The Knoxville Association of Women Executives (KAWE) annually awards a scholarship in memory of club member and UT professor the late Marcia Katz – the first woman to earn a doctorate in engineering from UT. This year the club gave two awards, and Dr. Katz would love these two honorees.
Mya Pinson won a $3,000 scholarship. She is a student at the UT with a major is aerospace engineering. In the SMaRT internship, she studied machine learning and the effectiveness of neural networks in solving problems such as sales forecasting, customer research, data validation and genomics research. In her own words:
“Despite the obstacles of having very limited exemplars of highly educated African-American women in STEM, my most passionate desire for my future is to become an accomplished aerospace engineer working for NASA or the Air Force so that young black girls can see that it is definitely possible to aim for something that seems impossible.”
Rachel An was awarded KAWE’s scholarship for $1,500. An is a rising senior at UT, pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. She is also doing a telecommuter internship with the Water Power team at Sandia National Laboratories where she is working on a project to develop a web application that will analyze wave resource conditions, not only for wave energy converters, but also other technologies like offshore wind turbines and tidal energy converters. In the next five to 10 years, she hopes to contribute in strengthening the marine renewable energy sector to help the United States gain a stronger clean energy portfolio.
KAWE was informally started in the summer of 1981 as business and professional women began to gather regularly for social support and networking. In the fall of 1982, the first set of officers was elected and since then more than 300 business owners and professional women joined the association that is currently over 50 members strong. Meetings are normally held on each second Thursday. Learn more here. www.kawetn.org.
Alexia Georghiou, KAWE marketing chair, provided information for this report.