International Women in Engineering Day graphic featuring Persist Series Host Kameelah S. Majied

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The Persist Series for women in STEM is back for a special International Women in Engineering Day episode presented in collaboration with the Congressional Women in STEM Caucus and WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActive Network).
Join Persist Series host Kameelah S. Majied for a conversation exploring the research findings from Messages Matter, the factors that attract girls and students of color to engineering, and the role you can play in achieving gender equity in engineering and technology.
Panelists include Collins Aerospace’s Global Head of Workforce DEI Walton Price, Society of Women Engineers President Dayna Johnson, TE Connectivity Staff Scientist Kavitha Bharadwaj, and Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) Executive Director Ershela Sims.



About DiscoverE’s Persist Series

Persist Series: Conversation and Community for Women in E+T

This year, we’re reimagining the possible to help women reach their full potential – in engineering and tech careers and beyond. We’ll push past merely surviving to pursue pathways for thriving.

Join us for inspiring sessions where women in E+T candidly share their personal stories, tackle how to navigate workplace challenges, and discuss tactics to help them stay and advance in the field.



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Episode 2 (2022-23 Season): Overcoming Adversity & Thriving

Air Date: March 8, 2023

Speakers: Monica Morales (Jacobs), Claris Purasinghe (LA Department of Water and Power) and Kameelah S. Majied, PMP (Merck)

Monica and Claris discuss how they have prevailed over adversity as young women in a male-dominated field.

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Episode 1 (2022-23 Season): Conquering Challenges in Your Career

Air Date: November 9, 2022

Speakers: Dr. Paige Brown (US Department of Labor) and Kameelah S. Majied, PMP (Merck)

Dr. Brown talks about adversity she faced earlier in her career, how she conquered these challenges and offers her strategies for overcoming obstacles in the workplace.

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Episode 4 (2022 Season): Gen Y On The Forefront: Crushing Stereotypes & Blazing Trails

Air Date: June 1, 2022

Speakers: Andronica Klaas (Meta), Cammy Davis (Alabama A&M), Danielle Lewis (Cummins), Lilian Agyemang-Yeboah (Entegris)

Meet four incredible young engineers who share their stories navigating the challenges of stepping into the workforce, crushing stereotypes and blazing trails for future generations along the way.

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Episode 3 (2022 Season): Engineering Gals: Relatable Content & Reliable Community

Air Date: April 20, 2022

Speakers: Amy Kaur (Engineering Gals), Maritza Bravo (Engineering Gals)

Amy and Maritza founded Engineering Gals with the goal of providing accessible education, resources, and community for women in engineering. From an open-access library of workshops, tools, and networking opportunities to funny and relatable memes, Amy and Maritza aim to support their growing community of women in their uniquely approachable and inclusive ways.

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Episode 2 (2022 Season): Find Your Drive To Thrive: Building Your Best Infrastructure

Air Date: March 16, 2022

Speakers: Briana Gamble (Bentley Systems), Volaree Rendon (Bentley Systems)

Take a look at new opportunities to reach minorities and women in their early career – from building new resources into underserved colleges to assist students’ matriculation, to thinking creatively about what success looks like and how to hone the drive to thrive.

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Episode 1 (2022 Season): Reimagine The Possible: From Surviving To Thriving

Air Date: February 23, 2022

Speakers: Dr. Julianna Gesun (University of New Hampshire), Dr. Allison Godwin (Purdue University), Dr. Matilde Sánchez-Peña (University of Buffalo – SUNY), Dr. Stephany Santos (University of Connecticut)

For the 2022 Persist Series kick off, we discussed moving beyond just surviving in engineering to cultivate a welcoming and inclusive culture that nurtures career thriving.

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Episode 8: From Mindset To Management: Transforming From The Inside-Out

Air Date: November 10, 2021

Speakers: Gayathri Shukl (Campfire Kinship), Madhu Seera (City of Calgary), Cassandra Polyzou (Engineers Canada)

In this episode of the Persist Series, we dive into how both employees and organizations can leverage their own stories to make necessary changes that reflect their core values in lasting, sustainable ways.

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Episode 7: Hermanas In STEM Diversifying Workforce Development

Air Date: October 13, 2021

Speakers: Dr. Gabriela A. Gonzalez (Intel Foundation), Maria Reyes (Phoenix College)

Through the Hermanas Conference and powerful public-private partnerships, long-time friends and colleagues Maria and Gabriela have spent years working together to help STEM students thrive at Hispanic-serving schools and to help young professionals of color make seamless transitions into the workforce.

