Monday, September 26, 2016

Call for SWE Speakers: South Seattle College

South Seattle College (SSC) in West Seattle prepares students for transfer into baccalaureate engineering and computer science degree programs.

We are looking for engineers who are interested in visiting any of our classes to describe the work they are doing or reflect back to when they were students. The students appreciate hearing these stories from the engineering community!

Fall quarter starts on September 26, 2016 and ends December 2, 2016.

Friday is the SSC engineering orientation class from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (except for Veteran's Day or Thanksgiving).

There are also other opportunities during other weekdays.

Please contact Linda Thomas ( for available speaking opportunities or if you have questions.

Thank you!
Linda Thomas

Sunday, September 4, 2016

FY17 Election Results

The nomination committee is very excited to announce the new FY17 SWE PNW leaders. The newly elected EC is:
  • President: Grace Lefebure
  • Secretary: Connie Starr
  • Treasurer: Suzanne Hakam
  • VP of Outreach/Career Guidance: Rosie Pham
  • VP of Professional Development: Katie Elliott
  • Section Representatives: Elaine Reeves, Kalyani Mallela, Sonia Hingorany, Theresa Krack
The next step for the new officers is two folder. There is a planning meeting on September 11, 2016 and all members are encouraged to come. Details and sign up is here:

Officers are also encouraged to provide a statement so that we can launch our FY17 newsletter with candidate bios and statements to launch of first issue of the Notes from the Northwest for the year!

Thank you and congratulations to our FY17 officers!

Maria, Lisa, and Corine
Nomination Committee
Pacific Northwest Section

Thursday, August 11, 2016

FY17 Candidate Bios: Section Representative

The FY17 nominating committee is very excited to present the following candidate bios for the elected positions listed below:
  • Section Representative (elect up to 4): 
    • Elaine Reeves
    • Erin Kiselica
    • Julie Bennett
    • Kalyani Mallela
    • Kat Morrill
    • Sonia Hingorany
    • Theresa Krack
    • Wendy Jenkins

Section Representative

Elaine Reeves

Elaine Reeves has been living in Redmond for 4 years now after moving from Edina, MN to work for Microsoft as an EMC Test Engineer. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN in 2009 with a B.S.E.E. (Electrical Engineering), B.A. in Physics, B.A. in Vocal Music Performance, and a minor in Applied Mathematics. You may be wondering where the music fits into this, but Elaine says she obtained the music degree because while she thoroughly enjoy the challenges that are within engineering music feeds her soul, calms her, and gives her another way to express herself.

Elaine is currently one of the 3 section representatives of SWE-PNW. With her other co-representatives, she has been representing the SWE PNE section at the both local engineering group meetings and at the regional level. Previously in the Twin Cities SWE she was both a professional representative at both St. Cloud Stata & University of St. Thomas as well as Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee.

Being one of the section representatives this last year has been a very enjoyable and enriching experience. I would like to continue serving the PNW-SWE section in this role to help further the vision the section is working towards.

Outside of work I participate in the RunDisney races with my husband at Disneyland, Disneyworld, and at the end of September I can also include Disneyland Paris. We are currently looking forward to both my husband’s first trip to Europe and then to Hawaii next year.


Erin Kiselica

Erin Kiselica has been involved with SWE since her freshman year of college in 2007.  As a collegiate, she held a variety of leadership roles, including Outreach Coordinator and Webmaster.  As a professional, she most recently held the position of Section Representative for SWE Philadelphia and served as a judge for society scholarship applications in FY16.

Erin graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with her Bachelors in Computer Science in 2012.  She is currently a Software Engineer at Amazon, where she works on the Seller Experience team for Amazon India.  Outside of work, Erin is passionate about STEM outreach, and enjoys playing board games and traveling in her spare time.

As section representative, my primary goal is to keep strong lines of communication open between our section and the wider body of SWE, starting at the region level and onwards as we work through the upcoming governance changes.  As a section representative for SWE Philadelphia (which in fact covers most of southeastern Pennsylvania and some of New Jersey) in FY16, I have experience with reaching out to members in a geographically large and diverse section, and if elected, can use this to bring new ideas to drive member engagement. As a recent East Coast transplant, I am excited to get involved with SWE in the Pacific Northwest, and appreciate your consideration!

