Women in Engineering: Make It Happen
As a woman in engineering, challenges lie ahead. But UIC knows that you have what it takes to make it happen! We’ve created a special event for female-identified students that is designed to help you target and work through any obstacles you might encounter in your future classes and career.
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Join us for our annual Women in Engineering: Make It Happen 2023! This in person event will be on September 28th, and in four short hours, you will make connections with engineers and executives from Knowles Corporation and other firms, learn new strategies for success, and develop a clear vision of where your UIC degree can take you.
We are grateful for the support of Knowles, which also sponsors scholarships for female UIC Engineering students and the Women in Engineering Summer Program. The company is a longstanding advocate of women in engineering.
All STEM students are encouraged to attend! We have mapped out an agenda that will give you the outlook and skills you need to make it happen in your classwork, your future job, and life in general.
Graduate students are also welcome to attend!
Join us for an afternoon of interactive presentations and discussions with distinguished engineers about the impact you can have as future engineers. This event is dedicated to helping engineering students navigate obstacles in academia, personal and professional life. Hear insight from a panel of women trailblazers who will share a view into the skills, mentorships and mindsets needed to overcome self-doubt and succeed as an engineer!
* The first 50 attendees will be entered into a raffle to win some awesome tech!*
Below is our agenda:
Make It Happen 2023 Schedule Heading link
|1:30PM||Check-in||Light food and refreshments will be provided|
|2:00PM||UIC WIEP Welcome||Elsa Soto, Director of UIC EIEP, & Sabrina Jones, Associate Director of UIC WIEP|
|2:15PM||Opening Remarks||Remarks by Ray Cabrera, Sr. VP, HR and Chief Administrator Officer at Knowles|
|2:30PM||Knowles Board of Directors share their journey through engineering||Dr. Cheryl Shavers, Jane Li & Erania S. Brackett|
|3:15PM||Engineering Identity Presentation||Joanne Moliski, Industrial Engineering & UIC Alum|
|4:15PM||Artificial Intelligence and Bias Presentation||Sabrina Jones, WIEP Associate Director, UIC Electrical Engineering Graduate Student|
|4:45PM||Q&A Session with Knowles||Angela Roderick, Manager-Systems Engineering, Ivy Del Valle Figueroa, Technical Program Manager & Shruthi Narayanreddy, Technical Program Manager|
|5:15PM||Networking Reception||Food and refreshments|
Meet our Presenters! Heading link
Jeffrey Niew, President and Chief Executive Officer, Knowles
Mr. Niew currently serves as president and chief executive officer of Knowles (since 2013). He was also former vice president of Dover, and president and chief executive officer of Dover Communication Technologies (from 2011 to February 2014). Mr. Niew joined Knowles Electronics LLC in 2000, and became chief operating officer in 2007, president in 2008 and president and chief executive officer in 2010. Prior to joining Knowles Electronics, Mr. Niew was employed by Littelfuse, Inc. (from 1995 to 2000), where he held various positions in product management, sales and engineering in the Electronic Products group, and by Hewlett-Packard Company (from 1988 to 1994) where he served in various engineering and product management roles in the Optoelectronics Group.
As chief executive officer, Mr. Niew facilitates the Board’s access to timely and relevant information and its oversight of management’s long-term strategy, planning and performance. Mr. Niew brings to the Board considerable management experience and a deep understanding of Knowles’ markets and operating model, which he gained during more than 18 years in management positions at Knowles, including nine years in senior management positions. He brings broad experience in all aspects of management and Knowles’ products, technologies, customers, markets, operations and executive team and offers sound insight on business strategy, capital allocation, transactions and succession planning. Jeff is a University of Illinois at Chicago alum with a Mechanical Engineering degree and chair of the Engineering Advisory Committee.
Ray Cabrera, Sr. VP, HR and Chief Administrative Officer at Knowles
Ray Cabrera manages the company’s human capital strategy including talent acquisition, organizational development, talent management and total rewards for Knowles, and oversees human resources for a global employee base of more than 13,000 employees. Through Ray’s focus on attracting talent with a passion for innovation and a drive for success, Knowles repeatedly has received recognition as a top workplace.
