great job at Chevron and continued promotions within the company.   

Are you still involved in SWE? If yes, how so?

I was involved with the Golden Gate SWE chapter for a few years and served as a mentor and guest speaker for UC Berkeley's SWE chapter, and helped organize a few events.  Unfortunately, I have not been as much involved lately so I can focus on professional goals and volunteering in other ways.

Anything else you would like!

Thank you for including me!  Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or need clarifications.

2005-2006: Betsy Huigens, P.E. (CA), LEED AP® BD+C

Employment History & Current Employer:

Cannon Associates, Bechtel Corporation, City & County of San Francisco (San Francisco International Airport)

Degree and Credentials:

BS Civil Engineering, 2006
Registered Professional Engineer, Civil, CA
LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design and Construction

Graduation Year:

2006

Fondest Memory of SWE:

I have many fond memories of SWE. I enjoyed being a young student at Cal Poly and looking up to the leaders of the section, I enjoyed traveling with my friends and fellow SWE members to various Conferences across the US, I enjoyed representing SWE as President and I enjoy returning to SWE meetings as a Professional and meeting so many bright and eager future engineers.

Proudest Achievement as President:

I am most proud of two (well, three) things. First, I am extremely proud of the joint membership program that we pioneered with the other minority engineering groups at Cal Poly. We received an award for outstanding Membership Program in part for this program. I am also very proud of the successful High School Shadow program that got its foothold when I was President. Of course, I am proud of our section receiving yet another Outstanding Collegiate Section award.

How SWE helped in your professional life?

SWE continues to be extremely important in my professional career. I got my first internship through contacts I met at Evening With Industry, which then translated into a long-term job with Bechtel. I met my current colleagues through another event and managed to get a job at SFO through these connections.

Most importantly, the leadership experience I gained through various involvement with SWE has been excellent practice for my professional career. I encourage all SWE members to get involved – whether a large commitment like an officer position or a small position like a committee member – it is great experience!

Are you still involved in SWE? If yes, how so?

I continue to remain involved in Golden Gate SWE serving as Secretary in 2012/13 and will continue to be involved with the Golden Gate section moving forward. I also served as the SWE Counselor for UC Berkeley and visit Cal Poly SWE as often as possible to present at meetings.

Anything else you would like!

I met my husband (a SWE member) in 2001 as a freshman at Cal Poly. We were married in 2007 in SLO and just welcomed our first daughter, Joanna Grace Huigens, at the end of 2013. Joanna is already an honorary SWE member!

2004-2005

Malia Francisco Farkas

 

2003-2004

Heather Heiman Romero

 

2002-2003

Tracy Van Houten 

 

2001-2002

Jenn Harris Nichols

 

2000-2001

Audrey Marsalek

Employment History & Current Employer:

2011 – Current: Supply Chain Operations Principal, Pacific Gas & Electric

2005 – 2011: Supply Chain Manager, Protiviti Consulting

2002 – 2005: Industrial Engineering Supervisor, United Parcel Service

Degree and Credentials:

B.S. Industrial Engineering

Graduation Year:

2002

Fondest Memory:

Evening with Industry!!

Proudest Achievement:

More awareness of the group on campus and more energy from members

SWE in Professional Life:

Scholarships, connections, internships – those were the tangible benefits, but the soft skills I received were hands down the most important.  Speaking in front of 400 people? Communicating and presenting to senior faculty & industry?  Organizing large-scale events?  Managing a group of officers/leaders?  Those were the skills that got me where I am and that I’m still using today.  And SWE was the reason!

SWE Involvement – Not a member, but currently serving on Advisory Board for the Women in Science, Tech, Engineering, & Math (W-STEM) group here at PG&E – same mission as SWE and we closely align with SWE events (conferences, etc.).  I just need to sign up again. 

 

1999-2000

Seema C. Shah-Fairbank

Current Employer:

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Degrees:

Ph.D. Civil Engineering  Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 2009
M.S.  Civil Engineering  Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 2006
B.S. Environmental Engineering California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 2001

Credentials:

PE Civil Engineering State of California

Graduation Year:

June 2001

Fondest Memory of SWE:

I made many friends through SWE over the years.  But my fondest memory was seeing that there were many young women like myself that has a desire to become an engineer and were willing to work hard at achieving their dreams.

Proudest Achievement as President:

Founding of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Women’s Engineering Program
College of Engineering/Society of Women Engineering Time Capsule

How SWE helped in your professional life?

As a student SWE helped me develop my professional network during my undergraduate education.  I can connect all my jobs to people I meet during my time as an officer in SWE.

Are you still involved in SWE? If yes, how so?

Currently, I am a member of SWE but my level of involvement has changed over the past few years.