Women’s Program: Women In Engineering

Women’s Program – Women In Engineering

Tuesday, October 6

This program is for Women in Engineering and their supporters. The IEEE Women in Engineering panel will feature 3 former OCEANS student poster competition winners and one former judge presenting on how their careers have evolved since participating in the competition including difficulties overcome, lessons learned, and successes and support received along the way. This ongoing series of panels held at OCEANS encourage support and mentorship of women in engineering and provide an opportunity for women to see other women succeeding in their field and hear their narratives.

IEEE Women in Engineering is a global network of IEEE members and volunteers dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists, and inspiring girls around the world to follow their academic interests in a career in engineering and science. IEEE WIE facilitates the recruitment and retention of women in technical disciplines globally. IEEE WIE envisions a vibrant community of IEEE women and men collectively using their diverse talents to innovate for the benefit of humanity.

Moderator: Brandy Armstrong
The University of Southern Mississippi

Brandy Armstrong is a staff physical oceanographer at The University of Southern Mississippi in the Marine Science Modeling Group and working towards her PhD in the Marine Science program. She specializes in running the Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave Sediment Transport (COAWST) modeling system, and is currently working on developing a model to study the impact of freshwater diversions on estuarine systems. Brandy completed a five year combined BS and MS in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina. Prior to starting her position at USM in 2019, Brandy was a research oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey Coastal Marine Geology Program in Woods Hole, where she specialized in ocean modeling and instrumentation. Brandy is the Vice President of Professional Activities for the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society 2020-2021, ensuring that Young Professionals and Women in Engineering are an integral part of Society conferences, leadership and planning.

Speaker: Dr. Ruth Perry
Marine Scientist and Regulatory Policy Specialist, Shell Exploration and Production Americas

Dr. Ruth Perry is a Marine Scientist and Regulatory Policy specialist responsible for offshore marine environmental policy for Shell Exploration and Production Americas teams. In this capacity, Perry integrates marine science and ocean technology into regulatory policy advocacy and decision-making in the areas of marine sound, marine spatial planning, ocean observing, and marine mammal and life science, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. Perry is also responsible for helping Shell to develop public-private science collaborations, such as real-time monitoring programs, to improve industry’s knowledge of the offshore marine environment. Ruth also works with the oil and gas industry trade associations’ to develop and implement joint industry programs for offshore environmental monitoring and to help increase understanding of the effect of sound on marine life generated by oil and gas exploration and production activities. Her recent projects with Shell include working with NOAA and University of Southern Mississippi to deploy autonomous underwater vehicles to better understand oceanographic environment relative to storm and hurricane intensity and establishing a long term deep sea (~3000m) time series station to monitor ocean water column at Shell’s Stones project.

Previously, Perry was a research scientist with the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System and Geochemical and Environmental Research Group at Texas A&M University, where she was worked on the implementation of a regional glider network, developing ocean science outreach for coastal communities, and incorporating geospatial techniques with remote sensing and ocean observing to study Gulf environmental hazards, such as hypoxia, and the effect of physical ocean processes on marine mammal distributions. Ruth has over 10 years of ocean technology research and system implementation, field experience and ocean policy analysis , including research cruises to monitor coastal hypoxia and the offshore physical environment, deploying and operating ocean observing systems and marine mammal observing in the Gulf of Mexico, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.

Perry, who earned a doctorate in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 2013, joined Shell in 2014 and is based in Houston.

