| National Engineers Week Presents the New Faces of Engineering. |
Sarah Arsenault, Ph.D.
Employer: United Technologies Research Center
Nominated by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Sarah Arsenault, Ph.D., has an energetic agenda. A senior research engineer at the central research and development center of United Technologies Corporation in East Hartford, Connecticut, Dr. Arsenault developed an interest in engineering at an early age, always asking “Why?” and “How does it work?” That innate curiosity has now brought her to one of the most promising frontiers of industrial research: fuel cell technology.
Dr. Arsenault and the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell team at United Technologies were recognized in 2005 for innovative development that culminated in the successful design and demonstration of a one-kilowatt cell stack, a major step in what many believe will be the power generation of the future. Safe, effective storage of hydrogen, a critical objective for the development of automotive fuel cells, was advanced by Arsenault’s task leadership role for hydrogen storage technologies in 2006. She drove the design and development of the first of its kind subscale hydrogen storage prototype system for fuel cell vehicles.
When not developing next generation environmentally-friendly technologies or studying for her Carnegie Mellon MBA, Dr. Arsenault keeps busy on the slopes and in the water – she’s an avid skier and whitewater kayaker – and is active in the local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
BS Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, 1998
PhD Chemical Engineering, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 2003
MS Management, Rensselaer, Hartford, CT, 2005
MBA (candidate), Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, 2008
« back Aviva Bieler
Employer: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Nominated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Aviva Bieler is at work on one of the most anticipated projects ever constructed in America.
Bieler, an associate engineer for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, shares responsibility for critical components of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in downtown Manhattan. Since her graduation from The Cooper Union in New York in 2002, Bieler has worked as a mechanical engineer developing air-conditioning and smoke control systems for the station platforms at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, an enormous crossroads for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters. Currently, she is designing part of the tunnel ventilation system for the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train system.
Bieler has been active in ASME since her freshman year at the Cooper Union. Additionally, she enjoys public speaking, teaching, and mentoring, including coordination of activities for “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” and “Take Your Child To Work Day.” At the 2006 conference of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, she gave a lecture on the relationship between quantum physics and Jewish Law.
Bieler also puts her enthusiasm for engineering and design to use as a mentor and team leader in the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Mentor program, promoting careers in design and construction to high school students in Newark, New Jersey.
BE Mechanical Engineering, The Cooper Union, New York, 2002
Carlos Cordeiro, Ph.D.
Employer: Philips Research North America
Nominated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA
Carlos Cordeiro, Ph.D., is an engineer who knows how to get a message across, even in the worst of circumstances. To be precise, he has pioneered the development of new wireless radio technologies that can rapidly restore crucial communications to areas devastated by disasters, such as the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, as well as provide service to areas of America and the world that lack access to adequate wired infrastructure.
Making use of Cognitive Radio techniques, these technologies allow wireless broadband services, including data and voice, to be delivered to regions where wired infrastructure such as cable or DSL are unsuitable or not available. For example, when disasters such as Hurricane Katrina occur, telephone lines go down, communications among first responders become severely compromised, and access to critical information is often impossible. In the case of Katrina, weeks passed before restoration of services. Only wireless technologies were able to make the critical connections.
Dr. Cordeiro’s work at Philips Research North America in Briarcliff Manor, New York, has been instrumental in the research and development of new wireless technologies that can be quickly installed and operated in the most challenging environments. Among his key contributions in the past two years is the development of the IEEE 802.22 wireless system, where he masterminded the Cognitive Radio technology which allows wireless broadband services with a range up to 20 miles, providing access to the most remote and difficult to reach locations. Cordeiro’s other technological breakthroughs include the development of techniques that allow wireless radio technologies to operate in the TV broadcast bands without causing harmful interference to existing TV services, one of the reasons why this is known as Cognitive Radio. Today he is also leading a team working on ultra-low power radios that can be used in consumer and life critical medical applications.
Among his widely recognized contributions to this field, Dr. Cordeiro was one of the founders of the IEEE ComSoc Technical Committee on Cognitive Networks in 2006, was the Guest Editor of the first IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications issue on Cognitive Radios, has served as Chair of the IEEE 802.22 MAC committee since 2005, and in early 2006 authored the already acclaimed book, Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks: Theory and Applications.
