SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter - April 2022
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  SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter

Mark your Calendars!

WE Local Buffalo: April 8-9th
Chennai India Roundtable Discussion: April 16th
Industry Tour at EQT Building: April 26th 
Professional Development Day: May 14th


Pittsburgh SWE Nominating Committee Announces Slate of Officer Candidates for Fiscal Year-23

Per our SWE Pittsburgh Procedures (old Bylaws, Section 4.C.), Pittsburgh SWE Nominating Committee is pleased to propose the following slate of candidates for the 2022-23 SWE Pittsburgh Elected Officer Positions

President – Elizabeth Foster

Vice-President STEM Outreach – Mary Zeis

Vice-President Programming – Laura Traczynski 

Secretary – Michal Chlebowski

Treasurer – Kim Daloise

Per our SWE Pittsburgh Procedures (old Bylaws, Section D.), if you are not on the proposed slate, but are interested in running for an officer position, you have 15 days to nominate by petition:

  1. You must be a member of SWE Pittsburgh section and be eligible for the position.

  2. You send a petition signed by a minimum of two percent or five of the voting members of the section, whichever is greater, to place the candidate’s name on the ballot for the named position; and

  3. The petition, together with your written consent, is submitted to the attention of the chair of the nominating committee  by fifteen days after this proposed slate was announced (Newsletter is issued) to the members of the section. 


Respectfully submitted,

Thank you from the Nominating Committee
Dianne McMaster, Chair, Rika Carlsen, and Mary Ann Walsh


SWE Pittsburgh Committees are also seeking leads or members on their teams. We already have some interest in some of the roles, but we definitely need more volunteers. Please review the list below to see if you have an interest in helping with one of these roles.  Email your interest to:

SWE Committees Include:

Nominating Committee
• Proposes at least one qualified candidate for the elected officer
• Holds the election for the officers and reports the results

Fundraising Committee
Leads fundraising efforts in support of outreach, certificate of merit, professional development day and other SWE supported activities

Collegiate Liaison
• Bridge the gap between the section and collegiate sections in the area
• Assist collegiate sections with submitting required section documents (Financial Report, Leadership Roster, Section Agreement, etc).
• Plan annual Leadership Summit to connect all SWE leaders in the area

Membership Committee
• Welcome new (and transferred) members to our Pittsburgh SWE Section
• Member retention, Recognize our members
• Grow our membership in SWE Pittsburgh - ideas are welcome

Social Media Committee
• To connect with our members no matter what social media platform they may be following. • To connect with the larger engineering community in the Greater Pittsburgh area

SWE Pittsburgh Website Committee, Webmaster
• Provides a hub for information about SWE Pittsburgh

Job Bank Committee
• Coordinate job opening listings for companies and universities reaching out to the Pittsburgh SWE section
• Companies and universities who have posted openings on our website and in the newsletter: (and many more!)

Newsletter Committee, Editor
• Provide a communication platform for members & local community
• A point of contact for both members & non-members
• Presently use Mail Chimp for SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter
• Solicit articles from SWE Pittsburgh officers, leaders, and members
• Articles include upcoming events and activities, re-cap past activities, member information, job openings, member achievements, and any other items of interest to the members

SWE-Pittsburgh Events Committee –

  • assist the VP Programming in planning Professional Development Day, tours, seminars, etc., as needed. (Year round)

STEM Outreach Committee
Volunteer leaders coordinate with the VP of STEM Outreach to create and deliver youth programming.
Specific roles include:
·  Certificate of Merit Chair – Runs the yearly Certificate of Merit program that recognizes local high school girls who excel in math and science and are interested in engineering or technology as a career.
·  YouTube Channel Manager – Uploads videos to our SWENext YouTube channel (as needed)
·  SWENext Programming Chair – Creates programming for the SWENexters in Pittsburgh (at least one program every two months), both virtual and in-person. (Year round)
·  SWENext Mentor/Advisor Program Chair – Matches high school students with mentors or one-time advisors from our section.  Handles any requests we get for job shadowing or talking with an engineer, matching up a SWE member with a student. (Year round)

