Brown-Bag Series Celebrates Women in Engineering

December 01, 2008

December 3, 2008 β€” Pamela Norris, a professor in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, will be the semester's final speaker for the school's "Celebrating Women in Engineering" brown-bag lunch series.

The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in the Rodman Room of Thornton Hall. RSVP to Frances Hersey, associate director of the Center for Engineering Career Development, at

Offered through the career development center, the lunchtime talks provide an opportunity for Engineering School undergraduate and graduate women to meet in an informal setting with women who are engineering professionals.

"This series provides networking opportunities for our female students and provides them an opportunity to meet with women who are achieving at the highest level in the world of professional engineering," Hersey said. "We hope it will inspire them to do well and help create a sense of identity and community for our women engineers."

Asia Echard, a first-year engineering student, said she didn't know what to expect when she attended her first luncheon.

"I got some good ideas of what it’s like out there in the engineering world and made some good contacts," she said. "It made me feel like there was real support for women at the Engineering School."

Norris joined the U.Va. faculty in 1994. A native Virginian, she received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in 1992. Prior to joining U.Va., she served as a visiting scholar and visiting lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the founder and director of the U.Va. Microscale Heat Transfer Laboratory and the Aerogel Research Lab.

Previous speakers have included Gretchen Haffermehl, a senior manager in Deloitte's Technology Integration Division; Karen Druffel, a U.Va. alumna and principal in Deloitte Consulting; U.Va. alum Rita J. Schnipke, chief technology officer with Blue Ridge Numerics Inc.; and Elizabeth Sones, field engineer recruiter for Schlumberger.

The series started in September, thanks to a generous donation from Lockheed Martin. For a spring semester schedule, check the Engineering School calendar of events at or call 434-982-2344.