BS, Computer Science, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, 1998
MS, Computer Science, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, 2000
PhD, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Univ. of Cincinnati, Ohio, 2003
Neil C. Decker
Nominated by the Society of Petroleum Engineers
Neil Decker knows where the oil is buried. As a reservoir engineer for BP in Houston, Decker works as part of a multi-discipline team to identify and evaluate the potential of drilling prospects in the Texas Panhandle including expected rates, reserves, and economic evaluations for new wells. It’s a challenge well suited for Decker, who enjoys managing the uncertainty associated with understanding what’s happening in the reservoir several thousand feet below wellheads on the surface. With limited data, petroleum engineers must carefully consider and interpret all available clues in order to optimize development of a prospect and maximize production.
Decker’s previous assignments include working in the wells group on the North Slope of Alaska and reservoir engineering offshore in the Gulf of Mexico Shelf.
In addition to his work at BP, Decker serves on several committees of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He also promotes the engineering profession to young students though high school recruiting fairs, coaching and evaluating Future Problem Solving, judging science and engineering fairs, and his involvement with BP’s Engineers Day.
Away from the oilfields, Decker also enjoys time with his family and friends, snowboarding, and biking.
BS Petroleum Engineering, Montana Tech, Butte, Montana, 2003
Jitamitra Desai, Ph.D.
Employer: University of Arizona
Nominated by the Institute of Industrial Engineers
Jitamitra Desai, Ph.D., has a theory about engineering. In fact, he has many. As a Visiting
Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Dr. Desai specializes in global optimization theory and algorithms and uses them to help address various challenges in transportation science, emergency response management, cluster analysis, and control systems design.
In the terminology of his expertise, Dr. Desai develops reformulation-based algorithms to efficiently determine (global) optimal solutions of continuous nonconvex factorable programs, and demonstrates the applicability of the proposed algorithms for various practical instances. In lay terms, this means that his calculations allow for such possibilities as better planning in transportation corridors thereby leading to efficient management of interstate congestions. Dr. Desai has also developed mathematical algorithms for emergency response management, implementing routines related to homeland security, and is currently extending his research to delve into issues related to urban crime.
Dr. Desai’s work led to his recent award of first place prize in the Operations Research – Criminal Justice Symposium Challenge Competition, co-sponsored by the Washington, D.C. INFORMS subdivision and the National Institute of Justice, the research wing of the U.S. Department of Justice.
As part of his doctoral dissertation, Dr. Desai investigated optimization methods for cluster analysis, which has wide ranging impact in the areas of biotechnology, data mining, and medicine. In fact, one model outlined in this research in the area of intelligent transportation systems has been implemented along the I-66 corridor in Virginia, and has served to significantly reduce traffic delays in the congested Northern Virginia region.
Dr. Desai also devotes his research to incorporate stochastic elements, essentially formulating concepts such as randomness and conjecture to understand, for example, human decision-making under uncertainty. Elements of this research are being incorporated into processes in government sectors as well as several high-tech manufacturing companies.
B.Tech Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Chennai, India, 2000
MS Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 2002
PhD Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 2005
Ivan R. Diaz, P.E.
Employer: Walt Disney World Resort
Nominated by the National Society of Professional Engineers
A long-time cast member at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Ivan Diaz, P.E., understands the importance of family entertainment. Diaz, a senior engineer at Walt Disney World, serves as a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers, and provides engineering for Walt Disney World’s ride control systems. Through a collaborative effort, he ensures that Disney attractions are brought to millions of guests each year safely and efficiently. In fact, Diaz served as a key member of the team that recently enhanced the popular Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
Diaz also plays an important part of the attractions that few riders ever consider, such as co-authoring the (pending) patent for the Automated Attraction and Ride Maintenance System, which verifies ride availability and improves maintenance efficiency.
Recognized with the Walt Disney World Resort Partners in Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award, Diaz has made significant contributions to the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort by mentoring local engineers there, and influencing international engineering and standards compliance, among other things. While in Hong Kong, he also volunteered in the community with the non-profit corporation Crossroads International. Domestically, he mentors middle and high school students through the FIRST, and FIRST Lego League programs, in which science, math, and teamwork are used to solve problems. Other volunteer efforts include Habitat for Humanity, Give Kids the World (Make-a-Wish) and the Christopher Columbus Foundation.
