From problem solvers to innovators: Honoring the trailblazing women in engineering

Prominent female engineers gathered at the University of Miami to explore the progression of their field and to inspire the upcoming generation of engineers.
From problem solvers to innovators: Honoring the trailblazing women in engineering

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the College of Engineering hosted “Women in Engineering”, an intergenerational event showcasing the evolution and progression of females in the field. The discussions unfolded at the Shalala Student Center and were marked by the insights of notable panelists who broke stereotypes throughout their careers.  

The panel sessions kicked off with JoAnn Morgan, a distinguished figure known for her groundbreaking career at NASA, where she was the first woman engineer. Her presence in the firing room during the launch of Apollo 11 made her an integral part of humankind's first journey to the moon.  

“I had to be a change agent,” said Morgan about entering a male-dominated field. Throughout her four decades at NASA, she held various leadership positions, including serving as the Associate Director of the Kennedy Space Center, in which she was responsible for many shuttle launches. 

Alice Bravo, a College of Engineering alumna who studied civil engineering, joined Morgan on stage and shared how she wanted to build things from a young age.  

“I always had an intense curiosity for how things are supposed to be put together,” said Bravo. “I’d wonder about how a ramp on a highway was built. When I realized engineers are people who solve problems, I figured I’d do that.” 

And she helped solve many problems while leading the Department of Transportation at Miami-Dade County. Most notably, Bravo oversaw the massive Port of Miami Tunnel Project and various significant highway reconstruction projects. She quickly positioned the region as a leader in transportation innovation. 

Lila Snyder, celebrated for breaking barriers as Bose Corporation's first female CEO, wrapped up the panel discussions. Her journey from mechanical engineering student at the University of Miami to top executive showcased the importance of STEM education. Snyder emphasized the significance of mentorship, confidence-building, and the diverse perspectives women bring to problem-solving. 

The conversations aimed to ignite a passion for innovation in aspiring engineers. Pratim Biswas, dean of the College of Engineering emphasized that “their stories are a powerful reminder that engineers are helping solve some of the world's most pressing challenges.” 

The event was made possible with the generous support of Schonfeld and DeSimone.