SWE Awards


SWE Achievement Award Recipients

The SWE Achievement award is the highest award given by the Society of Women Engineers. It is presented annually to a woman engineer for outstanding contributions over a significant period of time in any field of engineering.

Year Recipient Award Citation Innovations and Contributions
2022 Tina M. Nenoff, Ph.D. For groundbreaking research in nanoporous materials; and for instilling in others the ethics and integrity for guiding future discoveries in chemistry and chemical engineering. Internationally recognized for the design and synthesis of robust nanoporous materials for radiological cleanup, including crystalline silicotitanates with ultrahigh selectivity for radioactive cesium commercialized for U.S. nuclear waste sites and later incorporated into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident cleanup.
2021 Qian Lin, Ph.D. For pioneering contributions in digital imaging and computer vision; and for building a bridge between research and technology with inventions that will continue to revolutionize the print and personal computing experience. Leads research and development in the areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and deep learning, including for HP Pixel Intelligence, an analytics engine for understanding visual information to improve image quality and ultimately simplify the user experience.
2020 Jayshree Seth, Ph.D. For visionary, sustainability-focused contributions to adhesives, release, and fastener technologies; for creating, championing, and teaching new methodologies for product and technology development; and for deeply influential STEM advocacy. Instrumental in developing environmentally-friendly products for 3M’s core platforms, including the elimination of solvent from packaging tapes, formulation of pressure-sensitive adhesives that adhere to recycled corrugated boxes, and increasing bio-based content.
2019 Not Awarded
2018 Jacqueline Chen, Ph.D. For pioneering research in computational combustion modeling; for harnessing the power of computers to advance the discipline; and for service both to science and the scientific community. Research in the development and application of massively parallel direct numerical simulations (DNS) to study the fundamental turbulence-chemistry interactions underlying advanced, fuel efficient, clean-burning engines and gas turbines.
2017 Frances H. Arnold, Ph.D. For discovering and applying directed evolution; creating a paradigm shift in bioengineering; and for an inspiring career of accomplishments in research, mentoring, and tech transfer. Pioneered enzyme evolution methods or “directed evolution" for pharmaceutical and chemical products, and research on the creation of new enzymes using synthetic biology for application in medicine, chemicals, consumer products, environmental biotechnology, and biofuels.
2016 Stephanie Watts Butler, Ph.D., P.E. For game-changing scientific and technical innovations in the

semiconductor industry, particularly energy solutions; and for the ability to manage unfamiliar complexities, resulting in sustained contributions to research, engineering, and managerial leadership.

Innovations in semiconductor process control, technology

and package development, and research and new product development, including 700-volt transistor technology enabling semiconductor products for zero standby power solutions to conserve power wasted by chargers in standby mode.

2015 Naira Hovakimyan, Ph.D. For advancing a new control methodology with far-reaching

applications and for pioneering contributions to the field of robust adaptive controls in aeronautics and aviation.