He also maintains his own ideas of making math and science fun at home. Each Halloween, he uses creative techniques and spends dozens of hours turning his garage into a free haunted house for neighborhood children. He also finds time for volleyball, paintball, home improvements, pursuing an MBA, and preparing to be a dad.
BS Electrical Engineering, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 2000
Andrea Martinez, P.E., CFM
Nominated by the American Council of Engineering Companies
For Andrea Martinez, P.E., balancing human interaction with the vast ecosystems of Florida is at the heart of her work. Martinez joined PBS&J – a national consulting engineering firm – as a junior engineer soon after graduating from college in 1999. Thanks to talent and tenacity, however, it wasn’t long before she moved on to senior engineer and then to her current title of project manager. That rapid rise in management and responsibility has put Martinez in a position to tackle some of the most pressing needs facing the nation, large scale watershed resource management and flood control.
From the start, Martinez’s work has focused on stormwater and large watershed management projects throughout Florida, a state whose growing population, delicate estuarine systems and susceptibility to hurricanes makes for daunting civil engineering challenges. Martinez has led a company team in creating hydraulic and hydrologic modeling to assess existing flooding potential and water quality as well as alternatives analysis and project recommendations. Whether the results lead to capital improvements or nonstructural measures to improve quality and reduce flooding, Martinez is helping the state of Florida meet its goals.
In her free time, Martinez tutors high school students in math. Active in the National Society of Professional Engineers at local, state, and national levels, she currently serves as Young Engineer Representative on the NSPE Board of Directors, past chair/current member of the Young Engineers Advisory Council, co-chair of the Florida MathCounts competition, and secretary for the Tampa chapter.
BSCE Civil Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa. Florida, 1999
MCE Civil Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, 2005
Employer: National Aeronautics & Space Administration
Nominated by the Society of Women Engineers
Harmony Myers keeps an eye on ground systems safety for an elite set of travelers: the crews of the U.S. Space Shuttle fleet. As a safety engineer for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Myers plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of America’s shuttle program. Myers studies risk analyses produced by the contractors for the shuttle program. Through her review and management, she ensures that each contractor meets the most stringent requirements.
Myers has also worked as a reliability engineer and design engineer for United Space Alliance, the main space shuttle contractor. Her criticality assessments and failure modes and effect analyses have helped guarantee a safer shuttle, as well as safer missions. Her work has been very crucial since she evaluated failures that could lead to loss of life, loss of the shuttle, or damage to critical shuttle systems.
Besides the shuttle itself, Myers has played a key role on a major upgrade of the shuttle’s control rooms in the Launch Control Center to support Space Shuttle Discovery’s “Return to Flight.” As a design engineer, she helped redesign the shuttle’s solid rocket booster integrated electronics assembly test equipment.
In addition to her NASA work, Myers volunteers in a variety of Society of Women Engineers leadership roles, participates in outreach programs, and enjoys spending time with her family.
BS Electrical Engineering, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, 2000
MS Industrial Engineering, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 2002
Employer: Acument Global Technologies
Nominated by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers
Amanda Olesky truly understands the nuts and bolts of engineering. After two years with Acument Global Technologies (formerly Textron Fastening Systems) in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Olesky has advanced to lead application engineer for her company, a manufacturer of the nuts, bolts, screws and other fastener systems and processes that hold everything together, from automobiles to aeronautics.
Olesky’s responsibilities have grown rapidly in the past year, learning from her time spent in manufacturing operations and in the fastener testing lab. She spends approximately 50 percent of her time traveling to customer locations – including Acument’s General Motors account – as well as supporting the sales team for clients such as Key Safety and Takata-Petri, global manufacturers of automotive safety systems such as airbags, seatbelts, and child restraints. Olesky supports those companies’ engineering staffs with design assistance, joint validation testing, new product information, and supporting sales staff with complete technical support.
Within Acument, Olesky has become a highly regarded member of the sales team, earning the nickname “Amazing Amanda,” a reference to the toy doll with the motto: “She really knows!”