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Episode 6: Black Women In STEM Imagine Tomorrow

Air Date: September 15, 2021

Speakers: Tiana Conley (Kellogg Company), Angelitha Daniel (NC State University), Lakithia Williams (Peloton Interactive)

Moderator: Mariah Dixon (UL)

Our featured speakers discuss how women of color in STEM are overcoming sexism and racism to hold important titles and positions, making groundbreaking discoveries, and pushing the boundaries of who is included in the next generation of STEM innovators.

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Episode 5: Reimagining Success

Air Date: June 9, 2021

Speakers: Amy Winchester (CBCL), Annie Cormier (CBCL), Victoria Fernandez (CBCL)

Amy Winchester is a senior chemical engineer at CBCL and the firm’s first female Director on the Board. But she’s also a mom of three and has learned all the many ways we can redefine what success looks like. Amy and her colleagues, Annie and Victoria, chat about how to be versatile, vulnerable, and patiently persistent as you find your own success.

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Episode 4: Lead Like A Woman: Engineering A New Mindset

Air Date: May 12, 2021

Speakers: Caroline Metcalf (Bechtel Corporation), Emma Harniman (Bechtel Corporation)

The leader is charismatic, assertive, takes a hard line. The “male leadership archetype” and other gender norms shut many people out of personal and career growth opportunities. In the session we chatted about creating our own leadership archetypes by embracing new ways of working that complement our personalities rather than counter them.

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Episode 3: Polymers To Patents: The Science Of Sticking Together

Air Date: April 14, 2021

Speakers: Audrey Sherman (3M), Belma Erdogan-Haug (3M)

Only 18 3M inventors have reached the 100-patent mark, and Audrey Sherman, a division scientist in the 3M Medical Solutions Division, is 3M’s only female to reach this milestone. We chatted with Audrey to learn how she did it – and the critical role that collaboration (and a little friendly competition) plays in how she’s found success and persistence.

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Episode 2: Know Your Roots And Branch Out

Air Date: March 10, 2021

Speakers: Abi Babajide-Ferguson (Shell Deep Water), Lori Fremin (Shell Deep Water)

Abi Babajide-Ferguson has done a bit of everything at Shell Deep Water, from technical, managerial, and HR roles. Her colleague, Lori Fremin, is a collaborative leader with strong relationships across the business. Abi and Lori discuss how they find out-of-the-box ways to find fulfillment and flexibility in their career progression – and how you can do the same.

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Episode 1: Workplace Norms That Work

Air Date: February 10, 2021

Speakers: Vanessa Raponi (Spin Master)

We hear all the time about women in STEM feeling out of place and undervalued, but what does a truly inclusive work culture look like? A thriving, women-led engineering team discusses how we can find success in our current work culture AND be an agent of change.

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2020 Season

Episode 5: Better Together

Air Date: April 8, 2020

Speakers: Jennifer Scanlon (UL LLC), Telle Whitney (Anita Borg)

Belonging is fundamental to our fulfillment and well-being. In this episode, speakers discussed how they’ve built support networks and found their community and sense of belonging in their career.

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Episode 4: From Obstacles To Inspiration

Air Date: April 1, 2020

Speakers: Andronica Klaas (Facebook), Mahfuza Ali (3M)

Facing challenges is part of any journey. Learning how to transform barriers into motivators can help us succeed AND pave the way for those who come after us.

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Episode 3: Breaking The Rules

Air Date: March 25, 2020

Speakers: Laura Aiken (Bechtel), Pavlina Akritas (Arup), Vanessa Raponi (Spin Master)

Some rules need to be broken. In this episode, speakers shared how they’re breaking old rules and building new dynamics to shape a more inclusive and welcoming profession.

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Episode 2: Believe, Do, Succeed

Air Date: March 18, 2020

Speakers: Canan Dagdeviren (MIT Media Lab), Megan Eddings (Accel Lifestyle)

Asserting a strong belief in your ideas, skills, and contributions can strengthen your resolve to persevere through challenges. In this episode, speakers shared stoires and strategies to build career confidence and respond to criticism and skepticism.