   ·Carnegie Science Center (CSC) Events Chair- Fields “requests for participation” from CSC, finds volunteers to participate in those events, and buys materials needed. (September – May)

·  STEM Outreach for Schools Chair – Fields requests from schools for participation in their STEM nights, virtual classroom visits, science fairs, etc.  Finds volunteers from among our members to participate and decide on hands-on activities to do. (September – May)
·  SWE-Sponsored Competitions Chair – Handles the details for the three competitions where we sponsor awards: Future City, PJAS, and PRSEF.  Interacts with the hosting organization, advertises for volunteers, finds judges, etc. (December – March)

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, April 16th, 9 AM - 10:30 AM: Pittsburgh + Chennai, India roundtable discussion

Tuesday, April 26th at 6 PM: Industry Tour at EQT Building

Saturday, May 14th, starting at 8:30 AM: Professional Development Day 

June TBD: Meet and discuss the free, on-demand SWE webinar: Navigating Successfully Through Workplaces Shaped by Subtle Bias (0.1 CEU/1 PDH)

Industry Tour - Turner Construction, EQT building project

On Tuesday, April 26th at 6 PM, we’ll meet in downtown Pittsburgh to tour a construction site at the EQT building. Laura Traczynski, an assistant engineer at Turner Construction, will be giving us the tour of the site. This Turner Construction project is a 6,000 SF interior office fitout of the 24th floor of the EQT building. We will tour the current construction progress and share some of the lean practices they’'ve used to complete the project. It should last around 30-45 minutes. Any person interested in attending will need to supply their own high visibility clothing, hard hat, eye protection, and closed toed shoes. Following the tour, we’ll plan to either grab dinner or a drink in the downtown area.


To RSVP, please fill out this Google form:


Professional Development Day

Professional Development Day (PDD) will virtually take place on Saturday, May 14th starting at 8:30 AM. This year, we’ll cover topics including building and maintaining a professional support system, communication in the workplace, and managing yourself. We will also have a special keynote address from Shantha Mohan on lifelong learning! In addition to the professional development sessions, we will have virtual networking opportunities and an in-person networking dinner on Saturday evening. 


You can register on Eventbrite here:


You can find more details on PDD here, with information being updated regularly:


Slack Weekly Chat Schedule:

Wednesday, April 13th:
What does lifelong learning mean to you?

Thursday, April 21st:
How do you incorporate lifelong learning into your life? If you aren't, what do you wish you could do or know to make it easier for you?


Link to join Slack



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SWE Pittsburgh & SWE Chennai

Joint Virtual Event

Saturday, April 16, 2022

9:00 – 10:30 am (ET)


We are planning a SWEsters Round Table Discussion

We are excited to connect with other SWE members from across the globe to learn from one another and discuss our shared issues and experiences during this cultural exchange

Find out what it's like to be a female engineer 

in the USA and India!


You can find more details and register for the event here:


Hope to see you all on April 16!!

Spring is Time to Renew - Your SWE Membership

Soon Societal SWE will be sending out their emails to remind members to renew your dues.  Once again, SWE will offer a $5 discount for members who renew their dues prior to June. So please do watch for an email from SWE Headquarters and read this Pittsburgh newsletter for continued updates.


Are you going to WE Local Buffalo?  If so, let us know!  So far, we have Mary, Mary Ann, Laura, Chuck, Deepika, Terry, and Lucero.  We would love to take a group picture of all the SWE Pittsburgh section members who attend.  Please let us know if you are going by sending an email to


SWE Awards Given at the Pittsburgh
Regional Science & Engineering Fair


On March 22 and 23, 2022, over 350 middle school and high school students presented science projects for the Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF).  The fair is run by the Carnegie Science Center, and it features research projects in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering.  It has been a Pittsburgh tradition since 1940.

The SWE Pittsburgh Section supports the fair each year by donating $750 to be a Special Awards sponsor.