Among Olesky’s more “amazing” accomplishments is the design and sale of a proprietary product to General Motors of Europe, the Low Profile Torx Plus® fastener, which has a special high strength and torque capability in a low profile head style for bolts used in the Cadillac SRX transmission. The product’s introduction, scheduled for release in the United States and Europe, is expected to result in sales and production of over one million pieces annually for GM Powertrain in Strasbourg, Germany, and the United States.
The result is enormous and growing respect from company, clients and colleagues for this young professional’s manufacturing and engineering knowledge.
BSE, Manufacturing Engineering, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2004
Theresa Schroeder, P.E.
Employer: Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP
Nominated by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
Theresa Schroeder is green, but that is exactly the quality her clients look for as they construct offices, re-configure laboratories and build other projects with an eye toward environmental stewardship. As a lead project engineer for Whitman, Requardt and Associates, a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm in Baltimore, Maryland, Schroeder has led the mechanical system design on several large projects and committed herself to being a leader in innovative building design. In the process of her broad project involvement, she has gained essential experience in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified facility design, university research laboratory design, and homeland security design.
Among Schroeder’s most notable projects is the Systems Integration Buildings at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, which consolidated several small facilities into two new larger buildings, thus opening new “green” space on the campus. The two facilities, totaling 140,000 square feet, consist of specialized mechanical systems to serve secure facilities, biological BSL 2 laboratories, machine shops for prototype projects, anechoic (echo-free) chambers, array fabrication, a composites/silicone laboratory with autoclaves, a clean room, testing facilities and electronic labs.
Currently, Schroeder has been selected for a dedicated senior design team to survey the existing condition of mission critical facilities, verify the reliability of the systems, assess the vulnerabilities within the building, and make recommendations to improve system operation and reliability.
Schroeder’s experience and communication skills have made her an ideal participant in her company’s job recruitment and personnel development program, where she is involved in the interview process and serves as a mentor to the younger engineers on the staff. She has also made time in her busy schedule to participate in Habitat for Humanity.
BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2001
Employer: Draper Aden Associates
Nominated by SAE International
Asha Sharma can’t be confined to the laboratory. As a Transportation engineer at Draper Aden Associates in Richmond, Virginia, Sharma uses the entire transportation network of Virginia as her laboratory. Growing up in Bangalore, India (population: six million), Sharma discovered early on the significant, integral effect of transportation issues on people’s day-to-day lives.
After completing her masters in transportation engineering at Auburn University, Sharma joined Draper Aden and now works on traffic plans, traffic impact studies for new and expanded developments, corridor studies, and traffic calming projects. Her work often evaluates the impact of developments on road networks, creates more efficient traffic flow and, most importantly, safer driving conditions.
While many engineers dread interacting with the public on projects, Sharma relishes her role as public liaison. Public participation occurs throughout her projects, keeping the process dynamic as residents weigh in on proposed solutions during frequent public hearings. By working with residents and local and state partners to improve traffic-related concerns, Sharma is proud that her work impacts everyone in the communities which she serves, every day.
While acquiring her Master's degree at Auburn University, Asha Sharma was a member, design engineer, and driver on the Auburn Lady Tigers team in SAE Baja, a competition in SAE International's Collegiate Design Series. During the 2005 season, her team was a winner of the 2005 Challenge to Women SAE Baja Team Leaders.
BE Transportation Engineering, B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India, 2003
MS Transportation Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 2006
Danielle Stephens, EIT
Employer: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Nominated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Danielle Stephens’ dedication to engineering is only bested by her love of country. Stephens has distinguished herself in numerous ways for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Walla Walla District, but probably none as significant as to be among the first groups of engineers to volunteer for duty in Iraq. During her nine-month tour, Stephens managed sewer and water infrastructure projects which were turned over to the Iraqi government upon completion.
While in Iraq, she maintained strong working relations with Baghdad Water Authority & Sewer Board, and the Ministry of Municipalities & Public Works. Her accolades include the Gulf Region Division’s first candidate to attend the USACE Emerging Leaders Conference in St. Louis, and the Superior Civilian Service Award in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad.
Stephens also served her nation in the months following the Hurricane Katrina aftermath assisting with structural inspections and developing contracts to help municipalities restore their infrastructure.
