I am proud to be part of a large family of engineers, but even more honored to be associated with all the women engineers my mother mentored, at all career stages, whom we consider part of our extended family. – Naomi Brill –
The late Yvonne Brill is known for her genius in rocket and jet propulsion design, but to her daughter, Naomi Brill, she was just mom. Naomi noted that her mother’s main accomplishments came after Yvonne, a former SWE national treasurer and multiple award recipient, had had her three children. The lifestyle wasn’t easy for Naomi, especially since the family lived in a rural community just outside of Princeton, New Jersey, where no other mother worked outside of the home. Naomi remembers being called to the elementary school principal’s office every year to confirm that, indeed, her emergency contact — mother Yvonne — was an aerospace engineer, and not a homemaker.
Among other honors, Yvonne Brill received the SWE Achievement Award, the SWE Resnik Challenger Medal, the NASA Public Service Medal, the ASME Kate Gleason Award, the IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Wyld Propulsion Award. She received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama in 2011. She also holds a patent on the hydrazine-resistojet thruster enables weather and telecommunications satellites to stay in their proper orbit above the earth, enabling better weather forecasting and more expansive smartphone communications, even today.
Naomi Brill is a retired mechanical engineer, SWE Fellow, and SWE Distinguished Service Award recipient, who is recognized in her own right for defining next-generation manufacturing processes for portable drug pumps. The processes help people stay home while taking chemotherapy, pain management, and other infusion-based treatments. Naomi has been active in the Society of Women Engineers since high school, when she helped her mother mail the New Jersey Section newsletter.
Naomi and her mother enjoyed mentoring younger women and encouraged them to pursue engineering. It turns out that the engineering career inspiration has been passed on to more Brill female family members. Naomi said her mother influenced Yvonne’s niece, Beth Weckman, Ph.D., P.Eng, a mechanical engineering professor and fire safety specialist at the University of Waterloo in Kitchener, Ontario, and Beth’s daughter, Nicole Weckman, who is a biomedical engineer. Great-niece Deb Harris studied chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and granddaughter Lauren Brill pursued environmental engineering studies at Tufts University. True to the Brill family belief in diversity and opportunity for all, there are four men in the family with engineering degrees or related careers, including great-nephew Eric Harris and grandson Michael Brill.
Scholarship Yvonne and Naomi endowed the Brill Family Scholarship in 2008. Undergraduate students in their sophomore, junior, or senior year and studying aerospace or biomedical engineering are eligible to apply.
References Excerpts from https://alltogether.swe.org/2017/05/engineering-across-generations-mentoring/Number Available: 1
Class: Sophomore, Junior, Senior
Major: AeroE, BME