Julie Bennett

No candidate statement or picture provided.

Kalyani Mallela

Since 2008 Kalyani Mallela has held a variety of leadership positions at the local, region and society levels. Her passion and belief in SWE’s tag line “Aspire. Advance. Achieve.” reflects in her contributions to the organization. In SWE-MN, her contributions included leading and growing the outreach program, developing new programs to raise funds, mentoring the section leadership, developing goals for the growth and advancement of section, and leading the executive council to a successful year. Kalyani’s achievements have been recognized by the Minnesota Section with numerous awards including the “Most Dedicated Member” Award.  At the Region level, she has held key leadership roles including serving a one year term as Region H Senator. Kalyani has been instrumental in re-aligning the SWE Society Awards to better align with SWE Strategy by leading efforts to identify gaps, understand the impact, working with other leaders to develop new recognition programs, and implementing them. She has been recognized by SWE as New Faces of Engineering top nominee in 2014 and received SWE Distinguished New Engineer in 2016. She has been an active member and a leader within the SWE community and continues to support and bring awareness about engineering and diversity.

SWE Society Level Involvement:
FY15-Present Strategic Initiatives Committee Member
FY14-FY15 Global Leadership Award Coordinator
FY13 Chair, Awards & Recognition Committee
FY12 Chair-Elect, Awards & Recognition Committee
FY11 Co-Coordinator Collegiate Poster Competition and Professional Development Section Awards
FY11-FY14 Judge for Freshman Scholarships
FY11-Present Member of the Program Development Grant Committee
FY10-FY15 Member of the Outreach Committee
Region H Involvement:
FY15 Region H Senator
FY12-FY14 Region H Awards Chair
FY11-FY15 Region H Outreach Representative
FY11 Region H Nominating Committee Member
SWE Minnesota Section Involvement:
FY15 Newsletter Editor
FY14 President
FY13 Vice President
FY12 Fund Development Committee Co-Chair
FY12 Alternate Section Representative
FY11 Section Representative
FY10 Outreach Committee Co-Chair
FY09-FY15 Active Member of Professional Development Committee
FY09-FY15 Active Member of Outreach Committee

Kat Morrill

Kat Morrill is a Senior Systems Engineer with Honeywell Aerospace in Redmond, WA. Kat holds a BSE in Computer Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Kat has 15 years of experience testing software and hardware for a variety of aerospace applications including communication, navigation, radar and satellite systems. She has spent her career advocating diversity in engineering, including mentoring student engineers and interns at Honeywell. She also has experience working as a volunteer coordinator with a large organization in Phoenix. Her responsibilities included working with event planners to ensure volunteers were provided for large festivals and events in the Phoenix area.

I would like to work with the Society of Women Engineers to continue promoting diversity in engineering. Diversity doesn’t just include more women becoming a part of our profession, but also includes promoting diverse ideas and perspectives. I would like to work as a leader in our SWE section to continue promoting more diversity in our engineering community.


Sonia Hingorany

Sonia Hingorany moved to Seattle a little over a year ago for her full-time job. She currently works at Amazon in the North American Transportation group, focusing on contract negotiations with third-party transportation carriers and Amazon's strategic vision for its transportation network. She earned her MBA from Carnegie Mellon University where she focused on concentrations in Information Systems and Operations Management. Before earning her MBA at CMU, she previously worked at Accenture for five years in a Technology Consulting Manager role, specializing in systems integration and technical architecture initiatives for various Financial Services clients around the world. She also has her BS in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Cognitive Science from UCLA where she held a position on the SWE board for three years. She likes to play soccer and tennis and enjoy the outdoors including running, hiking, and skiing. She loves to travel; she has been to more than 30 countries and visited 40 states in the US. She also spends her time volunteering for the South Asian Heart Center, where she writes grant applications to corporations in hopes of raising funds to help support heart research and the prevention of heart disease.

