Women in Engineering honors four chemical engineering students


The Penn State Women in Engineering Program (WEP) announced the recipients of its annual awards that recognize exceptional student leaders, mentors, facilitators and intern coordinators.

Ellen Fagan, an industrial engineering senior from Prospect Park, Pennsylvania, received the endowed Joelle Award for Women in Engineering Leadership, recognizing outstanding leadership contributions by a junior or senior woman student in the College of Engineering.

Fagan was honored for her contributions and outstanding record of leadership, service and citizenship that positively affect the climate for women in the College of Engineering and at the University.

One nominator noted, "Ellen acts as a great role model for not only me, but for other women as well. Her successes help her to give great advice, and she has helped me when I needed it most. She is a natural leader."

Another reflected, "Ellen encourages others to think creatively and share ideas. When things don't work out and we face setbacks, she encourages us to learn from them to find better ways to succeed."

First runners-up are Christine Hildenbrand, a mechanical engineering senior from Pittsburgh, and Maria Poluch, a Schreyer Scholar and chemical engineering senior from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Two students were selected as recipients of the Nadine Barrie Smith Mentor Award. Endowed by Andrew Webb in honor of his wife, Nadine Barrie Smith, a former bioengineering faculty member, the award recognizes outstanding undergraduate engineering women who, like Smith, devoted significant time and resources to mentoring other female students in their quests to become better students, people and engineers.

Katrina Malaski, a chemical engineering senior from Olyphant, Pennsylvania, has been involved in Women in Engineering Program Orientation (WEPO) leadership and served as a mentor the past two years. Malaski also held multiple leadership roles with the Penn State student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) including secretary and, most recently, 2014-15 president.

Her nominator cited, "Katrina not only helped me succeed in college with her constant support and motivation, but she helped me plan for my future through preparing me for talking with recruiters, tailoring my resume and practicing for interviews."

Kristen Myatt, a chemical engineering senior from Warminster, Pennsylvania, has actively engaged in multiple WEP leadership roles throughout the last four years including mentor and outreach leader. She was recognized as a "WEP Outstanding Facilitator" in her sophomore year and was selected to manage the Facilitated Study Group (FSG) initiative the last two years.

One nominator lauded, "Kristen automatically makes me feel at ease with her 'I believe in you' attitude and guiding hand. She is always willing to offer advice and always ends our conversations with, 'I know you can do this. You will be a great chemical engineer!'"

Another nominator noted, "I had the good fortune of being Kristen's WEPO mentor partner. She is tireless, dedicated, hardworking and still great fun!"

Two students were honored with the WEP Outstanding Facilitator Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of WEP academic facilitators who go above and beyond to engage their group members in meaningful enrichment to ensure success in each course.

The 2014-15 recipients are Erin Grills, a chemical engineering sophomore from Irwin, Pennsylvania, and Nichole Stoner, an industrial engineering junior from State College, Pennsylvania. Grills serves as WEP Academic Facilitator for multiple chemistry study groups; Stoner serves as WEP Academic Facilitator for calculus I and II study groups.

The WEP Outstanding Intern Coordinator Award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of a WEP coordinator who consistently performs at a measurably high level to ensure the success of her project.

This year's recipient, Kristen Myatt, leads 300-375 FSG first and second-year participants and coordinates more than 40 academic facilitators each semester.

Her nominator wrote, "Kristen has left a legacy of leadership in the College of Engineering that will be measured in confidence, self-efficacy and retention of women engineering undergraduates long after she has graduated."


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Stefanie Tomlinson




The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

119 Greenberg Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2574