Boolean Girl Events

Summer 2021 Ambassador Events

Friday, July 23th at 1 PM meet Boolean Girl Ambassador
Dr. Claire Wemp with DuPont

Dr. Claire Wemp is an engineer who works with thermal materials at DuPont in Sunnyvale, CA. She did her undergrad, masters, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering and focused on designing special surface coatings that would make power plants more efficient. At DuPont she works with Bay Area tech companies to find materials that help ensure that electronics don’t get too hot and get damaged. Her engineering passions are renewable energy, thermal management, and electric vehicles. Outside of engineering, Claire is an avid musician, outdoors-woman, and cook, especially Thai food!

Friday, July 30th at 1 PM meet Boolean Girl Ambassador
Dina Venezky – Executive Director at Smith College

Dina Venezky is the first executive director for nondegree programs (Exec Ed, Precollege, and Business Prep) where she brings Smith’s long experience in women’s education and leadership to broader audiences across the lifespan.  Education and STEM, in particular, have been passions throughout Dina’s life and she has more than 20 years of advocating for and communicating technical and business concepts in startups, government, and academia.

Dina received her AB in Geology from Smith College and her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Brown University. In July 2008, Dina worked the night shift at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory helping to monitor the new Halema’uma’u vent, she also co-founded a just-in-time offset and digital printing company, and was lucky enough to co-discover and name a few rooms at Wind Cave.

About Smith College

Since its founding in 1871, Smith College has provided women of high ability and promise an education of uncompromising quality. A world-class faculty of scholars are fully engaged in your intellectual development, and an open curriculum encourages you to explore many fields of knowledge. Mentors for scholarship, leadership and service help you observe different models of achievement so you can set your own course with conviction and confidence.

Friday, Aug 6th at 1 PM meet Boolean Girl Ambassador

Brittany Travis, Senior Project Engineer

Brittany Travis is a senior project engineer for the aircraft components team at Moog.  Her team works on several engine/aircraft platforms including the F135 engine project.  She enjoys making an impact on the world in particularly the aerospace industry.

Friday, Aug 13th at 1 PM meet Boolean Girl Ambassador
Marissa Evans Alden, Sawyer CEO & Co-founder

Marissa Evans Alden is a seasoned technology entrepreneur and founder with more than a decade of experience in startups. She currently serves as CEO and Co-Founder of Sawyer, which uses technology to connect parents and providers of the best enriching childhood experiences to ensure every child has the opportunity to discover their own love of learning.

Prior to starting Sawyer, Marissa founded the consumer fashion application Go Try It On. After being acquired in 2014, Marissa led the Growth Team at Rent the Runway until starting Sawyer. She holds a BS in Human Development from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband Ben and their daughters Blake and Hayes.

Sponsored by:

Saturdays Each Month at 3 PM
Girl Scout – Hour of Code – Free

Sponsored by STEM for Her.

Each month we offer three different free Hour of Code events. Find the event that is appropriate for your age and skill. All kids welcome, membership in the Girl Scouts is not required. Participation limited to 30 kids.

You can join with any computer that has a browser and internet access.

Girl Scout Brownie Coding Basics – Hour of Code – Free

Brownies and all girls will learn to write a Scratch program with a loop. Girl Scout Brownies who also attend one of our free Ambassador sessions will earn their Coding Basics Badge.  On your Boolean Box, click the Scratch the Cat icon. On other computers, go to https://scratch.mit.edu/v

Girl Scout Junior Coding Basics – Hour of Code – Free

Brownies and all girls will learn to write a Scratch program with a loop and a conditional. Girl Scout Brownies who also attend one of our free Ambassador sessions will earn their Coding Basics Badge. On your Boolean Box, click the Scratch the Cat icon. On other computers, go to https://scratch.mit.edu/

Girl Scout Cadette Coding Basics – Hour of Code – Free

Cadettes and all girls will learn to write a Python program with a loop. Girl Scout Brownies who also attend one of our free Ambassador sessions will earn their Coding Basics Badge.   You must install Python and Thonny on your computer before the event starts. 

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.

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.

Saturday, January 23 at 5 PM meet
Zoe Grippo a Software Engineer at Attentive

A 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia, Zoe has lived in Taiwan, Poland, and Singapore.  She is a Software Engineer on the Core team at Attentive, a software startup company in Manhattan, New York City that sends text messages.  Every message that is received by and sent from Attentive’s platform goes through her team’s systems.

Zoe is very involved in the Women in Tech networks she has built over the years. For example, she is still involved in her alma mater’s Women in Computing Sciences organization. Her current company, Attentive, helped her continue to support this organization and its mission by being a corporate sponsor for its annual “Hackathon” event.

In the past few months, Zoe’s company has switched to 100% remote work. The company has more than doubled in size since then! From a little over 200 people at the beginning of 2020 to over 650 employees now. Working from home has been interesting and has been a chance to try more cooking and start new hobbies like embroidery and punch needle. Another fun activity Zoe has started over quarantine is fostering dogs through a local animal rescue organization. It’s fun working from home and having a furry friend around!