Ray joined Knowles in 1997 and has played a key role in acquiring the competencies to position Knowles as the technology leader –recruiting and developing the senior leadership team and helping the company expand its operational footprint in Asia. He is also responsible for overseeing the information technology function including global infrastructure, ERP and business applications, as well as the communications function including corporate communications, branding and marketing communications.
Dr. Cheryl Shavers, Director, Knowles Board
Dr. Shavers has served on the Knowles Board of Directors since 2017.
Dr. Shavers has been the Chairman and CEO (since February 2001) of Global Smarts, Inc., a business advisory services company. She served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology (from 1999 to 2001) for the United States Department of Commerce after having served as its Under Secretary Designate in 1999. She has served on the Advisory Boards for E.W. Scripps Company and the Anita Borg Institute for Technology. She also has served in several engineering and managerial roles for Intel Corporation as well as Portfolio Manager of Microprocessor Products Group in Intel Capital prior to 1999.
Dr. Shavers is a director (since 2018) of ITT Inc. In January 2021 she joined the Board of Voyager Space Holdings. She was previously the Non-Executive Chairman (from 2001 to 2003) of BitArts Ltd., as well as a director of ATMI, Inc. (from 2006 to 2014), Rockwell Collins, Inc. (from 2014 to 2018) and Mentor Graphics Corporation (from 2016 to 2017).
She brings extensive leadership and operations experience along with particular knowledge with developing technology plans and the transition of advanced technology into business opportunities.
Jane Li, Director, Knowles Board
Ms. Li is a Strategic Advisor (since 2013) at Diversis Capital, LLC, a private equity firm that invests in middle-market companies. She was the Chief Operating Officer (from 2012 to 2015) at Huawei Enterprise USA, Inc., a company that markets IT products and solutions to datacenters and enterprises. Previously, Ms. Li served as the General Manager (from 2010 to 2012) at Huawei Symantec USA, Inc., a consultant (2009) to The Gores Group, a private equity firm focusing on the technology sector, and the Executive Vice President and General Manager (from 2004 to 2009) at Fujitsu Compound Semiconductor Inc. and its joint venture with Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., Eudyna Devices Inc. Prior to 2004, Ms. Li held executive and management positions with NeoPhotonics Corporation, Novalux Inc. and Corning Incorporated.
Ms. Li is a director of Semtech Corporation (since 2016), ServicePower (since 2017), CTS Corporation (since 2020) and PDF Solutions, Inc. (since 2021). She was previously a director (from 1998 to 2001) of Women in Cable TV and Telecommunications, a non-profit organization promoting women’s leadership in Cable TV and Telecommunications industries.
She has experience in a wide range of technology companies, from telecommunication components and systems, to semiconductor to IT and datacenters. Her background also provide invaluable insights into Asian markets, which are important to strategic markets.
Erania S. Brackett, Director, Knowles Board
Erania Brackett is a catalyst for growth and operational excellence. In leadership roles with Dentsply Sirona (NASDAQ: XRAY), Medtronic (NYSE: MDT), GE Healthcare (NYSE: GEHC), and Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), she has been the driving force behind initiatives that have delivered financial, operational, and competitive advantage.
Recently named SVP, Customer Experience, President Orthodontic Aligner Solutions and Head of ESG, Erania leads global dental equipment company Dentsply Sirona’s (NASDAQ: XRAY, $4B) efforts to enhance the Customer Experience overall and directly accountable for brand management, pricing, clinical education, digital marketing, and key opinion leader governance and programs. Additionally, she leads the rapidly growing Orthodontic Aligner Solutions business (20%+ CAGR), which includes both the B2B-focused SureSmile brand and the DTC-focused Byte brand.
As Head of ESG, she is responsible for advancing the company’s efforts in the areas of sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical governance to ensure Dentsply Sirona drives towards making a difference in the world and creating value for all stakeholders involved.
In 2021, as the first Chief Marketing Officer of Dentsply Sirona, Erania worked to build the company’s visibility and impact across US and international markets. While in the role, she oversaw corporate marketing efforts, including the development of a new Global Brand Strategy, Insights expansion, Global Education Strategy, Global Events Center of Excellence and focused on enhancing the overall marketing operations and marketing organizational maturity. Through these efforts, she drove to drive increased engagement while ensuring that the company’s marketing efforts were aligned with its overall strategic goals.
