Hello Readers! The FY20 Nomination Committee is excited to present the following slate of candidates for consideration by the membership as SWE PNW officers for the FY21 fiscal year:
BiographyCary Kaczowka is a manager with Boeing Commercial Aircraft’s Customer Engineering organization. Over the past seven years she has been a materials engineer in Boeing’s Product Development group and a structural design engineer supporting the 777X program. She grew up in Massachusetts and earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Design, Innovation & Society from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2013. While working full time she completed her M.S. in Materials Engineering at USC in 2019. She lives aboard her 34’ sailboat, and has spent the past few years learning about diesel engine and boat maintenance, racing sailboats, cruising the Puget Sound, and sharing the joy of sailing as much as possible. Cary has been a member of SWE’s Leadership Coaching Committee since 2013 and a member of SWE since 2009.
Candidate StatementHello fellow SWE members! Like many of you I joined the Society of Women Engineers in order to grow personally and professionally, and hopefully gain some leadership experience. SWE has brought me countless friendships and professional connections and is one of the reasons I have the job I have today. I hope to be considered for the role of Pacific Northwest Section president in order to give back to the society that has done so much for me.
My SWE experience includes 4 years as a collegiate section officer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (including section president), 7 years on the Leadership Coaching Committee, and a number of regional and societal conference presentations. Most recently I was fortunate enough to give a keynote speech at the 2020 WeLocal conference in Salt Lake City. I have continued to stay involved with SWE through societal committees, and this next year I would like to work with fellow PNW SWE members to continue to build and strengthen our local section.
The Pacific Northwest is a unique location filled with talented engineers across nearly every industry. Our section membership is distributed amongst beautiful landscapes and has members at every stage of their careers. We have a diversity of membership worth celebrating, and along with the 2021 PNW SWE officer board I hope to create opportunities to foster the connections amongst us. Many of our section members are looking to network, consider career transitions, develop new skills, or simply to give back to the community.
My first goal as the PNW section president will be to help anyone who is interested to truly feel like a member of a SWE section (and have fun doing it). I’m looking for your support and participation in FY2021 – in whatever way is right for you. Thank you!
BiographyAlthough relatively new to SWE PNW, Rachel is a longtime SWE leader, having served as both section President and Regional Lieutenant Governor while living and working in Vermont. A Mechanical Engineering graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Rachel Gitajn spent the first 13 years of her career working as a Design Engineer in the outdoor industry—developing snowboard products, bicycles, and footwear in a mix of engineering, product design and innovation roles. In 2018, Rachel moved to Seattle to join local startup, Glowforge, as a Senior Mechanical Engineer. It was Rachel’s extensive outreach experience that first drew her to Glowforge, which makes a pioneering laser cutter/engraver optimized for at-home artists and crafters, seeing it as the perfect tool to help inspire the next generation of diverse engineers and creators. After moving 3 times in the past 5 years, Rachel is really excited to plant roots in Seattle and take on a leadership role with SWE PNW. When she’s not working, you’ll find Rachel either in the mountains (hiking, snowboarding, backpacking or mountain biking), or at her home in Ballard gardening and nurturing her beloved houseplants.
Candidate StatementWhen Dana, the WE Local—Bellevue Chair who I worked with as a member of the Program Subcommittee last year, reached out about the call for FY21 officer nominations, I was interested right away. After moving 3 times in the past 5 years, I’ve finally begun to set roots here in Seattle. My partner and I bought a house last year, and I have been itching to expand my local network and re-engage in community work that I love. SWE has always inspired and energized me, originally as a member, and later as a chapter and regional leader. While I was Vice President and President of my SWE chapter in Vermont, we doubled our engagement and event attendance, cemented our relationship with local organizations for outreach partnerships, and built a strong reputation for programming by sending the presenters of local annual workshops (on topics like Salary Negotiation) to the SWE Annual Conferences. Not only was I involved in my local section, I’ve also attended numerous regional and national conferences over the years, and have been an annual conference speaker twice, once as a panelist at the 2007, and later as an individual speaker, presenting “Designing Your Dream Job” in Nashville at WE15. I love this organization and see the next two years as a perfect opportunity to re-energize the local PNW chapter and re-commit our community to our values that seem more timely than ever - integrity, inclusion, trust, mutual support, and professional excellence. The President-Elect position is a perfect place for me to focus my energy and passion, while also learning the intricacies of our local chapter and chapter governance that will set me up for success the following year as President. Thanks in advance for your consideration!
BiographyElaine is an Environmental Compliance Engineer at Microsoft in Redmond, WA and an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington Bothell. Originally from Edina, MN, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Art in Physics at the University of St Thomas in Saint Paul, MN. Elaine earned her Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington.
