On November 17, 2011, the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) honored women and girls who are leaders science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Chloe Dedic, a senior in mechanical engineering, was recognized with the Collegiate Innovation and Leadership award and given a scholarship of $2,500. Dedic was among seven professionals and academics and two students honored at the event.
Dedic studies pollutant formation in devices used for clean power generation. She is perhaps the only undergraduate researcher in the world who can do independent research on molecular energy transfer in high-temperature, high-pressure environments for clean power generation. Thanks in part to her work, the mechanical engineering department was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant. Dedic reached senior status in less than two years while being involved in research, leadership and extracurricular activities, holding a part-time job, taking a summer internship, and volunteering in the community.
Reflecting on the evening Dedic said, “The event stimulates networking between women already in the business or academic worlds and students aspiring to join them. Additionally, it provides students with excellent role models and demonstrates the strength of STEM education within Iowa.”
She adds that the award was a great honor but “more importantly, it’s a challenge for me to continue making positive contributions to the engineering field.”
Five others, along with a group of elementary students, with ties to the College of Engineering were finalists for the awards.
Nominees from the engineering college for Academic Innovation and Leadership (Post-Secondary):
- Surya Mallapragada, professor and chair of chemical and biological engineering, has articulated a strategic direction for the department, and advanced key relationships with corporations. She is an expert in the area of bioengineering, particularly with respect to new materials called bioinspired polymer nanocomposites. Mallapragada is also a senior scientist in the US Department of Energy Ames Laboratory, where she leads a program on bioinspired materials.
- Leslie Potter, senior lecturer of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, uses innovative teaching approaches when developing curriculum. She has integrated real-world applications of lean manufacturing and Kaizen principles within the classroom, providing students with a unique opportunity to apply their engineering lessons. Potter leads and encourages young people to pursue engineering or technical areas of study through participation in several campus groups.
Nominees from the engineering college for Collegian Innovation and Leadership:
- Erica Jensen, senior in industrial engineering, spent four summers working as a student employee at John Deere, interacting with design, manufacturing, and quality engineers through the company’s Early Talent Program. She engages and attracts other women to her field as an ambassador for the Department of Industrial Manufacturing Systems Engineering and served as a Destination Iowa State student leader to share her experiences with incoming students.
- Bethany Juhnke, graduate student in mechanical engineering and human-computer interaction, has been involved in many women’s initiatives on campus. She helped develop the Women in Mechanical Engineering program as an undergraduate, and started a committee for graduate students in the Society of Women Engineers. She has worked as the lead peer mentor with the Undeclared Learning Community, been involved with Engineering 101 lesson planning, and worked as a College of Engineering Ambassador.
- Christine Kirpes, junior in aerospace engineering and Spanish, began working with engineers as a high school intern. She was one of 10 students selected from 200 applicants for a Research Experience for Undergraduates, where she designed and carried out wind tunnel tests, looked at the aerodynamics of turbines, and analyzed the wind coefficient of air foils.
The Flying Monkeys, a group of Girl Scouts and FIRST LEGO League Team from Ames, Iowa, that developed a prosthetic hand device to help a three-year-old toddler without fingers write, were nominees for Youth Innovation and Leadership.