As part of this sponsorship, we recognize a middle school female student and a high school female student who both receive $50 and a certificate.  The judging criteria are: “Research projects showing practical applications of engineering principles.  The winning projects demonstrate a creative, yet practical, application of the selected engineering discipline.”

We reviewed over 100 abstracts from female students in the areas of Engineering, Robotics, Physics, Computer Science, Earth/Space Environment, Chemistry, and Medicine/Health.  From these we narrowed down to 36 that we wanted to interview at the fair, to review their finished projects, and talk with them about their research.

In the Middle School category, Lydia Beckerman, an 8th grader at Pittsburgh Science and Technology School in Oakland, was selected for her project “What Type of Wall Protects a Community the Best During a Tsunami?” 

Lydia engineered a set-up of a long rain gutter with concrete barriers at the end of it. She made the barriers using the concrete mix in molds that she had created. She measured how much water from a measured bucket of water that was poured down the rain gutter (her hand-created Tsunami) spilled over the wall and into a collection pan.  She performed 10 trials of each of the 4 wall designs.  The results showed a double-wall performed the best. Lydia showed creativity in engineering and in constructing her test setup. She chose this project because she learned about Tsunamis, especially in Japan, and wanted to create a wall that would best prevent wave surges from reaching a community.  Congratulations, Lydia!


In the High School category, Grace Wang, an 11th grader at Franklin Regional High School, was selected for her project “Preparation and Characterization of Photopolymerized Superabsorbents”.

Grace’s project was motivated by the global food crisis.  Her background research found that superabsorbents can increase agricultural productivity by retaining water for plants and improving soil porosity and root oxidation.  However, the current method of synthesizing superabsorbents requires extreme temperatures and large quantities of energy.  The objectives of Grace’s project were to develop a simple, low-cost method of superabsorbent preparation and prove that the beads produced this way effectively retain large quantities of water.  Grace used photopolymerization using an LED light source to make super absorbent beads.  She then analyzed them using NMR and FTIR and ran water absorbance tests on them.  Grace found that the beads she synthesized were able to absorb up to 80 times their weight of water.  Congratulations, Grace!

Our SWE judges for this event were Mary Ann Walsh, Cathy Coudriet, and Mary Zeis.  Thank you for representing SWE at this important local STEM event!

             Lydia Beckerman                                                                      Grace Wang 

Volunteers Needed for STEM Outreach

We have two opportunities in May to do in-person/on-site Outreach.


Pittsburgh Gifted Center Spring Fling

Thurs., May 19th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Location: 1400 Crucible Street Pittsburgh, PA 15205

The Pittsburgh Gifted Center within the Pittsburgh Public Schools is hosting their annual Spring Fling event for their students in grades 1-8 and their families.  SWE Pittsburgh has been invited to staff a hands-on activity table.

We need at least 4 volunteers for this event.  This is perfect for members who work since it is in the evening.  Family and friends are welcome to volunteer with you. 

Please sign up to volunteer here:


Carnegie Science Center SciTech Day

Friday, May 20th, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location: Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.


SWE Pittsburgh will participate in SciTech Day – Sports at the Carnegie Science Center by hosting an activity table. Students will make a “ball blaster” (really a sling shot from a paper towel core) and try to send their aluminum foil “ball” into a target to score.

We need volunteers to staff the table in shifts throughout the day.  If you have Fridays off (or can take Fridays off), this event might be perfect for you.  (No need to work in the sports industry to volunteer.)

You can see the shifts and sign up to volunteer here:

Please sign up for the shift(s) that most closely fits your schedule and then add comments if you have a schedule limitation or need an adjustment to the scheduled shift.  We’re flexible!

Questions about any volunteer opportunity?  Reach out to us at


Do You Support the Sports Industry in Some Way? 

(Or do you know someone who does?)

We are looking for women engineers who work for companies that support the Sports Industry in some way.  Maybe your company makes the aluminum for baseball bats.  Or perhaps your company makes the helmets used in football or the coating on a hockey puck.