Active in the Walla Walla District’s Strategic Planning Team, Stephens is currently in the Leadership Development Program. As a structural engineer, she serves as project engineer for the safety and design of the District’s hydraulic steel structures by managing the inspection, corrective repairs and new designs for bulkheads, and navigation and spillway gates. She has also investigated and used fiberglass reinforcement for unique features of fish passage structures.
BS Civil Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 2003
LTJG Gregory Twohig, EIT
Nominated by the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
Greg Twohig is a signal individual, in both senses of the word. As a Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in the U.S. Navy, Twohig has distinguished himself as an outstanding member of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion community, thanks to his work in digital signal processing. With Raytheon, he helped develop secure, reliable, adaptable communications solutions by creating new software-defined radio algorithms, or procedures. This has led to the development of lighter more capable communications technology for use in the field.
LTJG Twohig then expanded on this research to create a working “Software Defined Radio for Digital Data Transfer” resulting in his selection as a 2003 Steinmetz Award winner for best senior design project. He also coauthored a paper, published in Proceedings of the 2nd Signal Processing Education Workshop, on ways to introduce digital signal processing hardware early in undergraduate studies.
Aboard the USS KENTUCKY, Lt. Twohig has used his engineering background to work around mechanical failures and allow the ship to complete its primary mission. As a supervisor during a six- month dry-docking, he helped oversee the completion of 248,000 hours of work ahead of schedule, realizing $24 million worth of engineering improvements to increase the ship’s capabilities. Twohig’s qualification as Prospective Nuclear Engineer Officer opens the way for him to serve as the ship’s engineer officer in the future.
BS Electrical Engineering, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 2003
Earl Valencia, EIT
Employer: Raytheon Company
Nominated by the Chinese Institute of Engineers – USA
Earl Valencia designs with defense in mind. Since joining Raytheon as a systems engineer, Valencia has had a hand in some of the most critical defense projects sponsored by the U.S. military, including the design phase of the DDG 1000 Next Generation Naval Destroyer and the Ballistic Missile Defense Radar.
As a systems engineer, he has played an active role in developing proposals and has led a major process improvement initiative for a factory of airborne radar antennas.
Along the way, he has developed technical and leadership capabilities that have led to his acceptance in Raytheon’s Engineering Leadership Development Program (RELDP), which provides select recent graduates with challenging assignments and a personal development plan to meet their fullest potential as technologists and managers. Valencia’s RELDP experience has led to assignments with Raytheon’s Network Centric Systems business in St. Petersburg, Florida, and its Space and Airborne Systems business in McKinney, Texas, and, currently, in El Segundo, California.
Valencia is also active outside the laboratory. As a former president and current officer of Raytheon’s Young Engineer and Scientists Network, he advocates for mathematics and science at all levels. He has been a Big Brother mentor, given talks from middle school to college on the excitement of the engineering profession, and served as a judge for a middle school robotics league. His current Ph.D. research looks at the expectations young engineers have on leaders and the strategies they can employ to become effective leaders of tomorrow.
BS Electrical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, 2003
MEng Systems Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 2005
PhD (student) Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Merwin Yellowhair, P.E.
Employer: AmericaBuilt Development
Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers
Merwin Yellowhair’s home on the Diné Nation in northern Arizona had few engineer role models, but that fact only steeled his resolve to change the situation for the better. Realizing a scarcity of Diné (Navajo) engineers, Yellowhair worked through an engineering program determined to show civil engineering as a career option for Diné family and community members. Utilizing every available resource, Yellowhair acquired Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees and became principal of a registered engineering firm – all while under the age of 30.
Upon attaining his Professional Engineering license in 2006, Yellowhair registered AmericaBuilt Development as a new and dynamic civil engineering firm within the state of Arizona. The firm, a separate engineering division within the AmericaBuilt Corporation in Tucson, has allowed Yellowhair to create and implement a fully functioning engineering staff.
As a newly named chief engineer, Yellowhair currently manages the engineering division and collaborates with AmericaBuilt Construction with each in-house design. As a second-generation college graduate, Yellowhair is the first registered professional engineer of his family and is one of few members of the Diné Nation to achieve this license. Like many professionals, Yellowhair acknowledges the encouragement from his family when considering the reasons for his success, but he also pays tribute to the strength derived from traditional songs and prayers of the Diné Nation.
BS Civil Engineering, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, 2002
ME Civil Engineering, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, 2005