PittSWE Officers

Olivia Porcello

Year: Senior
Major: Bioengineering
Minors: Chemistry
Activities: STEP@Pitt, Pink Panther Mentors
Laboratory Experience: Undergrad research assistant at the Human Movement and Balance Lab
Interests: Lifting, Baking, Hammocking
Favorite Part of SWE:I really enjoy meeting new people and networking with members and professionals at our events. I love seeing younger members of SWE become involved and passionate in the organization and eventually take on leadership roles.

Vice President:
Vidhya Thiyagarajan

Year: Senior
Major: Chemical Engineering
Minors: Chemistry
Activities: Societal SWE SWENext and Bylaws Committee, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Freshman Engineering Peer Mentor, General Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, Chemistry Tutor
Laboratory experience: Dr. Veser’s Process Intensification Lab
Industry experience: Lubrizol – Process Improvement & Process Development Co-op, B. Braun Medical Inc. - Quality Engineering Intern
Interests: Traveling, Reading, Cooking/Baking, spending time with friends and family
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is connecting with such inspiring and motivated women engineers, both at Pitt and across the world, and working to empower the (SWE) next generation!

Katelyn Lipa

Year: Junior
Major: Bioengineering
Minors: Certificate in Foundations of Medicine, Chemistry
Activities: Research, Humane Animal Rescue Volunteering, UPMC Volunteering, Red Cross Volunteering, BMES
Laboratory Experience: Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering (Lin Lab)
Interests: Hiking around Western PA, reading, and kickboxing with my friends!
Favorite Part of SWE: Hanging out with my SWEsters!

Merrin Pickford

Year: Senior
Major: Chemical Engineering
Minor: Chemistry (including Sustainability Certificate)
Activities: Pink Panther Mentors, Step@Pitt
Industry Experience: AMETEK EMIP Engineering Intern at Superior Tube during summer 22
Interests: Spending time with family and friends, biking, painting
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is the large network that allows students and professionals to connect with each other. I enjoyed attending WeBuffalo and look forward to the conferences this year!

VP of Professional Development:
Nicole Lipa

Year: Senior
Major: Industrial Engineering
Minors: Certificate in Data Analysis
Activities: Incline Consulting Group, Hooligans Field Hockey Club
Industry Experience: Co-Op at Connors Group
Laboratory Experience: Data science research at Pitt
Abroad Experience: Studying for entire fall 2022 semester in Florence, Italy
Interests: I enjoy going on hikes, reading, taking my dogs for walks, gardening, and playing field hockey!
Favorite Part of SWE: Getting to take an active role in inspiring the next generation of females in STEM!

VP of Outreach:
Danielle McDonald

Year: Sophomore
Major: Bioengineering
Minors: Chemistry
Laboratory Experience: Summer 2022 experience, worked with Boundless Science in Durham, NC
Abroad Experience: Studied for 2 weeks in Cyprus
Interests: Skiing, Music
Favorite Part of SWE: The community ;easy to make friends, everyone is very welcoming and eager to help you in any way they can.

VP of Outreach:
Saipriya Namasivayam

Year: Junior
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minors: Computer Science
Activities: SWE, ARTificial Art Club, Engineers without Borders, Robotics and Automation Society, Hard Hitters Volleyball Club, Pink Panther Mentor.
Laboratory Experience: Website designer for Hornbostel Research group
Industry Experience: Process Engineering Co-op with Avient Corporation
Interests: Playing volleyball, soccer and tennis, drawing and painting, playing guitar and piano, and exploring the outdoors!
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is feeling like I am part of something bigger than myself. It consists of such a supportive and uplifting group of individuals, and it provides amazing opportunities to network and meet like-minded people. I also love working with outreach and inspiring younger girls to pursue careers in STEM!

Corporate Relations:
Nicole Jackson

Year: Junior
Major: Industrial Engineering
Activities: IISE (Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers), Hooligans Field Hockey
Industry Experience: Currently on first rotation co-op with Penske Truck Leasing
Interests: Hiking, Painting, Field Hockey
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is the opportunity to connect with other amazing women in engineering, in both the field and at the collegiate level like me. It is so obvious that everyone in SWE wants you to succeed and there is always a helping hand for you here.

