Nearly every element of our modern lives is a direct result of the work done by some engineer: running water, electricity, and the internet, as well as our buildings, cars, phones, computers, televisions — even our dating apps.
Humanity’s engineering feats are really pretty astounding when you take a minute to think about them, and as February 21 – 27 is National Engineer’s Week, it’s a good time to ponder these wonders.
Sadly though, engineering has historically been an inhospitable profession for women. The industry is trying to change that, and while you can argue that it isn’t making enough progress, one thing is true: many women did shrug off the haters and pursued their passion to build stuff anyway.
And they found themselves in fabulous careers.
So it’s time for a shout-out to the women engineers with powerful careers who are leading important technologies at their companies or being pioneers in other ways.
No. 26: Intel’s Sumita Basu
Sumita Basu is a strategist and technical assistant to the Intel general manager running the technical group for client computing.
She’s been with Intel since 2002 with rising responsibilities. In her last gig with the company, she oversaw the equipment installation for Intel factories worldwide, a huge job.
For her PhD, she did experiments with the international space station.
One of Basu’s most impressive accomplishments is that she invented the “world’s first lead-free patterning process,” allowing Intel to become the first chip company in the world to limit the use of that toxic substance in its manufacturing processes.
No. 25: Western New England University’s Heidi Ellis
Heidi Ellis is a professor of Computer Science and Information Technology at Western New England University.
In addition to teaching college students how to code, she has herself been a contributor to many important open-source projects for more than a decade.
She’s one of the founding members of the Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS), where students write free, open-source software for projects that improve the human condition, such as apps that help during natural disasters and track disease outbreaks.
Ellis is a founding member of a project called Foss2Serve, which helps encourage more students to participate in HFOSS by educating professors on it. She’s also working with Red Hat to expand its Professors Open Source Software Experience, encouraging more professors to teach open-source coding.
No. 24: BofA’s Jennifer Braganza
Jennifer Braganza is a business strategy manager at Bank of America running a federal compliance program that impacts 40,000 employees.
She has also overseen other projects at BofA, some of which have impacted millions of its customers.
Braganza’s skill is to bring her training in multiple forms of engineering to complex business projects. She has undergrad degrees in chemical engineering and in industrial and operations engineering. Plus she has two master’s degrees in engineering from two different universities.
When not orchestrating complicated projects for BofA involving millions of people, she’s working with the animal welfare organization she founded, Play with a Purpose Pet Academy and Rescue.