Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers wins awards

Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers has been honored for the second year in a row as one of the top chapters in the country, receiving the Gold Level Award at the National Society of Women Engineers conference held recently in Houston.

This is the ninth time since 2002 that the society has earned a top honor, according to a news release.

The society also broke records in individual awards, with five Cal Poly alumna honored in three categories:

Harris Nichols, a clinical engineering manager for the health-care technology management company TriMedx, earned a Distinguished New Engineer award. Nichols’ career began at UPS, where she was promoted three times in five years, making her the company’s youngest female engineering manager. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from Cal Poly in 2003.

Tracy Van Houten, a systems engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also earned a Distinguished New Engineer award. Van Houten was part of the team that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars in August. She is now working on an orbiter to be launched in 2014 to map Earth’s soil moisture and freeze/thaw state. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Cal Poly in 2004 and a master’s degree in astronautical engineering from USC in 2008.

Elizabeth Green, a corporate manager at Northrop Grumman, earned the Emerging Leader award. Green was recognized for superior achievements in the areas of systems engineering, risk management and supply chain management. Green is chair emeritus of the Northrop Grumman Corporate Women Engineers Group and co-founded diversity organizations at the company for women and new hires. Green earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cal Poly in 2000, as well as a master’s in business administration and master’s in systems engineering from Loyola Marymount University.

Megan Adams and Morgan Miller, who earned their bachelor’s degrees in engineering in 2012, earned Outstanding Collegiate Member awards. Adams is in charge of the 2013 Society of Women Engineers Future Leaders training, and Miller served last year as president of the Society of Women Engineers Cal Poly section.

The society also placed third in the team tech competition for creating a mobility device that allows wheelchair users to switch easily from power to manual operation.