Elaine Reeves is a SWE Life Member with over 10 years as a professional member; 7 of which has been here in the Pacific Northwest. Elaine has held leadership positions in both the Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest Professional sections and within Region J.
Elaine is active at the society level with reviewing scholarships for both incoming freshmen and upperclassmen since 2009 and has recently become a collegiate poster judge.
In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, all things Disney, and spending time with her husband, 2 toddler daughters and 2 dogs.
Candidate StatementHi SWE PNW. I am currently running for Secretary of our section for FY21. As the FY21 Secretary, I would like to continue the work on documentation that has currently been implemented as well as work on creating more clarity to the roles and processes of SWE PNW. I enjoy working with the executive board and want to make sure that they are supported in their roles as well as assist in bringing programs to our members.
I have previously served as your FY19 President, FY18 President-Elect, & FY15/16/17 Section Representative as elected roles and numerous unelected positions as well. I am eager to apply my knowledge of SWE to this role.
BiographyI am fulfilling a dream of service to a field (and organization) that first showed up in my life as part of a “What is Engineering?” assignment in Mr. Roberts’ 7 th grade MESA class. Born and raised in Seattle, I have had the fortune of applying my two engineering degrees in both industry and academia. For four years I was an officer (including President) for one of the largest student sections in the country (Cal Poly), and my first Boeing internship came after sitting with a recruiter at our “Evening With Industry” banquet. 18 years later, I had a “mid-career crisis” and left Boeing to become the inaugural Director of UW’s “Career Center @ Engineering,” where I oversee the professional development of over 8,000 Engineering students (28% of them female). I also serve as the adviser for UW’s SWE student section, which boasts over 400 members. Outside of work, I married my college sweetheart (another engineer!), and we have two beautiful daughters, who both aspire to be in STEM-related fields. I also coach girls volleyball at a local high school and am also President of Cal Poly’s Seattle alumni chapter.
Candidate StatementAnalytical. Arranger. Deliberative. Focus. Strategic. These five strengths are indicative of the detailed nature of my personality, fit for the role of Secretary.
I look forward to sharing our SWE members’ stories so that young girls realize that they are not alone. Being a minority myself in school, I wanted desperately to fit in and see people “like me” in my fields of interest. Currently being a mother to a middle school daughter, I know how important “confidence” is, particularly around math and science. And as a mother of a fourth grader, I’m starting to help my student navigate the choppy waters of the social scene & confidence issues. If we intend to continue an upward trend of females in engineering, it is integral that we open communication lines with a wide audience through programming and awareness. I want to use the Secretary role to share our members’ stories and be a visible presence in the community.
Just as SWE supported my development, I hope to provide that scaffold through robust & regular communication as Secretary. At my alma mater, I served four years as a student section officer and gained organizational, leadership, and communication skills. As adviser/counselor for UW’s student section, I share my SWE story regularly with my officers because I see first-hand how important it is to continue a young woman’s journey into the field; just because she gains a degree does not mean that her need for support, praise, and encouragement stops. At UW we encourage the College-to-Career membership, and I hope to use this Secretary role for more resource sharing & community building.
As Secretary, I look to re-invigorate the presence of the SWE-PNW our section to our members, both prospective and current.
BiographyI first joined SWE at Everett Community College and heavily invested my time to SWE at Washington State University (WSU) Everett, where I studied electrical engineering. I attended two WE Nationals while attending and three WE Locals. While I was at WSU Everett, I was the Associated Students President and graduated with Summa Cum Laude. I just graduated in May and am currently working at Crane Aerospace & Electronics and wanting to get more involved as a professional with SWE. This community made me realize how great and supportive women are in the STEM field and would love to see that spread. I love my dog Luna and recently just got more involved with hiking. If anyone wants to go hiking once COVID-19 passes, I would love to go!
Candidate StatementThe school that I attended for undergrad did not have many women engineers. I was one of two in the graduating class of 2020 for the electrical engineering program. I have seen the men that support the women in STEM and the other women empowering the other women. At my work, there are also not a lot of women in the engineering field. SWE is a great organization to really showcase everyone supporting women as we grow in the STEM fields. Being one of very few engineers at my work, I would love to spread the positivity of empowering women engineers. I would like to see SWE continue to grow to showcase women that are succeeding in these STEM majors. In addition, I would love to see younger generations adapt to the newer science and math that are being uncovered. I also see SWE growing to be a very diverse section that has a positive outlook on equal opportunity for women. As Secretary, I would love to be a supportive role in SWE PNW. Not only that but be an active role model and support the future women and men in STEM.