Corporate Relations:
Minakshi Thapa

Year: Sophomore
Major: Computer Engineering
Minors: Computer Science
Activities: Pitt Robotics and Automation Society, Leo Club International, Alpha Sigma Kappa-Pitt, Pitt Program Council
Laboratory Experience: Pittsburgh Quantum Institute- Research
Interests: Robotics, Volunteering
Favorite Part of SWE: SWE is my second home since it provides me with a platform to make an impact socially and grow professionally. It offers me a sense of sisterhood on which I can rely without a doubt at any time.

Meeting Coordinator:
Hansini Kumar

Year: Junior
Major: Bioengineering
Minors: Neuroscience
Activities: Steel City RAAS
Industry Experience: Internship at Pall Corporation
Interests: Baking, Movie nights, Traveling
Favorite Part of SWE: Getting to spend time with other amazing people in a great environment!

Mentorship Chair:
Gloria Givler

Year: Senior
Major: Industrial Engineering
Minors: Political Science
Activities: Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, Tau Beta Pi Honors Society, Pitt College Democrats
Industry Experience: Application Engineering Co-op at Seegrid
Interests: Reading novels, cooking, traveling, and working out
Favorite Part of SWE: I love how we all support each other and help each other succeed, it's great to have a sense of community.

Publicity Chair:
Tanvi Verma

Year: Sophomore
Major: Computer Engineering
Activities: Pitt SWE, Summer Mentor
Industry Experience: IT consultant at School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Interests: Cooking for friends and family and spending time with them, watching historical or crime documentaries and exploring and trying out new dishes!
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part about SWE is that it's a community full of strong and inspiring women who never put each other down. It truly inspires me to become a better person and excel as an engineer.

Advocacy Chair:
Alison Linares Mendoza

Year: Junior
Major: Industrial Engineering
Minors: Economics and Philosophy
Activities: President of Design Hub, VP of Parli Debate, C2C Project
Laboratory Experience: Research with the Industrial Engineering Department and STEPUP.
Industry Experience: Internship with Boeing
Interests: Traveling, tennis, volleyball, trying new food places, spending time with family and friends
Favorite Part of SWE: Anytime SWE collaborates with other clubs or groups to talk about engineer, college, and opportunities. I love getting together with SWE members to prepare activities, schedules, and panels that we will be sharing with students ranging from elementary school to incoming first year students to current members. I truly enjoy the friendly and committed environment the members at SWE create !

Social Chair:
Ekaterini Papazekos

Major: Chemical Engineering
Minor: Sustainability Certificate
Industry Experience: Co-op with Emerson Process Management
Abroad Experience: Sustainable Innovation in Island Nations: Guam
Activities: Quo Vadis Nationality Room Tour Guides
Interests: Soccer, Baking, Sci-Fi Novels, Sharks
Favorite Part of SWE: I love being a part of a supportive environment and meeting new women in engineering through SWE!

Graphic Designer:
Anna George

Year: Sophomore
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Activities: Phi Sigma Rho Sorority, Intramural soccer
Industrial Experience: PennDOT Engineering and Scientific Technical Internship
Abroad Experience: Plus3 Germany
Interests: Reading, Baking, Knitting
Favorite Part of SWE: Helping to support, encourage and inspire women in engineering.

Fundraising Chair:
Jenna Ross

Major: Chemical Engineering
Minors: Chemistry
Activities: AIChE, Pink Panther Mentor, Pitt SWE, Outdoors Club, Ski Club
Laboratory Experience: Marketing Coordinator for MDS-Rely Research Center
Interests: Spending time with friends and family, exploring the outdoors, exercising, reading, traveling, trying new foods
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is having the opportunity to meet so many inspiring and amazing women. Everyone is so welcoming, supportive, and friendly, and I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful organization!

Girl Scout Engineering Day Chair:
Marissa Santoro

Year: Junior
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Activities: Pitt Club swimming, SOAR (Society of Astronautics and Rocketry), Pitt Irish dance club
Industry Experience: Boeing Summer 2022 Engineering Intern
Interests: I like skiing and painting
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is attending the outreach events. I love getting involved in events similar to those I loved as a child and hopefully helping kids realize that engineering could be a field for them!

