Listee Features — Engineering


Carolyn Crawford Chesnutt Thorsen knew she wanted to teach math by the time she was in high school, though she also holds longstanding love of music and has played the piano since age 5. First earning a Bachelor of Arts from Agnes Scott College in 1955, she began her career in 1964 as an assistant librarian with Hartsville Memorial Library in South Carolina before going on to join the Darlington County School District, where she taught music from 1965 to 1968 and math and psychology from 1968 to 1973. During this time, she furthered her education and obtained a Master of Education from the University of South Carolina in 1972. From 1973 to 1975, Ms. Thorsen served as a high

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Nazafarin Hedayati


Born to a Persian family in Iran, Nazafarin Hedayati, also known as Nazee Heda, immigrated to Yugoslavia with her father, where she spent a year and a half, before moving to Denmark to live with her other family members. Having been exposed to the oil and gas industries early on when she still lived in Iran, she found herself drawn to chemical engineering because she had not seen very many women in that field. In 1995, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen and during her study she had the chance to work on nitrate, phosphate, and silica storage methods with environmental scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia.

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Betsy Bear Hoff


Attributing much of her success to her dedication to her job and her company, Ms. Bear Hoff furthered her skills through graduate level studies at Cardinal Stritch University, where she earned a Master of Business Administration in 2006 followed by a master’s degree in business management in 2008. Driven by the desire to do her family proud and keep the company going as her predecessors did, she achieved the position of company president in 2018, becoming the fourth generation of her family to helm the Alloy Products Corporation, following her father, grandfather and great-grandfather. She recalls visiting her grandfather in his office when he was president of the company and telling him that one day, she would be sitting in

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Born in Greece, Lena Valavani, PhD, came to the United States to study physics at Columbia University’s Barnard College. Inspired early on by the works of Bertrand Russell, she was further encouraged by her mentors at Barnard, including her adviser Richard Friedberg and Chien-Shiung Wu, the renowned “First Lady of Physics.” Graduating from Barnard with a Bachelor of Science in physics, she went on to join Yale University, where she earned both a Master of Science and a Master of Philosophy before concluding her formal studies with a Doctor of Philosophy in engineering and applied science in 1978. Embarking on her career in a postdoctoral position at Yale, Dr. Valavani then accepted a position at MIT’s Laboratory for Information and

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Elvira Cohn


Having been raised in a family of inspiring chemical and electrical engineers, Elvira naturally pursued a career in engineering. Her parents, Klavdia V. Popova and Vladimir Ya. Popov have become her motivators, inspiring examples, and devotees over the years. She subsequently earned two master’s degrees in chemical engineering and in materials science and engineering from the Leningrad Technological Institute and the University of Central Florida. From 1992 to 1997, she garnered experience as a scientific researcher at Vavilov State Optical Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia. At the Research Institute, Dr. Irina V. Tunimanova and Dr. Elena I. Panysheva were Elvira’s mentors who shared their knowledge and practical experience. Elvira, while working at the Vavilov Optical Institute and pursuing her PhD candidacy,

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Fueled by a love for science, mathematics, and language, Helen Elizabeth Voegele Gourley spent seven decades as a, scientist, engineer, physicist, lecturer, and educator. From 1971 until her passing in 2021, she dedicated herself to System Sciences Group in San Francisco, where, in the role of chief optical scientist of her own consulting firm, she focused her expert skills on designing and analyzing optics relating to illumination for medical, military, and manufacturing instruments. In an industry largely occupied and run by men, Helen — through her hard work, tenacity, and knowledge — earned a place at the table for women in science. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Helen grew up devouring books and music — both of which

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Sherry Joy Barone is a registered professional engineer with more than three decades of expertise designing and testing projects for Raytheon, Hughes Aircraft, and the United States government. Since 2017, she has been the chief executive officer and co-founder of At the Table Productions, Inc., a woman-owned engineering collaborative focusing on developing novel energy and battery technologies for transportation systems. Ms. Barone’s current work with At the Table Productions focuses on creating new rechargeable battery cell technologies capable of storing energy from wind, solar, and other renewable sources. Pointing out that power sources for most transportation systems are critically outdated, Ms. Barone hopes to develop marketable cathode-powder and nanocell technologies capable of powering unmanned vehicles for both commercial and military

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Laila El Gammal


Laila El Gammal was inspired to pursue a career in the textile industry by her father, the late Mohamed Hussein El Gammal, a former leading figure in the spinning and weaving industry in Egypt. He was the managing director of the four largest companies in the field, the chairman of the Damietta Spinning and Weaving Company, and was the first to introduce polyester and viscose to the Egyptian market. After getting her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1963, Mrs. El Gammal earned a Master of Science in chemical engineering and dyeing from Alexandria University in Egypt in 1968. Mrs. El Gammal then began her career at the National Spinning and Weaving Company, where she spent a year working on

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Christine Darden


After accruing more than 40 years of practiced experience in the aerospace industry, Christine Mann Darden, DSc, retired in 2007 after having held a plethora of roles from data analyst to director of the Office of Strategic Communications and Education at the NASA Langley Research Center. During her years at NASA, she was selected as a member of the Federal Executive Service and served as director of the Aero-Performing Center Management Office. After her work as a data analyst in her early career, Dr. Darden worked as an aerospace engineer, a group leader of the sonic-boom minimization group, and a project manager and lead for the high-speed research IIA planning activities in the late 1990s. Before her tenure with NASA,

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With more than 40 years of professional experience, Bernice M. Narvaez has been a principal systems engineer with the Raytheon Company since 2017, having formerly been the IT program manager and principal systems engineer from 2015 to 2017. Prior to obtaining these roles, she was the lead systems engineer for software development with Praxis Engineering Technologies LLC from 2009 to 2015 and she previously held a number of positions with the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), including senior business process consultant from 2004 to 2006 and business process reengineering specialist from 2000 to 2004. From 1994 to 1997 and again from 1999 to 2000, Ms. Narvaez was a senior consultant with Comsys Information Technology Services, Inc., and, from 1997 to

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