Saturday, Feb 6 at 5 PM meet
Derya Tansel a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University

Derya is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She was born in Miami, FL and fell in love with math and science in middle and high school. She attended the University of Florida for her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. During her time there, she interned at NASA Langley, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Stryker. She’s worked on projects involving 3D printing, embedded electronics, and autonomous systems. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Carnegie Mellon University and working on projects that involve designing external patches for biomedical applications (e.g. measuring heart rate).

Saturday, Feb 27 at 5 PM meet
Dr. Cari Corrigan, the curator of Antarctic meteorites at the Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Cari Corrigan is the curator of Antarctic meteorites at the Smithsonian. She studies meteorites from the Moon, Mars and asteroids in order to understand how the Solar System — particularly its rocky planets –formed,  and to learn how the impact cratering process affects these planetary materials.

She was previously involved in the Mars Exploration Rover project, processing images that come down from the Opportunity Rover. She has been to Antarctica twice to collect meteorites with the Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET) and would go back again in a heartbeat! She is currently working with ANGSA, which stands for Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis – a project that is examining rocks collected on the moon by the Apollo missions that remained sealed until 2019.

Dr. Corrigan earned her Ph.D. in planetary science from Case Western University. Her dissertation focused on Martian meteorites! She earned her master’s and bachelor’s in geology from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

Saturday, March 13 at 5 PM meet
Dr. Hawkins, Chief of the Severe, Fire, Public, and Winter Weather Services Branch at the National Weather Service department of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Dr. Hawkins is Chief of the Severe, Fire, Public, and Winter Weather Services Branch at the National Weather Service department of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She provides programmatic leadership for the nation’s severe, public, and winter weather services, as well as weather-support response services for wildland fires in support of NWS land management partners. Dr. Hawkins also works with health partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advance our understanding of weather-related impacts on human health.
Dr. Hawkins moved to Washington D.C. from Chicago to major in chemistry at Howard University.  As an undergraduate, she participated in a NASA sponsored program focused on terrestrial and extraterrestrial atmospheres. Dr. Hawkins had always been fascinated by Chicago’s severe storms and winter weather and the NASA program solidified her trajectory into meteorology. “I feel like a kid in a candy store here in the National Weather Service,” Dr. Hawkins explains. “There is always an exciting science problem to solve and as someone who has always loved the weather, this is the place you want to be.
B.S. Chemistry, Howard University
Ph.D. Atmospheric Sciences, Howard University

Saturday, March 27 at 5 PM meet
Sabrina Thompson an Aerospace Engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Sabrina Thompson performs orbit design studies and develops trajectory and mission designs for CubeSat missions and technology development efforts.

Sabrina received a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from SUNY Stony Brook while playing four years of NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball; M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology; and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Physics at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

She is passionate about innovation, space exploration and having a positive impact on society. Apart from participating in outreach activities through NASA, Sabrina uses art to inspire the next generation of girls to be confident in their abilities and know they are more than capable of breaking down barriers they will encounter as they pursue their dreams. Under her artist name, Nefertiti- Pokahontas, she is creating a collection of paintings and books, called “Girl in Space”.  Ultimately, she hopes young ladies will see themselves in these works of art and be encouraged to pursue careers in S.T.E.A.M. Her artwork can be found at www.nefertiti-pokahontas.com

Saturday, April 17 at 5 PM meet
The team from Brains On!

Molly BloomMarc Sanchez and Sanden Totten are the creators of Brains On! They became friends while working at Minnesota Public Radio and decided to make a show for kids, because kids are awesome. They’ve had all sorts of jobs in public radio, but making Brains On! is their favorite. In their free time, they attend punk shows, run half marathons, and make swiss meringue buttercream (but you’ll have to guess who does which activity).  Get a preview on YouTube here.

Saturday, April 24 at 5 PM meet
Dr. Astrid Layton is a Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Astrid Layton is a Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA where she got her BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Studio Arts. She then moved to Atlanta for her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. After Atlanta, she spent 2 years as a visiting lecturer in Metz, France at Georgia Tech Lorraine. Now living in Texas, Dr. Layton researches how we can better design our human networks, things like power grids and water distribution and supply chains, to be more sustainable and resilient by looking at networks like food webs in nature! In addition to learning about nature, Dr. Layton also enjoys painting, whitewater kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking.

Saturday, May 1 at 5 PM meet
Helaine Becker is the bestselling author

Helaine Becker is the bestselling author of more than 90 books for children and young adults, including An Equal Shot: The Story of Title IX, The Law That Changed America Forever; the international bestseller Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13; and the #1 Canadian national bestseller and “enduring Canadian Christmas classic” A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (Scholastic Canada) Other (new!) titles include Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao; Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You Never Heard Of; and Alice and Gert: An Ant and Grasshopper Story.  Helaine’s a multi-time winner of the Silver Birch Award and the Lane Anderson Award for science writing for children. Her books have been recipients of Picture Book of the Year Award, The Cook Prize, the Giverny Prize, Bank Street Best of the Year, Red Cedar Award, Eureka Award, and JLG. 

