DiscoverE Announces 2017 New Faces of Engineering Honorees

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Release Date: 

April 5th, 2017

Washington DC, April 5, 2017 – DiscoverE announced the 2017 class of New Faces of Engineering honorees. The announcement coincides with today’s second annual Global Day of the Engineer, a worldwide day of celebration and volunteerism that shines a spotlight on the work done by engineers and inspires the next generation of engineering and technology professionals.

New Faces of Engineering recognizes the work of up-and-coming engineering professionals, age 30 or younger, who are making their mark on their industry. These talented individuals are honored for having dedicated themselves to using their skills and education to help engender a better world.  These young engineers serve as inspirations both for their colleagues and for the next generations coming up behind them.

The highly-coveted award, started in 2003, is recognized nationally by their peers as a top honor for young engineers and continues to grow in prestige. In addition to recognizing young engineering professionals, DiscoverE also honors engineering students through its New Faces of Engineering College program.

This year’s class includes young professionals innovating solutions throughout a cross-section of industries, including energy, food security, infrastructure, medicine, aerospace and the environment. Previous honorees have gone on to launch global businesses and NGOs.


2017 New Faces of Engineering Honorees:


Ashley Nichole Evans

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Arcadis

Nominated by: American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)

Type: Water Resources Engineer, Project Manager

Education: University of Texas at Austin, M.S. Environmental & Water Resources Engineering

University of Texas at Austin, B.S. Civil Engineering


Ashley, 28, is passionate about making sure people in her community and around the world have access to clean water. Ashley’s focus includes researching new strategies to remove contaminants, optimizing treatment processes and operational procedures for water systems, and investigating alternative water sources. Witnessing recreational activities on a nearby river, experiencing three devastating floods, participating in activities on the University of Texas campus, such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, and being selected for the Terry Foundation scholarship set Ashley on her career path. Ashley says the direct impact on people—whether it is mentoring younger engineers and students, helping her clients, or improving the quality of drinking water across the country —makes her job exciting and extremely rewarding.


Alyse Falconer, P.E., LEED AP BD+C

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Interface Engineering 

Nominated By: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Type: Mechanical Engineer

Education: Penn State University/Architectural Engineering, B.A.E.

Alyse, 29, designs HVAC systems that positively impact the environment by reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints. Recognized as one of the emerging leaders at Interface Engineering, Alyse is responsible for designing efficient mechanical systems and implementing energy conservation measures in schools, hospitals, offices and laboratories. Alyse was inspired to pursue engineering by her high school calculus and physics teacher who made math and science fun and was one of her first examples of a woman in STEM. Alyse was the first person in her family to graduate from college, and gives back to her community by mentoring students with the First Graduate Program.


India Kaczmarek

Award Year: 2017

Employer: GPD Group

Nominated By: NACME

Type: Civil Engineer

Education: The University of Akron, BS, MS in progress


India, 27, takes pride in the fact that, as she drives the streets of her native Akron, OH, she is directly responsible for designing the infrastructure under those streets, namely the natural gas lines that need to be replaced due to corrosion. India says that “engineering keeps things interesting in that everyday presents a new challenge, innovation is rewarded, and no two jobs (at least in my field) are exactly the same.” India has spent time mentoring middle and high school students by teaching a pre-engineering class for three years post-graduation, and having students shadow her at work. Looking back at how she got into engineering herself, she says it was all because of free pizza offered at her high school as part of a bridge building competition.



Chad Norvell, P.E.

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Nishkian Dean

Nominated By: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Type: Structural Engineer

Education:  Portland State University/BS, Civil Engineering (2012)

Portland State University/MS, Civil Engineering (2016)


Chad, 30, uses his engineering skills to improve the living conditions and disaster resilience in vulnerable communities around the world. For three years he worked for WorldHaus, a group committed to building affordable housing in India. As the Director of Engineering, his team built dozen of housing projects in remote villages and dense slums. Today, Chad works in Portland, OR, a region at risk of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and specializes in designing efficient seismic retrofits of buildings. He has designed the retrofit for more than a dozen Portland area schools and helped them secure funding for these projects through the state government. He also volunteers with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), an organization that facilitates better understanding and recovery from major earthquakes around the globe.


Nicole Ortiz

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Nominated By: Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE)

Type: Industrial Engineer

Education: University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, PR, BS, MS in progress


Nicole, 27, is an Industrial Engineer who uses forecasting and statistical tools to solve inventory and customer order challenges. She is also pursuing her graduate degree in Industrial Engineering and is studying the commonalities in the genetic signatures and pathways among three neurological disorders. But perhaps her proudest achievement is through her work with the Hewlett Packard mentoring program. Assigned two middle school students in danger of dropping out of school, Nicole worked with them, their teachers, and parents to improve their attendance and get their grades up. Both students graduated and Nicole is a continuing presence in their lives as they start their high school career.


