Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers Honors Six Outstanding Members : The Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers (SWE) announced the recipients of the 2013 Outstanding Women in Engineering Award at this year’s Evening With Industry.
The banquet was attended by more than 250 students, faculty, staff and representatives from 30 companies. The event highlighted students for their accomplishments. In addition to the six Outstanding Women in Engineering honorees, 29 students received scholarship awards from the following: Boeing, Cal Poly SWE, Chevron, Deloitte, Eaton Corp, Fluor, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Bursh, NetApp, Orbital Sciences, Parker Hannifin, Phillips, Raytheon, Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Solar Turbines Inc.
The Outstanding Women in Engineering and Technology` winners were chosen based on four criteria: faculty recommendations, demonstrated leadership, related work experience and grade point average. Each of the winners is actively engaged in several extracurricular activities. The winners are:
Silvia Aguilar, a mechanical engineering senior from Santa Clara, Calif., is a College of Engineering ambassador and serves as an elected member of the Associated Students Board of Directors, the Student Community Liaison Committee and the Engineering Student Council. She was the keynote speaker at the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), a program that serves parents of underrepresented students, and she also delivered the keynote address at the California Dream Act “Steps to College” Conference. Although Aguilar recently received a social security number under the new U.S. two-year Deferred Action program, she has lived for 16 years as an undocumented student, making her ineligible for employment and state and federal financial aid. Despite financial challenges and uncertainty, Aguilar has made the Dean’s List six times; she has qualified for membership in Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma, the international mechanical engineering and national engineering honor societies; and she has contributed to many notable student projects, including an assistive device to help amputees climb stairs that won Team Tech, a prestigious national collegiate design competition.
Shasta Billings from Grass Valley, Calif., is a student in the blended B.S. + M.S. civil and environmental engineering degree program. She serves as president of the Cal Poly Society of Civil Engineers and is a member of Team Nicaragua for Engineers Without Borders-Cal Poly (EWB). Her EWB contributions include traveling to Barrio Camilo Ortega to perform an extensive water quality assessment. Billings’ other activities in the field of water quality include working as an intern with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, helping develop an energy-independent solar distillation unit to treat brackish groundwater, and taking part in the Water Environment Federation Wastewater Challenge Design Team. Billings was also the lead researcher on new filter designs for the Polytech Waterbag, a water treatment device for use in disaster relief.
Laura Ashley Harris is an industrial engineering senior from San Ramon, Calif. Harris serves as an engineering ambassador and is active in many organizations, including: Alpha Pi Mu, the industrial engineering honor society; Chi Omega PanHellenic Sorority; the Institute of Industrial Engineers; the Sales Engineering Club; the National Society of Collegiate Scholars; and Mortar Board, the national honor society. She has held numerous leadership positions in Cal Poly SWE since 2007 and serves as the current president. As vice president of corporate relations for SWE, Harris built relationships that resulted in funding support and more than $25,000 in corporate-sponsored scholarships. She also led an outreach effort that reached more than a thousand students by sending SWE representatives into their hometown high schools.
Ann Livingston-Peters, a materials engineering senior from Everett, Wash., has worked on the Cal Poly Supermileage Vehicle Team since her freshman year, serving as a safety adviser, project manager, vice president and competition driver. Her contributions have helped Cal Poly win third place in the Shell Eco-marathon for the last two years. Livingston-Peters is the current Supermileage Vehicle club president, and also president of the Materials Engineering Student Society. Because of her interest in composites and materials, she has worked as a student technician in Cal Poly project labs, the Aero Hangar and Mustang ’60 facilities. She has also helped design production parts for a fiberglass boat manufacturer, and worked as a production engineering inter for Marine Concepts, a company that creates composite molds.
Angela Muscat from Issaquah, Wash., is a student in the blended B.S. + M.S. industrial engineering degree program. She is active as an engineering ambassador, serving as chair of the training committee, and a member of numerous honor societies, including Mortar Board, Alpha Pi Mu, Rho Lamba, Order of Omega, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She lists her co-op experience with a high-profile government agency as her most significant accomplishment while a student at Cal Poly. In this capacity, Muscat served as a lead on a division level project and made contributions in the areas of human systems integration, program management and systems engineering. She earned the Exceptional Performance Award for her work. Muscat also received numerous awards as a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority and led the organization as president during a difficult transition period.
Alicia Welling, a senior in civil engineering from Willits, Calif., has worked on the Cal Poly Concrete Canoe team since 2010, which has won the national competition three years in a row. She has served as a competition paddler and helped cast four of the canoes. This year, Welling is serving as project manager, working with six team captains. She also serves as the alumni relations officer for the Cal Poly Society of Civil Engineers and chair of the Civil & Environmental Engineering Student Fee Initiative Committee. Welling has been fully self-supported throughout her education at Cal Poly, balancing academic work, activities and a 20-hour-per-week job. Despite these commitments, she has made the Dean’s List four times and earned membership in Chi Epsilon, the civil and environmental engineering honor society.
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