For the past four years, she has served as member of the Board of Directors of Spark-Y, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to youth education in sustainability and entrepreneurship, and on the Advisory Board of LEAD360, a leadership development organization for up-and-coming executives of color. With both organizations, she is a highly engaged contributor to organizational strategy and programs that advance the organization, strengthen member and community ties, and support operational excellence. Erania was recently appointed to the Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN), Board of Directors, as an independent director and member of the comp committee. Knowles is a public company and a market leader and global provider of advanced micro-acoustic microphones and speakers, audio processing, and precision device solutions.
Previously with Medtronic, she built a top-performing hardware and software services organization before being promoted to Vice President to lead product commercialization and marketing for a $5.2 billion global division. She was widely recognized as an exceptional leader and team builder who achieved world-class employee engagement scores in every role.
Over nearly 16 years with GE Healthcare, she took on increasingly challenging business leadership roles with P&L responsibility as high as $100 million. Her career at GE was marked by rapid promotion and repeated selection for the company’s highly regarded executive development programs and special projects in both the US and Europe. Her contributions to the business were recognized with the prestigious GE CEO’s Award.
Erania began her career with Procter & Gamble, advancing from Process Engineer to leadership roles in manufacturing and distribution. She earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Tuskegee University and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA at Emory University. Currently a resident of the Mobile, AL and Charlotte areas, she has lived and worked in cities across the US as well as in Canada and Europe.
Joanne Moliski, Industrial Engineer, UIC Alumna
Joanne is a UIC graduate with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Industrial Engineering. In her time doing engineering education research, she focused on nontraditional data-mining applications, investigating barriers to engineering student success, and the impact of poor MHQoL on academic performance. She is published in the American Society of Engineering Education. Other areas of publication include water infrastructure/conservation, equitability in environmental sustainability, and disability justice. She currently works as a pricing engineer for a logistics company, Roadrunner Freight.
Sabrina Jones (she/her) is the Associate Director for the Women in Engineering Programs (WIEP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sabrina and her team work towards creating a resource on campus to help guide and support students as they navigate their way through their engineering programs. Through pre-college initiatives and outreach Sabrina is able to help spread awareness of the importance of identity and illustrate that all students, especially female-identifying and women-identifying people, can have the greatest of impacts as engineering students and engineers. Sabrina also embraces her southside Chicago upbringing by a hardworking, single mother and the atypical path that led her to pursue an Electrical Engineering master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, demonstrating that there is no correct path to follow but our own.
Angela Roderick, Manager, Systems Engineering, Consumer MEMS Mics at Knowles
Angela started her engineering journey with a BA in Mechanical Engineering and then, a Master’s in Architectural Acoustics at Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute because of her passion for music but lack of any musical talent. Opportunities along the way moved her career towards product development, starting with bass boxes and moving to progressively smaller devices: headphones, earbuds and MEMs microphones. She has worked on many products including a lead acoustic engineering role on the iconic Bose QC35 noise cancelling headphone. She started as an Electro Acoustic Engineer at Knowles Electronics enjoying solving new problems everyday while leading a cross-functional team. Angela has always enjoyed exposing students to the infinite possibilities that engineering and teamwork can create. She now leads a team of her own in the consumer space.
Ivelisse Del Valle Figueroa, Technical Program Manager, MedTech & Specialty Audio at Knowles
Ivelisse leads and executes new product development programs for the MedTech and Specialty Audio business. Ivelisse has sixteen years of engineering experience, which includes diverse roles in the aerospace, defense, and microelectronics industries. Ivelisse has 2 patents, and holds a Master of Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, and a Certificate in Applied Project Management from the University of California Irvine. Ivelisse is a Life Member of the Society of Women Engineers and the 2020 recipient of its Emerging Leader Award.
Shruthi Narayanreddy, Technical Program Manager, MedTech & Specialty Audio at Knowles
Shruthi leads the NPI programs for our key customers, executing new product development projects and supporting the development of our NPI process. She worked previously at Kasai North America Inc. where she was the Program manger supporting the Honda and Subaru projects for over 2 years. Her prior experiences include design engineering and Supply Chain planner. Shruthi holds a M.S. in Project Management from Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology India.