BiographyHi, my name is Prerana Jaikumar! I am a Biomedical Engineering graduate of Case Western Reserve University, class of 2018. I am currently a graduate student studying a Master's in Information Management, specializing in User Experience at the University of Washington, Seattle. I hope to pursue a career in product management in the health tech industry. I have served both as a Secretary and as a Director of Programming of the Case Western Reserve University SWE section during my years as a collegiate member. As a collegiate, I helped develop industry relations with my university through networking events held on-campus and on-site at local companies. I also helped organize our annual Engineering Explorer event with local Girl Scouts, where Girl Scouts would have opportunities to engage in different science- and engineering-themed stations situated all around campus. I have also attended 3 WE Annual Conferences, in Philadelphia, PA; Minneapolis, MN; and Anaheim, CA. SWE has helped me grow professionally - both in my technical expertise and in my confidence as a woman in STEM. As a former Midwesterner, I am excited to grow my experience as a member of the SWE PNW region!
Candidate StatementI am applying for the position of Secretary of the SWE PNW section. I feel that I am an excellent candidate for the position, given my extensive experience with SWE at the collegiate level and my passion for empowering women to pursue careers in STEM. I served as Secretary (1 year) and Director of Programming (1 year) of the Case Western Reserve University section during college, and I have also attended 3 WE Annual Conferences. I discovered SWE as a sophomore in college; the women I met through SWE guided and inspired me to broaden my goals and gain confidence as an engineer. I want to continue paying it forward for younger generations, to support my peers as they aim high for their goals, and to subsequently grow myself in this supportive environment.
My past experience as a collegiate Secretary and professional experience as a Project Manager lend themselves well to the role of the SWE PNW Secretary. As Secretary, I will be sure to document clear and effective minutes and maintain records in an orderly and timely fashion. I will also communicate well to all officers and liaise often with the virtual brand committee to ensure everyone is well-informed. I hope to eventually move into product management in the health tech industry; I believe this role would help strengthen my management and communication skills. Additionally, I am originally from the Midwest. I would love to share my experiences being from a different part of the country and network with women engineers from the PNW area! I will also be a graduate student at the University of Washington this fall. I plan to incorporate SWE into my regular schedule as a student, and prioritize it as I would with any class or research commitment.
BiographyErin Kiselica is a Software Engineer at Amazon, where she currently works on interactive shopping experiences with the Amazon Live team. She holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Outside of work, Erin spends much of her time organizing all things music-related at Amazon, and you can find her playing clarinet with the Amazon Symphony Orchestra and Amazon Winds. She also loves puzzles and helps run the Amazon Puzzlehunt and Puzzled Pint Seattle.
Erin is a SWE Life Member, and SWE has been an important part of her life since her freshman year of college in 2007. She has previously held various leadership roles including Outreach Coordinator, organizing RIT SWE's award-winning overnight outreach program for two years, and Section Representative for SWE Philadelphia in FY16. Most recently, Erin served as the Collegiate Scholarship Chair for SWE PNW in FY19, and continues to be involved in SWE through outreach and as a society scholarship judge.
Candidate StatementHi everyone, I would like to submit my name for your consideration for Treasurer for FY21. Our section has a huge opportunity in terms of jump-starting our programs and re-engaging our members this year, and I am excited to get a running start. Having good financial health is core to any program, and I am able to bring my experience from other board positions to ensure we stay on track and our records stay organized. Most recently, I created and secured the first ever funding for Musicians@Amazon, a parent program for Amazon's musical groups, and currently manage the budgets for the three groups within the program. I also have experience creating reports from my time as the Amazon Symphony Orchestra's Membership Officer, where I tracked trends in membership as well as presented member survey data to the board to influence our overall direction and to our members to promote transparency. While my recent board experience is musical in nature, I am extremely passionate about technology education and outreach, and have taught Computer Science classes in local high schools for the past three years through TEALS. SWE is an organization that means a lot to me, and it has provided support through my college years, transition to becoming a professional engineer, and relocations around the country. I look forward to bringing that same support to our members by serving as a part of the FY21 Executive Council. Thank you for your consideration!
BiographyStephanie is a member of Boeing’s Engineering Career Foundation Program (ECFP), a two year engineering rotational program across different business units and product life cycle stages. Since she started in 2019, she has worked in flight controls, additive manufacturing, and flight test. She has been involved with SWE since her freshman year at Rutgers University, contributing to SWE at the local, regional, and national levels. As President of the Rutgers SWE Chapter for two years, Stephanie worked with her executive board to create and implement weekly events for the STEM community and sought to make SWE an inclusive environment for all genders and majors. As a result of her passion for mentoring and STEM outreach, Stephanie has volunteered over 350 hours to engage the next generation of engineers and was chosen for the 2019 Outstanding Collegiate Member Award at WE19. In addition to her Rutgers SWE involvement, Stephanie was a SWE Future Leader and a Region E Collegiate Communications Editor. She currently is the lead of the SWE Student Programs Committee New Benefits Workgroup and ran a SWENext pilot mentoring program in Pittsburgh, PA last year. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys exercising, painting, and collecting succulents.