I am running for the Section Representative role, specifically the Membership Committee, for the SWE PNW chapter. I have extensive experience in working on boards of organizations and conducting outreach activities to attract, engage, and retain members of an organization. Not only do I have experience doing outreach but also have successfully demonstrated stewardship on multiple occasions by training and developing members of the organization to take over key leadership roles. I have performed these activities through being involved with a variety of organizational work at school, from being on the SWE board for three years and having a key role on the Indian Student Union and Asian Pacific Coalition club boards at UCLA, to being Executive VPs of both the Business & Technology and Operations Management clubs at CMU. As mentioned, I also volunteer my time to raise funding for the South Asian Heart Center in Mountain View, CA. My proudest accomplishment while I was on the SWE board at UCLA was the main objective of the Evening With Industry Chair, which was to create a networking night where students and representatives from a variety of engineering companies from all over the country had the opportunity to sit down and have a more intimate conversation over dinner followed by a career fair. This signature event required a significant amount of outreach to companies to attend and help fund the event, marketing to students, and event coordination with UCLA. Hearing my fellow classmates tell me they secured interviews and ultimately internship or full-time positions as a result of the connections they made at the event made it a very rewarding experience.

I bring a unique sense of cross-functional leadership, collaboration, and strong communication skills to the table from my involvement in these various organizations as well as from my professional experience at Accenture and Amazon. I have led teams of 40+ individuals and have worked in a global capacity with a variety of business and technical teams. I am able to recognize talent and build upon one's potential when I see it. I believe this skill will serve well in this role where it is imperative to be able to engage members and determine if they are interested and capable of taking on leadership roles. My vision for this role is to be very hands on with and interactive when evaluating if someone is interested in a leadership role and will likely succeed at it. My idea here is to have those interested take on some type of task to complete or event to plan and let them learn the job by actually doing it with some guidance from myself and others on the board. Encouraging them to come up with an idea and own the implementation of it in my opinion is the best way to attract, engage, and retain members.

I'm very much looking forward to contributing to the SWE PNW chapter and look forward to meeting you all!

Theresa Krack

Theresa Krack has been an active participant and member of the Society of Women Engineers since her college days at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She completed a dual degree program in 2006, earning a B.S. (major: physics, minor: math) from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is passionate about continuing her development as a professional engineer but also strives to pay it forward to the next generation and continue to find ways to improve the SWE connections and mentoring for current members.

Theresa was a professional member of the SWE Wisconsin (SWE-WI) Section from 2006 to 2013. Her passion was to help bridge her interest in SWE with her life-long passion for Girl Scouting. In May 2012, she became the SWE-WI Girl Scout Liaison, working to keep SWE-WI involved with Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE), coordinating STEM outreach events for both groups.

When she moved to the Seattle area in the fall of 2013, Theresa worked to fit the SWE PNW events, both professional development and outreach, in her schedule of balancing moving, a new job, and completing a Master of Engineering Management. She wanted to quickly connect with her new local section and was able to start meeting new people and learning what SWE PNW has to offer.

As the SWE PNW Virtual Brand Coordinator, Theresa has lead the effort to revamp and develop an improved virtual footprint for the section over the last couple of years, focusing on improving the virtual space to better member-to-member engagement for the section. She transitioned and updated the section webpage, launched an integrated social media platform, launched a new newsletter format and blog, and has been working to streamline the behind the scenes infrastructure for the group.

In FY16, Theresa expanded her role with the section, taking on a Section Rep role and leveraging that to help improve communication from SWE at all levels to the local members. She also took on several major roles with the ABJ2016 joint regions conference, hosted in Seattle, including Co-Chair of the Programs & Speakers Committee, Website & Tech Support, and Day-of Logistics Coordination Team.

Theresa has been a Senior Certification Engineer with Honeywell Aerospace for about three years, being recognized as a Honeywell Outstanding Engineer for 2015, and has worked in the aerospace industry for approximately eight years. She works with aircraft certification, dealing with FAA regulations and compliance, and has worked projects ranging from certifying the use of cell phones on airplane in Europe to Honeywell’s Runway Awareness and Advisory System.