Antoine Primel, PhD

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Cooper Standard

Nominated by: American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

Type: Chemical Engineer


  • Lycée Naval, A-level specialized in Sciences.
  • IUT Mesures Physiques, 2 year degree specialized in Physico-chemical Measurements.
  • Université de Bretagne Sud (UBS), Bachelor of Sciences, specialized in Polymers & Composites.
  • Université de Bretagne Sud (UBS), Master of Sciences, specialized in Eco-Design of Polymers & Composites
  • Institut de Recherche Dupuy De Lôme (IRDL) / PhD in Engineering Sciences.


Antoine, 27, develops new formulas for rubber based systems and components for the automotive industry. His passion is in research & development and he is highly motivated by the opportunity to see his ideas go from conception to practical application. His breakthrough solutions have led directly to advances in the design of hoses that improve the ability to transfer fluids within automobile engines, meeting customer and EU specifications while also remaining environmentally responsible.  When he is not working, Antoine trains a beginner team to play Agility Dog, a fast-growing, team-building sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course.    


Brett Ramirez

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Iowa State University

Nominated by: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)

Type: Graduate Research Assistant

Education: University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign/BS, Agricultural Engineering

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign/MS, Agricultural Engineering

Iowa State University/PhD (expected 2017) Agricultural Engineering


Brett, 27, is constantly motivated by the challenge of feeding the world’s ever-growing population. His work in academia combines his passion for research, design, and teaching. His research focuses on developing sustainable livestock systems that are resource efficient and promote performance, well-being, and health. His design work has resulted in innovative technology and control algorithms needed for reducing costs to help livestock producers maintain profitability while keeping the animals comfortable. With his teaching, he is able to bring his research directly to his students and give them hands-on experiences with real-world applications. 


Thomas Synovec, P.E., PMP, LEED AP

Award Year: 2017

Employer: U.S. Air Force

Nominated By:  National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

Type: Civil Engineer

Education: United States Air Force Academy in CO, BS; North Carolina State University, MCE; Air Force Institute of Technology in OH, MS, Mississippi State University, PhD in progress


Thomas, 29, primary job is to design and construct buildings, roads, and airfields for the Air Force. He also works on humanitarian projects critical to America’s coalition partners and has built schools, health clinics, and water wells, giving people access to clean water, medicine, education, and reliable power. Thomas’ latest project is to head up the largest troop labor project in the Air Force’s history in a remote region of African to support counter-terrorism operations. Thomas also taught the Air Force’s first Professional Engineering Exam Prep course. In three years, this course has helped hundreds of military and civilian engineers pass the P.E. exam and become licensed engineers.


Emily Worinkeng

Award Year: 2017

Employer: Boeing

Nominated By: American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Type: Mechanical Engineer

Education: Clemson University, M.S. Mechanical Engineering

Berea College, B.S. Physics & Mathematics


Emily, 27, crawls around the inside of airplane wings looking for ways to improve how they are built and maintained. Along with her team, she’s developed new processes to install and align the flaps of airplane wings, figured out how to speed up curing times, and helped deliver a Star Wars themed Dreamliner to Japan. Taking things apart and putting them back together has been a past time of Emily’s since she was a young girl. This has come in handy both on the job and in her volunteer life where she is active in restoring oyster reefs and mentoring elementary, middle and high school students with Boeing’s, DreamLearners program, which provides educational outreach to Charleston kids.


Aaron Young

Award Year: 2017
Employer: Georgia Institute of Technology

Nominated By: IEEE-USA
Type: Biomedical Engineering
Education: Purdue University, B.S.; Northwestern University, M.S. & PhD


Aaron, 30, focuses his research on robotic exoskeletons and prostheses for individuals with walking disability. A key innovation of his research is directly syncing the prosthetic and exoskeleton devices to the user’s muscles through electromyography with the goal of reducing the metabolic cost of ambulation. In a clinical trial, his control system for a robotic knee/ankle prosthesis was tested with eight individuals with amputation. The robotic prosthesis was able to successfully predict the amputee’s movements (based on information from the patient’s muscles) and automatically adjust the prosthetic to allow a person to walk, climb stairs, and navigate ramps. Aaron not only gets to see his research turned into practical solutions, he volunteers with middle school students to do the same. At local area schools, he helps lead student groups to build a prosthetic arm for a fictional child using low-cost household items.


About DiscoverE


DiscoverE is leading a growing volunteer movement that inspires and informs present and future generations to discover engineering. Our network of volunteers in the US and abroad is drawn from the DiscoverE coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together we meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences and making science and math relevant. For more information, visit



Geena Pandolfi

Sayles & Winnikoff Communications

212-725-5200 x113