Candidate StatementFor as long as I can remember, SWE has always been my constant. The SWE Chapter at Rutgers University has provided me with a support system that helped me learn and grow into the person that I am today. As such, I would like to continue my involvement with SWE as a professional member and give back to the community as the Treasurer of the PNW Section.
I served as the treasurer of the Rutgers University SWE Section and have experience with managing a budget, collecting funds, providing timely reimbursements, and filling out financial reports for SWE HQ. As I mentioned in my bio, I also have had SWE positions at all levels, attended both national and regional conferences and am familiar with the structure of the organization. I can leverage the contacts that I created at these roles to learn best practices for our section.
Having been a part of the PNW section for over a year now, I would like to work on engaging more recent graduates and early career professionals. I have heard from members that they want to get involved and meet others in the area, but they are not sure how. Some ideas I had were monthly meet ups (virtual of course!) to discuss different topics or game nights. Another strategy I want to pursue is to collaborate with the collegiate/SWENext sections in our area more. We have over 500 members in our section who are all good resources for these younger engineers. As a board member, I would work to create these opportunities whether it may be long term mentoring or a one-time event. I am excited to continue my SWE involvement and look forward to meeting you all in the future!
Suzanne Ailene Hakam
Biography & Candidate StatementPNW 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 next fiscal year, the primary challenges are to conveying accurate section fiscal information to the officer team, complete a simplification and consolidation of section finances started back in 2015, and how to invest our monies wisely so as to provide long term support for operations and a revitalized scholarship program. Especially important to me is mentoring and working with the Treasurer successor, the Treasurer Elect. In the past the Treasurer position has seemed to operate more or less as a solo position. I am excited by the opportunity to make it more of a team effort and provide the supporting structure the section leadership needs.
I am well suited for this position as I know the details and history of our funds. I have previously been Section Treasurer in fiscal years 2002/2003 and 2004/2005 and again in fiscal years 2014/2015, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017. I have also been involved with several section level financial audits.
I am a long-time, active SWE member (since 1983). I have held both appointed and elected positions on the national and local levels over the years. I have served twice as PNW Section President and have held various other Section positions such as: Program Chair, Membership Chair, Professional Development Chair, Newsletter Editor, Section Representative, Certificate of Merit & Freshman COM Scholarship Chair, and Vice President of Career Guidance. I especially enjoyed volunteering for career guidance events. When SWE had Regions, I also served two years on the SWE Board of Directors as the Region J Director, three years as a regional student coordinator, and twice as Region J Representative to the Society Nominating committee. I also did double duty as the 2016 Region Conference Treasurer. I took most of last year off from SWE but am ready to re-engage.
I received my MSEE in 1984 from Wichita State University and her BSEE from the University of Washington in 1979. For over 40 years I have work primarily on military derivative programs for The Boeing Company. I am currently performing qualification tests and FAA certification of phased array communications technology and electronic avionics boxes. After all these years with Boeing, I am finally contemplating retirement but have made no final decisions. When I am not busy working at Boeing or with SWE, I enjoy reading, gardening, and participating in Toastmasters. And I am a proud parent to a class of 2020 college graduate, Lara.
BiographyMagreth Haji is a Propulsion Engineer that currently supports the 777X Engines Installations and Integration team in Everett, WA. Her work statement involves defining requirements to be met prior to engine airplane certification. These requirements involve; Flight tests, Fire tests and any engine changes to be implemented. She also analyzes flight test data to confirm successful pass for a flight test. Prior to joining the current team, Magreth worked as a Stress Analyst for the Engine Build Up team for the 737 Max. She also worked as a design engineer for the Nacelle Actuation team for the 737 Max program where she was in charge of drawing reviews from suppliers and clearly defining the AMM (Airplane Maintenance Manual) and CMM (Component Maintenance Manual).
She also serves as treasurer for BBEA Puget Sound Chapter. As Treasurer she has been responsible for planning and allocating funds for the year. She coordinates with all committees to make sure that they all have sufficient funds for programs put in place. Apart from BBEA, Magreth is also involved outside of Boeing. She serves as a Curriculum co-focal for the Joule Foundation. Joule Foundation’s vision is to “ridge the gender gap in Africa STEM education” with a mission “to promote STEM education among young African women through academic program”. As a curriculum co-focal, Magreth develops projects and workshops for students in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Tanzania to provide STEM projects experience. Magreth is also involved in other External Technical Affiliations (ETA) such as SWE, NSBE and participated at a BEYA conference.