Saturday, December 5 at 5 PM meet
Gretchen Hein, Senior Lecturer with a background in mechanical, civil and environmental engineering at the Michigan Technological University

Dr. Gretchen Hein teaches engineering classes at Michigan Technological University. Her classes are Thermodynamics (where energy goes), Fluid Mechanics (where water goes) and Heat Transfer (how stuff warms up and cools down). She has three engineering degrees: Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, Masters in Civil Engineering and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering. This means that she enjoys engineering so much that she kept exploring different types. Prior to teaching engineering, she worked for a company that made helicopter engines. She has not only designed parts of those engines, but she has also taken a helicopter engine apart and put it back together. She is the Society of Women Engineers adviser at Michigan Tech, and advises, along with her SWE college members, a SWENext Club where the focus is on national science competitions.

She has three children, Ian, Siona and Jenna. Ian is working on becoming an electrical engineer and will graduate in the spring. Siona is in the 12th grade and planning on studying either computer engineering or computer science. Jenna is in 9th grade and is looking at animal science. Her family has a farm where they grow vegetables and fruit. They also have goats, sheep, alpacas, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats and bees. At her session, you will get to meet one of her ducks and learn how ducks and heat transfer go together.

Saturday, December 19 at 5 PM meet
Laurie LaPat-Polasko, Vice President/National Director of Remediation with a background in environmental engineering at Matrix New World Engineering

Although Dr. LaPat-Polasko was in school for a long time getting degrees in biology, environmental engineering and microbiology, some of the more fun facts about her include:

– She was bit by a shark at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago while giving a lecture through a microphone in her scuba gear
– She has a bacterium name after her that biodegrades a harmful compound in our groundwater
– She lived on an island all alone for a month performing research
– She worked for Jacques Cousteau, the famous underwater photographer and inventor of scuba gear, at the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco

Now she spends the majority of her time cleaning up contaminated sites around the world, such as the BP Gulf Oil spill.

Past Ambassador Events

Friday, July 10th at 11 am meet Boolean Girl Ambassador
Sonny Franckel, Google Engineer

Sonny Franckel is a software engineering manager at Google. She leads a team that builds products for kids and parents in the Google Play Store. Her team most recently launched the Teacher Approved section on Google Play. All apps found in this section are rated highly by teachers and meet government regulations around data collection and advertising.
Currently living in San Francisco, Sonny previously worked in Baltimore, New York, Munich, Krakow, and San Jose on topics ranging from visualizations to robotics to AI. She has a BA in Computer Science from the University of Maryland (go Terps!). Sonny spends all her free time wrangling a 4-month Goldendoodle named Izzy, being outdoors, and building furniture.

Friday, July 17th meet materials engineer,

Dr. Angela Leimkuhler Moran

“I like to build stuff, but I also really like to figure out why things break,” says Angela Leimkuhler Moran in describing her role as a Materials Engineering scientist at the U.S. Naval Academy where she conducts research to help assure that metals and other material that make up some the Navy’s most vital equipment can withstand the stress and demands of their use.
Her best memories as a kid growing up in Catonsville, MD, just outside of Baltimore, are of working with her dad (a civil engineer) “fixing things around the house, mixing concrete.”
Angela works to inspire kids to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition to her busy schedule at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Angela also conducts intensive outreach programs at the academy in science and engineering for elementary, middle, and high school students. She created and directed the Naval Academy technology Camp for Girls.
Looking back on her life, Angela says it was her deep curiosity about the inner workings and construction of things, in addition to a love of math and science, that motivated her to pursue Materials Engineering, field which studies the properties and applications of a wide range of materials such as metals, plastics, carbons, ceramics, semiconductors, and polymers at the molecular and macroscopic levels.
Angela received her Ph.D. and M.S.E. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University, and her B.S. degree in Physics and Engineering from Loyola College.

Friday, July 24 meet,

Jill Stella

from Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Ms. Stella works for Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a Data Center Quality Engineer (CDCAP). The world’s economies rely on complex, interlocking digital systems that break down easily. Companies like ZOOM, Netflix, Facebook, ESPN, Twitter and Boolean Girl all run on AWS. These systems are so new and evolve so quickly that there just aren’t enough data center engineers to go round. Join Boolean Girl this Friday to learn from Ms. Stella just how a Data Center Quality Engineer keeps the world running!

Friday, July 31 meet,

Keilyn DiStefano

from Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Keilyn grew up in Upstate NY loving math, science, and Star Trek Voyager. She joined the Army as a tank driver to get college money, where she quickly got bored before discovering her love for computers. She graduated from Mercer University three times, getting two Computer Engineering degrees and a Biology degree (genetics is like living code).
Keilyn switched over to doing the Army thing part time with the National Guard as a communications, network engineering, and cyber officer. She has gone overseas for the Army five times.
Keilyn has been a cloud software developer at Amazon Web Services for two years, and elsewhere for about ten years before that.
Keilyn was stuck as a boy most of her life, but she figured out how to fix it ten years ago and has been super happy since.

