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Celebrating Women in STEM

GTPE women share career highlights, advice, and stories

Developers. Data Scientists. Systems Engineers. Industrial Hygienists.

These are just some of the words that can be used to describe the women shaking up the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industry.

From the creation of a computer program to the discovery of DNA structure, women have played a significant role in shaping technological history. Despite representing less than one-third of those employed in STEM, women continue to champion major contributions and developments today.

Helping to prep and nurture the STEM trailblazers of tomorrow isn’t a new concept for Georgia Tech. In 2018, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) alone proudly served over 11,000 women in programs specifically designed to prepare career-driven professionals for advancements in STEM careers.

In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we're celebrating 14 of these influential women in STEM. While they have various backgrounds, they have forged their own historic pathways to success, and serve as an inspiration to future generations.

Tech is better when women are involved. They think about different sets of users and ways of using technology. When women are not involved, any tech problem is only half solved because it lacks their perspective.

- Margaret Loper
Associate Director of the Institute for Information Security & Privacy

Fast Track to Leadership

Amanda Dannemiller had long known she wanted to get a master’s degree. She was closing in on 10 years of working as a process engineer when a pull towards management told her it was time to do it. When she discovered the Professional Master's in Manufacturing Leadership (PMML) at GTPE, she knew she’d found what she’d been looking for. Eight months into the program, a new production manager position was created at at her company and she went for it.
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Manufacturing History Maker

With ample experience in manufacturing, Lukisha T. "Shun" Griffin became the first woman to earn a Manufacturing Leadership Certificate from GTPE. Having worked for big names in manufacturing such as Ford Motors and Berry Plastics, Griffin came to Atlanta after being recruited by Solvay and has worked her way up in the company's ranks ever since. Griffin reflects on her experience in manufacturing and how the program has helped shaped her career thus far.
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Shun Griffin, Manufacturing Leadership Certificate

Balancing Family and Degree

Pursuing a rigorous graduate degree while working and making time for family is no easy feat. Working professionals in Georgia Tech's online master's degrees share how they juggle family and work responsibilities while keeping up with the demands of taking an online degree.

Startup Cultivates Girls in Tech

Faced with gender disparities in the engineering workplace, Khanna Bell decided to make a change. After completing her Professional Master's in Applied Systems Engineering, she founded Pretty Tech to train students in marketable tech skills in engineering, tech, and entrepreneurship. To date, the startup has served more than 1,000 metro-Atlanta students and placed 15 students in tech hubs across the city.
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Headshot of Tania Allen
Tania Allen
IT Consultant

Tania Allen saw a chance to reinvent herself and plot a unique career path as an entrepreneur. Today, she runs an IT services company, focusing on serving the Latin American community, founded soon after completing the Georgia Tech Cybersecurity Certificate program.

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Headshot of Nicole de Vries
Nicole de Vries
Data Scientist

After spending a decade working in information systems, Nicole de Vries began using analytics more frequently in her job and decided it was time to go all-in. As the first graduate of the Online Master of Science in Analytics program, she plans to leverage her degree to impact the world around her and enter the next phase of her career.

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Headshot of Barbara Fox
Barbara Fox
Research Scientist

Barbara Fox was initially interested in the tech field at an early age. While pursuing electrical engineering, she soon realized that her interest lay in software and switched her focus to computer systems. Her rich background in instructional design and information security has been influential in the development of cybersecurity course material for GTPE.

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Headshot of Myrtle Turner Harris
Myrtle Turner Harris
Research Scientist

After initially pursuing a biology degree to become a medical doctor, Myrtle Turner Harris discovered other biology-related careers and changed course to a career in occupational safety and health. She was instrumental in developing Georgia Tech’s OSHA certificate program as well as the Professional Master’s in Occupational Safety and Health.

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Headshot of Margaret Loper
Margaret Loper
Research Scientist

A summer camp in engineering for girls sparked Margaret Loper’s love for electrical engineering and set her on her future path to pursue modeling and simulation. With three decades of experience, she created Georgia Tech’s Modeling & Simulation Certificate program and continues to instruct simulation courses for both academic and professional education.

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Headshot of Sandy Seay
Sandy Seay
Developer

Seasoned sales manager, Sandy Seay, stepped out of her comfort zone when she signed up for Georgia Tech’s Coding Boot Camp. The program gave her the know-how to build her own website for a nonprofit, a goal she had been working toward for more than five years.

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Headshot of Sheela Shaw
Sheela Shaw Salunke
Systems Engineer

Sheela Shaw Salunke had a computer science background, but a desire to build and expand her systems engineering knowledge. She used Georgia Tech's Master's in Applied Systems Engineering program to give her the hands-on skills to advance her into a senior principal analyst role within her current company.

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Headshot of Krista Walton
Krista Walton
Chemical Engineer

As the first female academic director of the Professional Master’s in Manufacturing Leadership program, Krista Walton is working to expand the program’s industrial connections to create the next engineering leaders in advanced manufacturing while fostering new and enduring relationships.

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Headshot of Hilarie Warren
Hilarie Warren
Industrial Hygienist

A passion for science, problem solving, and safety led Hilarie Warren into the public health sector. While the field requires technical and academic rigor, she finds a deep love for the human aspect of the work and shared passion to help people do better, live better, and take care of each other.

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