She hopes to continue supporting SWE as a Section Rep, building on the foundation of the virtual brand to facilitate improved communication and interaction between members (and officers!) in the virtual space.

Wendy Jenkins

No candidate statement provided.

FY17 Candidate Bios: Secretary

The FY17 nominating committee is very excited to present the following candidate bios for the elected positions listed below:

  • Secretary (elect 1):
    • Abiola Gaines
    • Connie Starr



Abiola Gaines

Please note that this candidate has withdrawn from the FY17 slate.


Connie Starr

I’m passionate about outreach to inspire young women to pursue engineering careers. This has led me to join SWE. I want to take a more active leadership role as Chapter Secretary. I’ve held the SWE Colleague Scholarship Chair in the 2015/16 scholastic year and was a Certificate of Merit committee member where I networked with academic advisors in the local area high schools and colleges to recognize women in engineering. I organized the judging of the scholarships and communication back to the schools. In recognition for this work, I received the PNW Chapter Outreach Volunteer Award. Additionally, I volunteered weekly for KISE, a SWE sponsored after-school science club, at Kimball Elementary School in south Seattle.

Academically, I hold a B.S. Material Science from the University of Washington. I also I helped found the UW chapter of Phi Sigma Rho engineering sorority with eleven other members. Today, our chapter has grown to over one hundred members.

Currently, I’m the acting manager of the Everett Quality Laboratories at Boeing. In my spare time I enjoy reading, jogging, and organizing everything.

FY17 Candidate Bios: Vice Presidents

The FY17 nominating committee is very excited to present the following candidate bios for the elected positions listed below:
  • Vice President of Career Guidance/Outreach (elect 1):
    • Rosie Pham
  • Vice President of Professional Development (elect 1): 
    • Betty Smith
    • Katie Elliott

VP Outreach

Rosie Pham

No candidate statement or picture provided.


VP Professional Development

Betty L. Smith

Betty Smith has been President, Chair, Director and Trustee of over 9 professional organizations so she brings commitment, trust, dedication, value, experience and a true ongoing passion for growing women in engineering. As an Engineering Manager, Mentor, Coach, and Advisor, various young engineers have advanced in their careers and have been promoted.

As Adviser and twice nominated Trainer Extraordinaire, Betty has led numerous classes and training exercises on Leadership, Management and engineering fields of interest, including, but not limited to aerodynamics, aviation and safety.

I am applying for the position of Vice President of Professional Development as I am certain I will make a lasting impact in the lives and professions of many women engineers.   Beginning my professional career as one of the very few degreed women engineering managers in aerospace, I possess the passion for other women in engineering to succeed, to explore their talents, to promote their skills, and to encourage them along their technical journey in embracing engineering as an endearing and lasting profession.

Thank you for this great opportunity to serve SWE and all its members.

Katie Elliott

Katie Elliott graduated from the University of Washington with a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering, specializing in signal processing. Her early career was spent working in wireless technologies like the Palm VII wireless PDA, RFID readers and cellular base stations.  Soon, she moved towards more general software engineering roles. She is currently a Lead Software Engineer at Stratos Product Development in Seattle, which specializes in creative cross-disciplinary solutions to client problems and has many projects in the medical device field with unique challenges. Outside of work she tries to be, well, outside, whether backcountry skiing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, kayaking, or cycling.

I believe passionately in working to encourage and retain women in engineering and take seriously the role of mentoring women in my group at work. Having found SWE relatively late in my career, I've been delighted to find an organization which feels the same way as I do about looking for ways to help women succeed in engineering.

During the past year, I volunteered in the Professional Development Committee where I helped find technical speakers, hosted the holiday party, and co-organized the new SWE book club. The Professional Development Committee plays an important role in providing a forum for women to broaden their technical and professional skills. It also offers encouragement, support, and friendship. As VP of Professional Development I will bring my experience within SWE and the leadership skills from my career to offer a great series of events to our section.