Saturday, May 8 at 5 PM meet
Amy Griffin, a Professional Civil Engineer at Ortiz Enterprises, Inc

Amy Griffin is a Professional Civil Engineer in California.  She graduated from California State University Fullerton and has over 15 years of Construction and Engineering experience.  She is the Engineering Manager at Ortiz Enterprises, Inc, a highway and bridge Contractor.  She currently oversees engineering staff and operations on all projects including a $110 million dollar project to widen the 5 freeway in Orange County.  Amy works in the field, so in addition to calculations and drawings, she gets to spend some of her time stomping around in the mud and getting her hands dirty.

When she’s not building bridges, Amy enjoys biking with her husband and three children and is an avid reader.  Amy is passionate about inspiring the next group of women construction engineers that will inevitably revolutionize the industry and volunteers time to various organizations.

Saturday, May 22 at 5 PM meet
Leia Akre Leia is currently Director of Supplier Quality Johnson & Johnson

Leia Akre is a Chemical Engineer that has taken a nontraditional career path with roles in Quality and Process Engineering supporting manufacturing of cell phones and fighter jets before joining Johnson & Johnson.  At Johnson & Johnson, Leia is currently Director of Supplier Quality where she manages and improves reliability with suppliers of active ingredients, chemicals, and materials used in biologic and vaccine manufacture.  She joined Johnson & Johnson 15 years ago at the Neutrogena plant and has taken on roles of increasing responsibility during that time. In Supplier Quality she builds relationships with strategic suppliers and fosters continuous improvement in production of materials that go into almost every Johnson & Johnson product from Personal Care brands like Aveeno, Listerine, and Clean & Clear, Over the Counter Drugs like Tylenol and Zyrtec, Medical Devices like Acuvue contact lenses and sutures, Pharmaceutical Products that treat conditions like cancer, HIV, diabetes, and high blood pressure and the COVID vaccine candidate.

Leia grew up in Southern California, earning her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from University of California, San Diego.  She moved from San Diego to Los Angeles and then to New Jersey in her career and has had the opportunity to travel all over the United States and internationally for business.  She currently lives near Princeton, New Jersey with her husband, Rob, children, Weston (9) and Kaitlyn (7), and enormous puppy Crosby.  When she’s not working, she enjoys exercising by riding the Peloton or walking the dog, puzzles, cross-stitching, crafting, and playing games with her kids.v

Saturday, June 5 at 5 PM ET meet
Julie Gawenda, BS in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago

Julie is a BS student in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She was born in Chicago, IL, and developed an interest in the fusion of medicine and engineering in high school, when she participated in a program called Junior Research Scientists (JRS). It was in JRS where she assembled her first solar panel, built sensor-integrated robots, and developed STEM workshops for grades K-12. Knowing her passion for engineering would not stagnate, she decided to pursue bioengineering in college, a rigorous major that would continue to teach and amaze her. During her time at UIC, Julie has worked as an undergraduate research assistant for LaDu Research Lab, where she investigates the interactions between Alzheimer’s disease and the gut microbiome. She has also worked on projects involving machine learning, biostatistical analyses, and animal dissection. She also works as a teaching assistant for a class at UIC; CS 109, or Programming for Engineers with MatLab, where she introduces program design and problem-solving using MATLAB, a commonly used language for engineers.Ultimately, Julie hopes to inspire other young women to pursue careers in engineering and share her experiences of competing in a male-dominated field. Besides her academic pursuits, Julie also plays on the women’s ultimate frisbee team at UIC and is a member of the Society of Women Engineers!

Saturday, June 19 at 5 PM meet
Nisha Paliwal, Vice President , Software Engineering

An emerging leader in Technology, Nisha is a visionary technologist and passionate change agent. Nisha joined Capital One in 2015 in Finance Tech, moved on to Small Business Tech and is now the Vice President of Software Engineering in Card, where she is leading the transformation of Core Modernization.

At Capital One, she leads the enterprise Women in Tech Task Force, focusing on retention, development and leadership through empowerHER. Nisha also has a big heart for her associates and desires for them to feel valued, engaged and psychologically safe so they can bring their whole selves to work. Nisha’s passion is empowering others and, in that vein, is a mentor to many and volunteers her personal time with CodeVa, which focuses on STEM education for K -12.

Nisha is an avid learner who made the jump from microbiology to the tech world after teaching herself programming. She voraciously continues her life-long pursuit of soaking up knowledge every step of the way by reading, listening to podcasts and doing internal & external speaking engagements whenever possible.

Friday, July 16th at 1 PM 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.