High School Outreach Chair:
Yugma Patel

Major: Bioengineering
Minors: Chemistry
Activities: Theta Tau, Hindu Student Council, and BMES
Abroad Experience: Plus3 Cyprus 2022
Interests: Art, Cooking, and the Outdoors
Favorite Part of SWE: I love that SWE connects me to other people who are passionate about advocating a career in engineering for women.

Middle School Outreach Chair:
Amy Zhang

Major: Environmental Engineering
Minors: Chemistry
Activities: Carnegie Mellon All-University Orchestra
Abroad Experience: Wyoming Spring Creek Field Studies
Interests: Crocheting, Cooking
Favorite Part of SWE: One of it’s pillars is to teach and inspire people outside of its organization!

Elementary Outreach Chair:
Annie Goodwin

Major: Industrial Engineering
Minors: Architecture
Activities: Incline Consulting Group, Bumble and Samsung Campus Ambassadors
Abroad Experience: Engineering the German Way (Virtual)
Industrial Experience: Industrial Engineer Intern at CVS Health (fortune 4 company), United States Department of State: Community Liaison Officer
Interests: Tennis, Peloton, Yoga, exploring cities (trying new places to eat, grab coffee, shop), traveling
Favorite Part of SWE: Getting to connect with so many Woman in STEM in both social and professional ways!

Code Day Outreach Chair:
Margaret Killmeyer

Year: Junior
Major: Electrical Engineering
Minors: Communications & Signal Processing Concentration, Computer Science, Japanese Language and Culture
Activities: Pitt United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT)
Industry Experience: Co-op with U.S. Government.
Interests: Music composition, audio tech/gear, woodworking
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite part of SWE is the outreach; it’s extremely rewarding to inspire the next generation of women in STEM by finding new ways to combine the outreach audience’s interests with lessons to encourage exploration and creativity.

SWENext Outreach Chair:
Lauren Sarro

Major:Mechanical Engineering
Minor:Sustainability Certificate
Industry Experience: Two summers as a mechanical engineering intern at Systems Design Engineering, Inc
Activities: Varsity Marching Band, KKΨ National Band Fraternity, Basketball Pep Band, Pitt Concert Band, University of Pittsburgh Quiz Bowl Team (president), and Pink Panthers Mentorship program
Interests: Reading, crocheting, hanging out on the beach, and hockey
Favorite Part of SWE: The people! It's the kindest, most supportive group who always lends a hand if you need it and will always pick you up if you're ever feeling down.

Freshman Representative:
Eden Brunner

Year: Freshman
Major: Intended double major in bioengineering and computer science
Activities: PittSWE, Engineers without borders, SEMFS and Pitt's Biomedical Engineering Society.
Interests: Scientific research, biology, physics, and psychology.
Favorite Part of SWE: I really appreciate the fact that there is a localized community of women who share similar interests and goals as I do. As well as the constant opportunities that are being given to us as part of the SWE organization.


SWE Counselor:
Laura Traczynski

Status: Engineering Assistant at Turner Construction Company
Degree: B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 2019
Interests: Musical theater, biking, baking
Favorite part of SWE: I love SWE's community. I've met some of my best friends through SWE, and I'll always be so grateful for that!

Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Melissa Bilec

Status: Roberta A. Luxbacher Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Swanson School of Engineering), and Deputy Director of Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
Degrees: Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
M.S., Civil Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 1999
B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Magna Cum Laude, 1997
Interests: Mom of two children; avid reader; working out at her favorite gym, Mecka, and yoga at Amazing Yoga; diversity and inclusion
Favorite Part of SWE: Working with talented and bright students.

Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Leanne Gilbertson

Status: Assistant Professor of Sustainable and Environmental Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering
Degrees: PhD, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2009 - 2014
MA, MPhil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2009 - 2012
BA, Chemistry, Hamilton College, 2003 - 2007
Interests: Running, growing vegetables in my garden, hiking, and cooking
Favorite Part of SWE: My favorite aspects of SWE is that it is an organization led by women, for women and that it provides the opportunity to empower its members.