If you are or know someone who fits this description, please reach out to  We’d like to interview you to make a video to submit to the science center for the sports-related SciTech day event.


FIRST Robotics Competition 2022


SWE member, Mary Ann Walsh volunteered as a judge at FIRST Robotics Greater Pittsburgh, Western and Central PA Competition. It was held from March 16 through March 18, 2022, at California State University. This year, FIRST teams participated in RAPID REACT presented by Boeing. They addressed today’s global challenges related to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #9, which focused on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation. By encouraging FIRST participants to think about future transportation sustainability, we’re also empowering them to be the next generation of leaders and innovators, tackling the world’s toughest challenges. The FRC teams demonstrated innovative engineering, creative thinking, and teamwork to reimagine the future of safe, high-speed travel, and lightning-fast deliveries to propel the next evolution of transportation forward – in this world and beyond. The winning teams will go to compete in the FIRST Championship.

Member Spotlight
Dianne McMaster – STEP Ahead Award Honoree

We congratulate SWE Pittsburgh member Dianne McMaster, Emerson for her recognition by The Manufacturing Institute - MI as a 2022 STEP Ahead Award Honoree. 

Dianne states: “I am honored to represent Emerson at The Manufacturing Institute - MI as a 2022 STEP Ahead Honoree as well as represent many of the organization I have had the privilege to work with in our community. (Penn State New Kensington (The Pennsylvania State University) COMETS program; American Lung Association Pittsburgh Fight for Air Stair Climb; P3R marathon). I look forward to meeting the 100 Honorees and 30 Emerging Leaders at the conference in April and look forward to using the leadership training to help advance the next generation of women leaders.”

“The STEP Ahead Awards recognize women in science, technology, engineering and production careers who exemplify leadership within their companies. This national honor identifies top talent in the manufacturing industry and further encourages award winners to mentor and support the next generation of female talent to pursue modern manufacturing careers.”

Dianne has been “shattering glass ceilings” as an exemplary role model who empowers the next generation of women manufacturers and engineers. Her dedication, leadership and innovation continue to positively impact our company, our customers and our community. SWE Pittsburgh is honored to have Dianne as Chair of our Nominating Committee. Congratulations Dianne!
#MFGWomen #WomenLeaders #STEP #STEM #WomensHistoryMonth2022 #EnergizingWomen

SWE Member News

Best wishes to Ashley Zulueta who has moved back home to Miami, Florida, to take a job with Johnson & Johnson as a Manufacturing Engineer.  Ashley was the FY21 President of the SWE Pittsburgh section.  She has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami.  

Best of luck!  We will miss you!

Check out Job Postings in the Newsletter and on the SWE Website

Multiple Positions 

Multiple Positions

Senior Service Inside Sales Engineer 

Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc.:  
Multiple Positions

Are you an Employer looking to post a job?  Contact
SWE Pittsburgh Membership Updates


Please welcome the following new members to our Pittsburgh SWE

Pavitra Murru | Professional Member; Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University; M.Eng, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University; MS, Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; BS, Civil Engineering (Minor- Industrial Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; employed as UHPC Research Scientist, TAKTL, LLC

Elizabeth Petrell | Professional Member; BS, Biomedical Engineering, Duquesne University; employed as Sr. Implementation Consultant, Omnicell


Amy Zhi | Professional Member; BS and MS, Biomedical Engineering and certificate in Engineering Management, Drexel University; employed as Design Quality Engineer, Smith & Nephew


Stephanie Paige Folkmire | Professional Member; BS, Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh; employed as Chemical Engineer, Early Career Rotational Program at Koppers Inc.


