Five women engineering students were honored for excelling in leadership, work experience and grade point average at the 34th annual Evening with the Industry gala last Thursday at the San Luis Obispo Embassy Suites. The event was put on by the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers (SWE). At the event, the winners of the engineering and technology award were announced, $27,500 worth of scholarships were awarded, the SWE president was named an emerging leader, and Lee McFarland, a lecturer in mechanical engineering, was named “Most Supportive Professor.”
The women engineers recognized were five out of 18 nominated by their department. Nominees were evaluated on faculty recommendations, demonstrated leadership, work experience and grade point average. All of the winners were also involved in multiple extracurricular activities.
Once each student was nominated, they completed a questionnaire and submitted a résumé as well as one letter of recommendation. The selection was done by a group of three faculty from across the college of engineering.
Some of the winners have had internships with companies like Google, Raytheon Missile systems and Boeing. Allison Holmgren, is an industrial engineering graduate and past intern with Raytheon Missile systems. In the process, she became a Certified Raytheon Six Sigma Specialist. Cameron Schelmeris, an industrial engineering senior, had an internship with Boeing in Washington. Alyssa Daw is a software engineering senior who worked as a Google software engineer test intern and has a 3.99 cumulative grade point average. Other winners worked on projects and led campus groups. Roshani Patel is a civil engineering senior and participant in a project at University of California, Davis dealing with the interaction of seismic soil-structure. The final winner, Jessica Paz, is an industrial engineering senior and president of Cal Poly’s Engineering Student Council.
The recipient of 2010’s Outstanding Women in Engineering and Technology Award, Alyssa Daw, has been a member of Society of Women Engineers since 2006. She has held leadership positions such as vice president of public relations and network director.
“My favorite part is the outreach. I kind of get to give back to the next generation,” Daw said. “I like to feel like I might be paving the way for them to become engineers.”
In addition to recognizing these students for their achievements, scholarships were given out out the event.
Students apply for these scholarships ahead of time. Some of them are through the college, while others are from outside companies. A total of 35 scholarships were given out and the awards ranged from $500 to $1,500.
Another yearly award at the banquet is to choose the “Most Supportive Professor” from within all engineering departments. After the club receives nominations for this award, a committee of club members interviews the candidates and make a decision. This year, the award went to former club adviser and lecturer Lee McFarland.
“I think it is quite an honor,” McFarland said of being chosen out of 14 nominated faculty members.
Another leader recognized was Society of Women Engineers’ president Lesley Telford. She was named the collegiate emerging leader for the region, which includes Southern California, Southern Nevada,Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.
Telford didn’t really become interested in science until she watched the Crime Scene Investigation shows and wanted to be a forensics scientist. After she took biology she decided she wanted to do more than just research.
“Being president of Society of Women Engineers has allowed me to makes contacts in the industry and meet people in companies that I would eventually like to work in,” Telford said.