In honor of National Engineers Week (February 19-25), Business Insider has released its annual ranking of the most powerful women engineers in the U.S. technology industry.
Two Rensselaer alumnae—Cheryl Porro ’93, senior vice president, technology and products at Salesforce.org, and Casey Edgeton ’06, senior product designer at the health care startup Forward—have been named to Business Insider’s list of the “43 Most Powerful Female Engineers of 2017.”
According to the publication, “There are women who are leading important tech teams at important companies. And there are women who are building cool cutting-edge technologies at startups. In other words, there are women having fabulous careers as engineers, building the technology that millions of people use on a daily basis.”
The ranking includes American women who are developers, designers, engineering directors, bio scientists, nuclear scientists, and rocket scientists.
Porro (ranked No. 34) is senior vice president, technology and products, at Salesforce.org, an American cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco whose revenue comes from a customer relationship management (CRM) product. The company is known for its integrated corporate philanthropy model, called the 1-1-1 model, by which the company donates 1 percent of its equity, 1 percent of its employee time, and 1 percent of its product to improve communities around the world.
Edgeton (ranked No. 41) is the senior product designer at up-and-coming health care startup Forward. The article states that Forward aims to reinvent health care by giving patients a private doctor and an app that makes use of health tech, from body scans to DNA tests. Edgeton runs the design team at Forward. She was also one of Uber’s first designers, helping to develop the interface for its app.
Rensselaer marked an important milestone last fall when, for the first time in the Institute’s almost 200-year history, more than 1,000 women were enrolled in the School of Engineering’s undergraduate programs.
In an article in the Nov. 28, 2016, issue of the Albany Business Review, Rensselaer School of Engineering Dean Shekhar Garde said that the young women represent approximately 30 percent of the student body in engineering. Nationally, the average percentage of women enrolled in university engineering programs is about 21 percent.
“One-dimensional perspective is not going to be sufficient enough to solve these big problems, and this is where we need diversity of thought, diversity of ideas, and diversity of approaches to solve these problems,” Garde told the Business Review. “I think women bring that diversity to the table.”
Garde said having more women in engineering can help advance the field of engineering and solve societal problems.