Sabrina Liu | Professional Member; MS, Bioengineering Innovation and Design, The Johns Hopkins University; BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Double Major in Biomedical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; employed as Sr. Technical Sourcing Specialist, Medtronic


Elizabeth Rager | Professional Member


Laura Iannacci | Professional Member; BS, Civil Engineering, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University; employed as Subdivision Manager, Naval Nuclear Laboratory


Clara Elizabeth Seaman | Professional Member; PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame; BS, Engineering Physics, The University of Tulsa; employed as Mechanical Engineer, Sierra Space


Sudesna Banerjee | Professional Member; Phd student of Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh; MS, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh; BS, Chemical Engineering, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, West Bengal formerly WBUT; employed Vice President of Research and Engineering group, Save the Water™ (STW™)


Sandy Jo Risha | Professional Member


Did you know that SWE Pittsburgh has now expanded to include West Virginia zip codes starting with 265? The SWE Board of Directors approved of the expansion motion on February 17, 2022. 

Please give a warm welcome to our recently transferred Morgantown-area members!


John W. Zondlo | JNSBE Professional Member; Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University; BS, Chemistry, DeSales University; employed as Professor of Chemical Engineering, West Virginia University


Abby Denise Chapman | Professional Member; MS, Safety Management, West Virginia University; BS, Safety/Environmental Engineering Technology, Fairmont State University; employed as Program Coordinator, Full Time Faculty, Fairmont State University


Christina Wildfire | Professional Member; Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, West Virginia University; MS, Mechanical Engineering, Mercer University; BS, Mechanical Engineering, Mercer UniversityMercer University; employed as Research Scientist, National Energy Technology Laboratory


Deedre Hayes | Professional Member; BS, Industrial Engineering, West Virginia University; employed as Industrial Engineer at Boeing


Abigail Lorraine Osborne | Professional Member; BS, Biomedical Engineering, West Virginia University; employed as Design Engineer, Omnia Medical


Leslie Hopkinson | Professional Member; Ph.D., Virginia Tech; BS, Louisiana State University; employed as Associate Professor - Wadsworth Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, West Virginia University


Ronay Tenney | Professional Member; BS, Electrical Engineering, West Virginia University; MBA, Waynesburg University; employed as Director, Engineering Services, First Energy


Xinyu Zhang | Professional Member; Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; M.S., Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University; B.S., Environmental Engineering, Dalian University of Technology; employed as Teaching Assistant Professor and Academic Advisor, West Virginia University


SWE Pittsburgh presently has 213 members.
We’re very glad you’ve joined us and look forward to seeing you at our future events!


Please remember to keep your SWE profile up-to-date - please include your employment, education, and address; also remember to check to opt-in for SWE to send you emails (email is the main method of SWE Pittsburgh communication to our members). Members’ information is how we keep in touch with you and it is not shared outside of SWE

Click Here to add us to your Google Calendar! Stay up to date on Events with SWE!
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Did you know that by simply shopping on and selecting Society of Women Engineers as your supported charity, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to our Section? How awesome is that! 

If you want to put your Amazon shopping to good use, follow these steps:

Option 1: Click here:

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SWE Pittsburgh FY22 Leadership
Samantha Orlando - President
Elizabeth Foster - Vice President – Programming
Mary Zeis - Vice President – Outreach & STEM Outreach Co-Chair
Lindsay Bonn - Secretary
Kimberly Daloise - Treasurer
Mary Ann Walsh - Membership Co-Chair
Carol Pan - Membership Co-Chair
Jayashree Iyengar - Fundraising Chair
Veronica Jaime-Lara - Social Media Chair
Deepika Devarajan - STEM Outreach Co-Chair
Dorothy Measures - Job Bank Coordinator
Erica Stevens - Webmaster
Cassandra Solarczyk - Newsletter Editor
Laura Traczynski - Collegiate Section Liaison
Sara Guza - Collegiate Section Liaison
Chuck Bleil - Data Officer
Claire Bradshaw - Certificate of Merit Program Chair
Mikayla Ferchaw - YouTube Manager
Sharon Thomas - Carnegie Science Center (CSC) Event Chair
Dianne McMaster - Nominating Committee Chair
Look for us on the SWE Pittsburgh website and contact any of us by sending an email to
Would you like to sponsor SWE Pittsburgh?

If you would like your company to be a local sponsor, contact
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