FY17 Candidate Bios: Treasurer

The FY17 nominating committee is very excited to present the following candidate bios for the elected positions listed below:
  • Treasurer (elect 1): 
    • Sherrie Rippe
    • Suzanne Hakam


Sherrie Rippe

Sherrie Rippe is a Tooling Stress Engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Everett, WA. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she earned her Masters and Bachelor in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Her passion is helping others grow in their professional and personal lives, she serves as an Associate Board member for the North Seattle College Education Fund and works as a Professional Career and Life Coach. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her husband, and playing with her two dogs.

I am currently running for Treasurer of our section.  Honestly, while I would love to be elected as Treasurer. However, I believe that if Suzanne Hakam is elected we would be able to maintain continuity in our accounting and I could serve as an un-elected deputy treasurer and learn the ins and outs of the sections finances before running again in FY18.  As a professional member, I have served as SWE-PNW Membership Chair FY09 thru FY11, as SWE-PNW Secretary FY12, and SWE-PNW Section Representative FY15. I am eager to apply my knowledge of how SWE operates.


Suzanne Hakam

Suzanne Hakam is well suited for this position as she knows the details and history of the SWE PNW funds. Besides being Section Treasurer for the past 2 years, she was previously Section Treasurer in 2002/2003, again in 2004/2005 (as a replacement) and Region J Treasurer in 2007/2008. She has also been involved with financial audits both at section level and at the region level.

Suzanne is a long-time, active SWE member (since 1983).  She has held both appointed and elected positions on the national, regional and local levels, serving two years on the Board of Directors as the Region J Director, three years as a regional student coordinator, twice as PNW Section President, and twice as Region J Representative to the Society Nominating committee.   She has held other positions in the PNW Section over the years: Program Chair, Membership Chair, Professional Development Chair, Newsletter Editor, Section Representative, Certificate of Merit & Freshman COM Scholarship Chair, and the Vice President of Career Guidance.

Suzanne received her MSEE in 1984 from Wichita State University and her BSEE from the University of Washington in 1979. She has worked, primarily on military derivative programs, for The Boeing Company for over 36 years. She is currently in Wideband Communications and RF Systems in Kent, performing qualification tests and integration of phased array communications technology and electronic avionics boxes. When she is not busy with SWE and working at Boeing and getting her teenage daughter off to college this Fall, she also enjoys reading, gardening, and is active in Toastmasters.

PNW has one of the largest Section Treasuries in SWE due to 1983 Society Conference overage share, several bequests by Members who are still with us in spirit and several years of consciously staying within or under budget. This coming fiscal year, the primary challenges are to finish the FY16 joint region ABJ books (including filing the IRS tax return), complete simplification and consolidation of section finances and bank accounts, and investing our monies wisely (establishing fund with the Society) so as to provide long term support for scholarships and operations. Especially important to me is training and mentoring potential Treasurer successor(s) to allow me to move into other areas once I complete a third year as your section Treasurer.

FY17 Candidate Bios: President & President Elect

The FY17 nominating committee is very excited to present the following candidate biosfor the elected positions listed below:
  • President (elect 1): 
    • Grace Lefebure
  • President (elect 1): 
    • Open


Grace Lefebure

Grace Lefebure moved to Seattle 4 years ago from West Chester, PA to work as a Stress Analysis Engineer at Boeing on the 777X Moveable Trailing Edge Flaps. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in biomedical engineering.

She currently serves as the Vice President of Professional Development of SWE PNW and before that, the Newsletter Editor. Both of these roles have taught her a lot about engaging SWE members in both the virtual space and in-person. As newsletter editor, she communicated events, activities, and news to our members and worked with the virtual brand team to ensure consistent interaction with members. Now, as the VP of PD, she leverages those virtual platforms to advertise and encourage conversations about the in-person technical, social, and networking events. 

"I believe that my diverse set of leadership skills will bring a strong and unique perspective to the President role. One of the biggest benefits of SWE is building relationships. The Pacific Northwest is a technology powerhouse, with our section representing some of the most innovative industries – aerospace, software, biomedical, etc. I have spent the past year bringing people together over learning something new through networking events and tech talks. As president, I want to further connect engineers of these industries, maximize our network, and benefit our community."


President Elect:

No candidates submitted for this position.