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2011 Breakout Sessions

Session 1 : Speaker Biographies
(session 2 below)

Physics is For Girls
Mandy Rominsky, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
High Energy Physics is one of the most exciting fields of study out there. This session will describe what it takes to become a physicist, what kind of jobs there are, and what questions boggle the minds of physicists today.

Mandy Rominsky (
Profession: Postdoctoral research assistant
Work: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Education: Ph.D. University of Oklahoma

Dr. Rominsky received her Ph.D from the University of Oklahoma in High Energy Physics in 2009. Since then, she has been working at Fermilab as a postdoctoral researcher, studying physics beyond the standard model and working on R&D for tracking detectors. Her work involves writing programs to study high energy physics data, working with collaborators around the world on physics analysis and working on testing hardware designs for upcoming experiments. She enjoys giving tours of the lab and talking with the public about her field.

Software Engineering: Lean and Agile Development
Ronna Smith-Zahner, Nokia Siemens Network
The opportunities for girls in software engineering are vast! Explore large scale development using Lean/Agile processes in a global wireless engineering environment.

Ronna Smith-Zahner (
Head of Research and Design
Work: Nokia Siemens Network
Education: B.S. Comp. Sci., Northern Illinois University; M.S. Comp. Sci., Kansas State University

Ronna Smith-Zahner is currently a member of the CDMA/LTE Leadership Team in the Networks Systems Business Unit at NSN. Her primary focus during the last year has been on integrating Motorola Networks engineering into NSN NWS engineering. She is also the Technology Head for the Arlington Heights NWS Campus. Ronna has over 25 years of Telecommunications engineering experience in various roles that have spanned many products. She worked at Lucent Technologies before joining Motorola in 2002. In addition to her schooling, she has also completed advanced business programs at Simmons College and Duke University. From 2008-2011, Ronna was also the co-president of the Motorola Women’s Business Council (WBC). The focus of the WBC was on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math of girls and women at all levels, and diversity of thought as a business imperative and innovation across Motorola’s businesses. Ronna is the recipient of a two Motorola CEO Quality Awards and various leadership awards. In 2010, the Global Women’s Business Council won the Motorola Global Inclusion and Diversity Award for its work in the Workplace and Marketplace.

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: Mechanical Engineers Make Things Move!
Ayana Goin, Cummins Inc.
The career of a mechanical engineer can be varied. By walking through nearly a decade of the career of a mechanical engineer, see through her eyes some of the different paths both chosen (and not) for a mechanical engineering graduate in the automotive industry.

Ayana Goin (
OEM Service Engineer Team Leader
Work: Cummins Inc.
Education: B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Concordia University; M.A. Business Administration

Ayana Goin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Originally from Montreal, Canada she emigrated to the United States 9 years ago to work for Cummins Inc., headquartered in Columbus, IN. While having occupied roles in Warranty support and testing and development, she is currently employed as a Service Engineering Team Leader for the Cummins diesel engine in the Ram Truck product. Her role involves leading a team of 6 engineers who are responsible for providing technical support to the Chrysler service channel. This involves, among other things, interfacing with Cummins and Chrysler Engineering, preparing vehicle owner’s manuals and service literature, and aiding the field in troubleshooting and repairing hard to diagnose engines with issues.

Session 2 : Speaker Biographies

Biomedical Engineering: The happy medium between pre-med and engineering
Pushpa Samuel, Hemosphere
Do you love science and math but can't seem to decide your college major? Never fear! This session will give a sneak peek into the best of both worlds as we discuss the countless engineering applications in a hospital setting.

Pushpa Samuel: (
Profession: Research and Development Project Engineer
Work: Hemosphere, MN
Education: Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis

Ms. Samuel worked for 5 years in the peripheral vascular medical device industry before transitioning to a start-up company to design dialysis grafts. Her previous work comprised primarily of balloon angioplasty catheters, stents, and atherectomy. Now, she is the Project Manager for the next generation device to reduce bacterial infections for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients. Primary responsibilities include prototyping concepts and verifying the final device meets the intended user needs. She has also mentored high school students involved in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics program. The team won second place at the national competition in Minneapolis and received the Creative Design Award. The students nominated her as the most influential mentor and have continued their mentorship through college. In her free time, she is part of the ev3 co-ed volleyball team.

Environmental Engineering: More than Hugging Trees
Christina Magerkurth, Magerkurth and Associates Inc.
Have you ever wondered what kinds of things an environmental engineer actually does? This session will provide an overview of the world of environmental engineering including its applications, types of careers environmental engineers have and how this discipline interacts with other types of engineering. Lots of time for discussion and questions will be included.

Christina Magerkurth (
Profession: Climate Change, Sustainability, and Enviornmental Engineering Consultant
Work: Magerkurth Associates, Inc.
Education: B.S. Engineering & Applied Science (Environmental Engineering) California Institute of Technology,M. Eng. Environmental Management, Cornell University

Ms. Magerkurth has been involved in the environmental engineering field for over 11 years. In 2009, she founded Magerkurth Associates, Inc., a consulting company focused on climate change and sustainability services such as entity and project greenhouse gas emissions inventory development, strategy development, and public reporting. Ms. Magerkurth also has significant experience in the validation and verification of entity inventories and carbon offset projects. In addition, she has extensive experience in developing, implementing and auditing ISO 14001 EMS systems, and providing regulatory support, site investigation and remediation, and expert testimony. Her work has allowed her to become knowledgeable about a variety of industries, including landfills, power generation corporations, refineries, chemical manufacturers, airports, foundries and paper manufacturers.