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Episode 1: Why Stay?

Air Date: March 11, 2020

Speakers: Montana Wilson (MTE Consultants), Selda Gunsel (Royal Dutch Shell)

Many studies have looked at the obstacles women and girls face in engineering and technology and reasons they leave, ranging from pay disparities to harassment. Our speakers took a different perspective: Why do they stay?

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Persist Series Thought Leaders

Anne-Marie Walters

Bentley Systems

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Francisca Ogundele


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Belma Erdogan-Haug

Joanne Torkington

Bechtel Corporation

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Rochelle Diamond


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Carol L. Smith

Underwriters Laboratories

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Kathryn Cifa

Bechtel Corporation

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Roseanne O'Leary

Engineers Ireland

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Cassandra Polyzou

Engineers Canada

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Mimi Irvin


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Thought leader bios

Anne-Marie Walters
Industrial Marketing Director Process and Resources

Anne-Marie Walters is Bentley’s Industry Marketing Director for Process and Resources. Industries include oil & gas, process & discrete manufacturing, power generation, and mining. Anne-Marie is a chartered chemical engineer, founding member of the Process Industries STEP Consortium (PISTEP) Committee, and has served on the boards of CIMsteel and the United Kingdom’s chapter of the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI). She is a frequent guest speaker at industry events all over the world. Prior to working for Bentley she worked for Sema Group, Intergraph, BP, and ICI.

Solutions for advancing infrastructure.

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Belma Erdogan-Haug
Global Technical Learning, Innovation, Collaboration Manager

Dr. Belma Erdogan-Haug manages all aspects of 3M’s flagship technical collaboration, innovation & learning programs, awards and recognitions, and science encouragement programs. Belma has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Georgia Tech and MBA from MIT-Sloan. Through her years at 3M, she led cross functional teams from Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China to advance Solar Encapsulants, Industrial Adhesives and Optically Clear Adhesives for flexible display applications in consumer electronics and automotive dashboards. In her last role, she led the Government R&D business development engagements and aligned strategically important key 3M R&D programs to government. She has 20 patents and 13 peer reviewed articles. Belma is a passionate social justice and DEI advocate. She constantly helps her community, is involved in education-focused outreach programs and actively mentors and coaches women and underrepresented minority college students about science and career development.

3M Global R&D Center
Innovative technology for a changing world.

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Carol L. Smith
Lead Market Surveillance Engineer

Carol Smith is Lead Market Surveillance Engineer at UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories) in Illinois (US), investigating concerns related to UL certified products. An electrical engineer, she has more than 25 years’ experience in testing, evaluating, and certifying products for compliance to safety standards. Carol is an IEEE Senior Member and currently serves as Co-Chair for the IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society, Chicago chapter. She earned her degree from the University of the Pacific School of Engineering and Computer Science in California (US).

A global independent safety science company.

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Cassandra Polyzou
Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As the Manager, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Cassandra works on strategies and partnerships that promote the recruitment and retention of women in engineering and supports increased Indigenous Peoples’ participation in engineering. Previous to Engineers Canada, Cassandra worked for Environmental Defence on their Toxic Nation campaign, where she helped successfully ban Bisphenol A from consumer products in Canada. She has over a fifteen years experience in community engagement on social justice, and diversity, equity and inclusion issues.

Promoting Canada’s engineering profession.

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Francisca Ogundele
Subsea Project Lead

Francisca Ogundele works as a Subsea Project Lead in the Shell Deepwater project organisation. She leads a team of Shell engineers and Contractors in the delivery of the subsea trees, manifolds, umbilicals, distribution and controls systems for Brownfield subsea wells tying back to the Perdido spar. Francisca over 17-years of experience with Shell working in the Upstream business with assignments in operations, surveillance and projects. During this time, she has lived and worked in the United States (New Orleans and Houston), Malaysia (Miri) and Brasil (Rio de Janeiro). Francisca is a graduate of the University of Toronto (and happen to be Canadian) with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the Curtin University of Technology. With a strong interest in furthering Shell’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, Francisca is part of various mentoring circles and has led the Women’s Employee Resource Group Chapter at Shell’s Woodcreek Campus. She also volunteers in community STEM projects for students. Outside of work Francisca enjoys traveling with her family, reading (a lot of non-fiction at the moment), exercising, novice gardening and trying out recipes from my favourite recipe App.

