Mary T. Zeis has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She worked for Procter & Gamble for 31 years in Research & Development on Tide, Dawn, Crest, and Pampers before retiring. Mary is now a volunteer leader for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), focusing on STEM Outreach activities. She has served on SWE’s K-12 Outreach Committee for six years and is currently the Student Programs (SWENext) Committee Chair. She is also the VP for STEM Outreach for the Pittsburgh professional SWE Section.
Sadaf Qazi holds an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University. She has spent the last 10 years working in the Defense industry, supporting the system lifecycle of large-scale DoD platforms from design development to sustainment. Currently, she works for Booz Allen Hamilton as a Lead Associate for the Aerospace Account in Lexington, MA. She has been a speaker at many outreach events on topics of advocating for women engineers and creating mentoring opportunities to support and guide students’ and educators’ journey through the STEM field. She currently serves as the Chair of SWE’s Outreach Committee.
Robin Jeffers is the Senior Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs, Curriculum & Accreditation at the UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering. She has a BA in Psychology and an MS in Education Administration from the University of Southern California. She has worked at UC Irvine in Engineering as Director of the Center for Opportunities and Diversity in Engineering and later as the Director of Undergraduate Student Affairs. Having worked with engineering students since 1986, Robin continues to find her greatest work-joy in watching her students walk across the stage at commencement with BS, MS, and PhDs in engineering!
Natalie White earned BS degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from Texas Christian University. She has broad industry experience with over 14 years as a Software Engineer. Today, she is an Enterprise Solutions Architect for Amazon Web Services. She has been an active member of SWE Professional Sections in her native Fort Worth, Texas, and in Orange County, CA, where she is the President of the Orange County SWE section. Outside of work, Natalie enjoys hiking, swing dancing, sewing, knitting, and watching her two children discover the world around them.
Lara Childers is the Girl Scouts of Orange County (GSOC) STEM Manager. She holds a Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching. She’s had a primary role in the development of the council’s STEM initiatives, which include GSOC’s annual STEM Expo led by GSOC’s Volunteer STEM Patrol, the STEM-focused Council’s Own badges created in partnership with GSOC’s STEM Consortium, and INSPIRE, which is GSOC’s signature interactive multimedia program. INSPIRE gives girls the opportunity to learn about careers while understanding the importance and relevance of STEM.
Jesseca Martinez was born in Los Angeles, CA, where she quickly realized she enjoyed metropolitan cities! Her exposure to a big city led her to obtain a B.S. in Civil Engineering from UC Irvine in 2016, where she specialized in transportation and water resources engineering. She is now a transportation engineer for HNTB Corporation in Santa Ana, CA, where she has contributed to a various roadway, complex grade separation, and transit projects in Southern California. She is also the Vice President Internal of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Orange County Chapter.
Leyla De Silva Riley is executive director of the OC STEM initiative, housed in the Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. In this role, she works to foster Orange County’s economic competitiveness and sustainability by promoting STEM competencies across the educational continuum by creating public-private partnerships. She has also developed multiple programs focused on expanding project-based and experiential learning opportunities for K12 students. These programs center on the growing maker movement and emerging technologies in fabrication and digital making.