Speaker: Dr. Allison Penko
Coastal Engineer, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Allison Penko is a Coastal Engineer at the U.S Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) at Stennis Space Center, MS. She received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA, in 2004 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA, in 2007 and 2010, respectively. She began working as a student at NRL in 2009 until she received her Ph.D. in December of 2010. In 2011, she received a Jerome and Isabella Karle Distinguished Scholar Fellowship and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at NRL until 2013. Since 2013, she has been employed as a Civil/Coastal Engineer at NRL. Her research interests include numerical modeling of micro- to meso-scale coastal hydrodynamics and morphodynamics and performing high-resolution laboratory experiments to measure sediment and fluid interactions in the bottom boundary layer. She presently works on five projects and manages six people in the Sediment Dynamics section at NRL. Additionally, she has been detailed to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as a part-time Assistant Program Manager (APM) since March of 2018. Within her APM role at ONR, she has managed numerous projects funded by the ONR Code 32 Future METOC Capabilities 6.4 Program and was awarded a three-year project funding improvements to the Navy’s storm surge and inundation forecasting system.

Dr. Penko is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the Coastal Imaging Research Network (CIRN), an international group of researchers who exploit visible signatures of phenomena in coastal, estuarine, and riverine environments. Her honors and awards include three Alan Berman Research Publication Awards (2012, 2014, and 2017), First Place in the 2012 International Conference on Coastal Engineering Outstanding Poster Competition, and Third Place Award in the 2009 MTS/IEEE OCEANS Student Poster Competition.

She is a mom of two bright and energetic boys, ages 5 and 2, and lives with her husband in Diamondhead, MS. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, boating, and photography.

Speaker: Dr. Nina Stark

Nina Stark received her MS in Geophysics in 2007 from the University of Muenster, Germany, working with the German Naval Research Institute for Underwater Acoustics and Geophysics on mine burial prediction. In 2011, she received her PhD working on the in-situ geotechnical investigation of sediment remobilization processes at MARUM-Center for Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, Germany. In the framework of her PhD, she developed a novel portable free fall penetrometer that enables geotechnical seabed probing under energetic hydrodynamics, and pioneered in-situ measurements of seabed surface hardening and softening associated to active sediment remobilization processes. Nina joined Dalhousie University, Canada, as a postdoctoral fellow in 2012 after continuing some of her PhD work as a postdoctoral fellow at MARUM. During her postdoctoral appointments she focused on the development of a penetrometer for deployment from manned submersibles, seabed monitoring around offshore wind energy converters, beach dynamics and a novel acoustic Doppler device for high resolution monitoring of the seabed surface. She joined Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in 2013, and was promoted to associate professor in 2019. Her research is focused on coastal geotechnics, coastal and marine field surveying methods, subaqueous sediment dynamics, beach trafficability, and ocean renewable energy. Nina has co-led teams for the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) association in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017, and she has received the NSF CAREER award and the ONR Young Investigator award in 2018. Nina has been awarded the Anthony and Catherine Moraco Faculty Fellowship in 2019.

Speaker: Dr. Malika Meghjani
Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Dr. Malika Meghjani is an Assistant Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Prior to joining SUTD, she was a Research Scientist and Technical Lead at the Autonomous Vehicle Lab within Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). She has a PhD in Computer Science and MEng in Electrical and Computer Engineering from McGill University, Canada. Her research interests include, multi-robot coordination, decision-making and planning under uncertainty. Particularly, in marine domain, she has developed large-scale multi-robot systems for guaranteed target search in disaster scenarios and coral reef monitoring application. Her work on “Multi-Target Search Strategies”, was nominated as a finalist for the best paper award in the safety, security and rescue robotics category at IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in 2016.

Malika has been recently featured in the global 2019 watchlist for women in robotics and World’s 50 Most Renowned Women in Robotics. Her debut in Singapore was with the prestigious SMART postdoctoral scholarship for her research proposals on “Multi-Class Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand System” and “Context and Intention Aware Planning under Uncertainty for Self-Driving Cars”. During her graduate studies, she has received several awards for her leadership and academic excellence including, the 2015 IEEE Larry K. Wilson Regional Award, the 2015 McGill Scarlet Key Award and the 2013 IEEE Canada Women in Engineering Award. In 2013, she also became the first Google Anita Borg Scholar from McGill University, Canada. She is also actively involved in program committees for several international robotics conferences. During her spare time Malika has started sustainable outreach initiatives that continue to attract various high school students towards STEM programs.