Friday, August 7 meet,

Helen Lin

from Booz Allen Hamilton

Hello! My name is Helen and I recently graduated from UVA – wahoowa! In college, I studied computer science and studio art. I am currently waiting to start my full-time job as a software engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington D.C. Last summer, I interned at Booz Allen and had the opportunity to build a web application tool that determines if a part on a naval ship could be 3D printed. Some of my favorite pastime activities include making art, biking, and designing my island on animal crossing.
Helen was also a Boolean Girl instructor in 2018!

Friday, August 14 meet,

Dr. Candice Johnson

from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Candice Johnson was born in Pittsburgh, PA as a first-generation American to Jamaican parents. A consistent international travel itinerary during her childhood lead her to leave Pittsburgh not only for her scholastic endeavors but also for her appreciation of culture, variety, and inclusion.
Her admiration for biomedical sciences started as early as middle school and was supported by weekend workshops at Carnegie Mellon University. This continued through high school and upon entering The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Candice spent each summer back in Pittsburgh conducting research at the Center for Genomic Sciences in Allegheny General Hospital.
Candice then attended graduate school at Meharry Medical College and obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with her research interests focused on host-pathogen interactions and vaccine development. After graduate school, she was invited to the US Food and Drug Administration for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Office of Vaccine Research and Review. This started her career as a federal government scientist at NIST as a visiting molecular and cell biologist in Biomolecular Measurement Division of NIST

Saturday, September 26 at 5 PM meet,

Rashmi Reddy

from Capital One

As a technology leader for a team of software engineers, my job is to solve problems & make our customer’s life easy with the help of technology. And we have fun while doing it.

If you are wondering who the customers are, it could well be your grandparents, mom, dad, uncle, aunt or your teachers.

Rashmi also volunteers at STEM events in the community including Boolean Girl events and Technica, a hackathon for girls.

Saturday, October 17 at 5 PM meet,

Elizabeth Dougherty, Eastern Regional Outreach Director

at the USPTO

As the Eastern Regional Outreach Director for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Elizabeth Dougherty carries out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and is responsible for leading the USPTO’s East Coast stakeholder engagement. Focusing on the region and actively engaging with the community, Ms. Dougherty ensures the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the region’s unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders.

Ms. Dougherty has more than 25 years of experience working at the USPTO. She began her career at the USPTO as a patent examiner after graduating from The Catholic University of America with a bachelor’s degree in physics. While a patent examiner, Ms. Dougherty went on to obtain her J.D. from The Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America and served as a Senior Legal Advisor in the Office of Patent Legal Administration for a significant part of her career. Over the years, she has also served in the USPTO’s Office of Petitions, the Office of Innovation Development, and the Office of Government Affairs.

I fell into STEM somewhat haphazardly. I simply took an introductory physics class, liked it, and continued to take the courses. Before I knew it, I had chosen it as my major, and by the time it got tough, I was too stubborn to quit. I quickly realized that the physics department of my university was overjoyed to have a young woman joining its ranks (I was perhaps one of three during my time at the university). The Dean, my advisors, my professors, and even my fellow students worked as a team to see that I enjoyed the adventure and graduated with my class and with a degree in physics.

Saturday, November 7 at 5 PM meet

Rizka Aprilia, a Mechanical Engineer at the SmithGroup in Detroit, MI.

Rizka Aprilia graduated from The University of Tulsa with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics. While she was there she was the leader of a team students who designed, built, and delivered a therapy device called the “steamroller,” a fully customized indoor playground that includes different types of therapy for children with special needs. Now she works as a mechanical engineer for the SmithGroup in Detroit which specializes in health, workplace, higher education, science & technology, and urban design sectors.

We encourage you to check out the SmithGroup website to see some of the beautiful projects they developed.

Saturday, November 21 at 5 PM meet
Catherine Stone, Director of Advanced Operations with a background in biomedical engineering at Stryker Corporation in Fairfax, Va.

Catherine Stone grew up dreaming of becoming a professional ballerina. She studied ballet rigorously; however, in high school she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature in her spine. After wearing a brace for two years, there was no other option besides spinal fusion surgery to correct her scoliosis. Three surgeries later, she was told that her dancing career would not be possible. This fueled her passion to dedicate her career to finding ways to help those with scoliosis and other spinal disorders.Catherine received her B.S. degrees in Engineering Science & Mechanics and Mathematics from Virginia Tech. She also received her M.S. in Biomedical Technology Development & Management from Georgetown University. She started out her career in research and development engineering, designing innovative spinal medical devices. In addition to R&D Engineering, Catherine has managed a team of quality engineers and specialists and now serves as the Director of Advanced Operations for Stryker Spine.Catherine loves to spend her free time with her husband, Adam, and her friends playing board games. She also is a passionate advocate for women in STEM through Alpha Omega Epsilon, a social and professional sorority for women in engineering and technical sciences. She loves encouraging and mentoring other young women to pursue their STEM dreams.