A global group of energy & petrochemical companies.

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Joanne Torkington
Global Chief of Project Engineering

Joanne (Jo) Torkington joined Bechtel in September 2007 as a process engineer and has worked on various Oil, Gas & Chemicals projects in a variety of phases from studies to EPC. Her roles have taken her all over the globe including working in India, UAE, Republic of Korea, Canada, Italy, and the USA. She has taken on positions of increasing responsibility culminating in her current role as discipline chief. Jo is functionally responsible for her group and is keen to champion technical training and bringing new talent into the team. She obtained her Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), a Master of Philosophy also in Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester and recently a Master of Law from the University of London. Jo is a chartered engineer with the Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Engineering, construction, and project management company.

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Kathryn Cifa
Fire Protection Engineering Specialist

Kathryn joined Bechtel in July of 2007 as a fire protection engineer with a bachelor’s and master’s of science degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland, United States. She obtained her professional engineering license in 2010. Her roles while at Bechtel have offered a wide range of experience in complex applications of fire protection engineering for one-of-a-kind design execution for critical government programs spanning the United States. Additionally, she is an advocate for positive and effective leadership to help foster her colleague’s wellness and success. Kathryn also supports Bechtel in alternative roles participating in Women@Bechtel and the Employee Safety and Health Committee.

Engineering, construction, and project management company.

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Mimi Irvin
Startup Project Manager

Mimi Irvin received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana (U.S.). She was recognized by ENR (Engineering News Record Magazine) as 2017 Top Young Professional (for Texas and Louisiana). Mimi has more than 14 years of experience, including working as an electrical and design engineer, estimator, product director for electrical equipment, and Technical Lead for Business Transformation and Innovation, and international sales coordinator. She combines her engineering background with her passion for fashion and launched “Got STEM Style?” to help young women discover an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers while not comprising their creativity.

Multinational technology company.

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Rochelle Diamond

Rochelle (Shelley) Diamond is Professional Staff at the California (U.S.) Institute of Technology. She is the facility director of Caltech’s Flow Cytometry/Cell Sorting Facility, servicing various university divisions as well as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is also a researcher and lab manager for Caltech’s developmental immunology group. Rochelle is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and chairs the board of directors of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals. She has received numerous awards for her LGBTQ diversity work and has been listed in ‘Who’s Who in Science and Engineering’ and ‘Who’s Who of American Women’.

Professional society that advocates for LGBTQ professionals.

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Roseanne O’Leary
STEPS Team Leader

Roseanne O’Leary is STEPS Team Leader with Engineers Ireland, the country’s professional body for engineers. STEPS is a non-profit outreach program that promotes interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to school students through a portfolio of projects funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover program call. She manages day-to-day operations as well as short and long-term strategies. Roseanne has worked in education and public engagement for six years. She is an avid promoter of STEM and oversees events and activities to promote engineering to girls. Her undergraduate degree is from University College-Dublin with her Master in Science from the Dublin Institute of Technology.

The professional body for engineers in Ireland.

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PROMOTIONAL LANGUAGE:  March 8 International Women’s Day Session

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The Persist Series for women in STEM is back for a special International Women’s Day episode presented in collaboration with WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActive Network) and hosted by Kameelah S. Majied, PMP, an engineer, diversity champion, and Director of Operations at Merck.
Join us on March 8 at 12pm ET to meet speaker Monica Morales, PE, ENV SP, a Water Resources Engineer at Jacobs and active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Monica will share her experiences as a first-generation college graduate and how she prevailed over adversity in her early career as a young woman in a male-dominated field. Hear her story and stay tuned for a live Q&A moderated by Kameelah S. Majied and featuring panelist Claris Purasinghe, Civil Engineering Associate in the Water System’s Project Management Office at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

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Women In Engineering and Tech Moving Beyond Surviving to Thriving

DiscoverE’s Persist Series is a worldwide conversation series building community to help women persevere and thrive in engineering and tech careers.

Connect with thousands of women around the world to watch an inspiring TED-style video and candidly share stories, navigate workplace challenges, and discuss effective tactics to help women stay and advance in the field.

Together, let’s change the conversation for women in engineering and tech so it’s no longer, “How do we persist?” But instead, “This is why we stay.”

Learn more and register to attend at DiscoverE’s Persist Series.

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