Susan Whatley


Susan WhatleySusan’s original reason for joining SWE in 1976 was to have a few women engineers she could relate to in her new profession. Although this remained one component of her SWE involvement, she quickly shifted her emphasis to working with the student sections and encouraging young girls to consider engineering as a profession. Her involvement led her to become President in 1985-86, less than ten years after joining SWE. As President, Susan had the first expansion of the Executive Committee to include Directors from the Regions, forming the Board of Directors. Susan was also the first President to be a grandmother!

Susan grew up, married, and was a technical secretary in Oak Ridge, TN. She subsequently was widowed in 1969, started engineering school, remarried in 1971, completed engineering school, and worked as a professional at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 12 years. Her technical achievements were related to experimental research on alternate nuclear fuel forms and radioactive waste management. When politics took the place of research, she and her husband, Marvin, retired and moved aboard the S/V “Susan.”

Susan and Marvin sailed in the Caribbean and the coastal waters of the USA before “swallowing the hook” and moving ashore in Oriental, NC. At present, Susan is very involved with quilting and basket weaving. She and Marvin have six grown children and six grandchildren.

  • B.S., Engr Science & Mechanics, 1976, University of Tennessee
  • M.S., Engr Science & Mechanics, 1979, University of Tennessee
  • Fellow Life Member of SWE