National Engineer Weeks: Inspiring Women Innovators

National Engineers Week is February 17-23, with more than 70 engineering, education and cultural societies and more than 50 corporations and government agencies involved in events and activities to celebrate the profession and promote STEM education around the nation. Ranked #3 in the nation among public engineering programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, according to U.S. News & World Report 2019, and a top contributor of talent to Silicon Valley, San Jose State University will be celebrating the faculty, students and programs that make up our Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering in a series of stories on our Newsroom and social media channels. The College of Engineering offers 13 engineering disciplines with 7,400 students enrolled and works closely with its Engineering Industry Advisory Council to ensure the curriculum and learning experiences offered to its students align with workforce needs.

University and community college students listen to women leaders from top technology firms during the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz

University and community college students listen to women leaders from top technology firms during the Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference in 2018. Photo by David Schmitz

 

Each year the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering draws a powerhouse lineup of technology leaders to inspire an up and coming generation of innovators at its Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference. This year, the sold-out event will be on March 16 with a full day of speakers, workshops and networking.

Erika Lockheimer, then a senior director of engineering at LinkedIn/Microsoft, talks to students at the 2018 conference. Photo by David Schmitz

Erica Lockheimer, then a senior director of engineering at LinkedIn/Microsoft, talks to students at the 2018 conference. Now head of engineering for LinkedIn Learning, she will attend the 2019 conference. Photo by David Schmitz

Keynote speakers include Michelle Bockman, the global head of 3D Printing at HP, and Sandra L. Rivera, the senior vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group at the Intel Corporation. Representatives from Panasonic Ventures, Guardant Health, Inc., Workday, Stanford Health Care, Apple Inc., Google, NASA Ames, Salesforce and more will be speaking throughout the day at panels and workshops. The conference this year includes tracks for professional development as well as emerging technologies.

Started in 2013 with support from the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Women in Engineering Program Fund, the conference now has a dozen industry sponsors.

Last year’s event was sold out as well, with 450 community college and university students attending.

“We need you to stick with it,” Maggie Johnson, vice president of Education and University Programs at Google Inc., told the audience during her 2018 keynote address, encouraging women to stay in STEM fields. “We cannot make products for everyone or overcome bias without a balanced workplace. The future is female. Lead like a girl.”

Student volunteers don t-shirts from the 2018 conference. Photo by David Schmitz

Student volunteers don t-shirts from the 2018 conference. Photo by David Schmitz

SJSU students Shivani Parmer, then a second-year student in biomedical engineering; Lalitha Donga, then a second-year student in software engineering; and Cindy Carrillo, then a first-year software engineering major, attended the 2018 conference and were impressed.

“It’s powerful to have all of these women from the industry come together,” Carrillo said. “It’s inspiring to see such support for women in the workplace.”

Both Donga and Parmer said they felt better about their academic and career paths.

“There was awesome energy here today,” Parmer said. “It’s empowering and makes me feel confident of my career choice.”

Read the full article on the 2018 conference.