Advancements in open problems mathematical control theory and their role in safety-critical applications, including flight testing and validation of L1 adaptive control architecture in stall and post-stall flight regimes of a subscale commercial jet by NASA Langley Research Center’s AirSTAR facility.
2014 Frances Mazze Hurwitz, Ph.D. For pioneering work in the development of materials suited for space exploration, for exceptional team leadership across disciplines, and for opening the way to a more equitable work environment. Spearheaded NASA’s development of aerogels for use at temperatures above 700 degrees Celsius, establishing techniques for fabricating composites for entry, descent and landing, and space power systems.
2013 Eve Sprunt, Ph.D. For game-changing contributions to the petroleum industry, to the science and practice of geoscience and petroleum engineering, and to the advancement of women engineers. Breakthrough research in oilfield core testing techniques, including CT scanning, formation evaluation, and the interaction of natural and induced fractures in hydraulic fracturing.
2012 Yildiz Bayazitoglu, Ph.D. For charting new territory for women in mechanical engineering and for creating novel solutions to both theoretical and practical problems in thermal science. Leading researcher in radiation, convective heat and phase-change heat transfer, electromagnetic levitation and melting, nanophotonics, bioheat transfer and thermal design, and analytical and numerical modeling for engineering applications such as the photothermal cancer therapy process and liquid oxygen tank thermal stratification problems on the space shuttle.
2011 Christina H. Amon, Sc.D. For groundbreaking contributions to the field of fluid mechanics and heat transfer; for achievements in integration of practice, research, and education; and for active commitment to gender in engineering. Advanced engineering science and had a positive impact on diverse manufacturing processes including deposition and microcasting; thermal management of electronics packages, especially wearable electronics; biological problems such as blood flow in aneurysms and tissue engineering; and microscale and nanoscale transport phenomena applied to electronics cooling.
2010 Chieko Asakawa, Ph.D. For challenging conventional ideas about how people with visual impairments use technology and for pioneering research and technical advances in Internet accessibility. Leader in the field of information technology (IT) accessibility for persons with disabilities, the elderly, and others with special needs; developed numerous technologies to improve internet accessability for people with low vision.
2009 Aslaug Haraldsdottir, Ph.D. Accomplishments in and significant contributions to air traffic management, communication, navigation, and surveillance system design, greatly influencing the future worldwide air traffic management system. Pioneering work in fast-time modeling and simulation; identified need to incorporate human and subsystem performance in airspace models.
2008 Melanie Cole, Ph.D. Pioneering research contributions, experimental creativity, and innovation in developing a fundamental understanding of the complex relationships between the structures, processing, and properties in thin film electronic materials. Responsible for research programs to develop electronic materials, including thin film ferroelectrics; shape memory alloys; piezoelectrics; III-V and wide bandgap semiconductors; and metallization technologies; holds multiple patents.
2007 Pamela Kay Strong, Ph.D. Exhibiting world-class leadership in non-metallic technology and pioneering the use of non-metallic composites, which revolutionized the aerospace industry. Provided all technical and design support for nonmetallic manufacturing processes and material parameters used in the B-1B Bomber, Delta rocket structure and motors, Titan, and Space Shuttle; developed first composite jet engine vanes good to 700 degrees Fahrenheit; helped convert the jet engine to 67.5 percent composites in 3 years.
2006 Elaine S. Oran, Ph.D. Pioneering a computational technology that unifies engineering, scientific, and mathematical disciplines into a methodology for solving reactive flow problems. Invented and implemented algorithms and computational methods for accurate numerical simulations of reactive flows; her work on deflagration-to detonation process solved major problem in combustion theory.
2005 Bonnie J. Dunbar, Ph.D. Visionary contributions ranging from ceramic shuttle-tile design to biomedical research; for efforts benefiting astronautics, humankind, and the future scientists and engineers she inspires. Developed ceramic shuttle tiles; established tile manufacturing process; mission control guidance and navigation officer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center; played key role in five space flights.
2004 Kristina M. Johnson, Ph.D. Significant contributions to optoelectronic processing systems and liquid crystal devices. Leading researcher and expert in optics, optoelectronic switching, and display technology; holds more than 40 patents. Member of National Academy of Engineering, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee.
2003 Mitra Dutta, Ph.D. Pioneering research in novel heterostructure optoelectric and electronic devices. Groundbreaking research on optical characterization of semiconductor heterostructures; leader in establishing important Army research programs in electronics and optoelectronics; holds more than 20 patents.
2002 Umit Ozkan, Ph.D. Outstanding accomplishments as an internationally recognized and highly respected researcher in heterogeneous catalysis; as an excellent engineering educator; as a dedicated leader in higher education and in professional societies; and as a true trailblazer in every aspect of her professional life. Research in heterogeneous catalysis with many applications in environmental protection.
2001 Judith A. Clapp For significant contributions to technologies for managing the development and acquisition of large-scale command and control systems and establishing software engineering as a discipline. Developed first automated aids for writing and testing software for large scale, real time command and control computer system; led development of one of first generalized computer database management systems; presided over application of artificial intelligence for space shuttle launch preparation.
2000 F. Suzanne Jenniches In recognition of outstanding leadership in manufacturing innovation and for setting the highest standards of excellence in producibility engineering Exceptional versatility in application of engineering skills; led operations for offensive radar for B-1B Bomber; produced first electronically scanned antenna for production aircraft in the world.
1999 Shirley E. Schwartz, Ph.D. In recognition of outstanding contributions to lubrication technology, development of environmentally friendly products, conservation of non-renewable natural resources, and significant achievements in promoting awareness of technical professions. Developed patented device that tells drivers when engine oil should be changed; researched effects of alternative fuels on engines; development of non-ozone-depleting refrigerants.
1998 Lisa C. Klein, Ph.D. For breakthrough contributions in sol-gel science and engineering, particularly sol-gel applications in electrolytes, electrochromics, membranes and nanocomposites. Researched synthesis and processing of ceramics using sol-gel process; holds three patents on electrochromic coatings.
1997 Ilene J. Busch-Vishniac, Ph.D. For outstanding achievements in acoustics, transducers, and microautomation, and for significant contributions to engineering education. Led efforts on 9 U.S. patents for sensors for teleconferencing, blood pressure monitoring, miniaturized microphones, and optical position detection.
1996 Barbara Liskov, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the field of computer system design, in particular, the development of data abstraction and object-oriented programming. Researched Venus operating system; developed data abstraction concept and CLU programming language; researched Argus distributed programming language and operating system; invented many practical distributed algorithms.
1995 Manijeh Razeghi, Ph.D. For leadership and contributions to optoelectronic devices research and education. Holds 32 patents; initiated design and implementation of epitaxial growth techniques; developed semiconductor structures for advanced photonic and electronic devices; pioneered growth of (Ga,In)(As,P) based structures.
1994 Elsa Garmire, Ph.D. For breakthrough contributions in optical science and engineering, particularly in non-linear optics. Discovered and explained key features of simulated light scattering and self-focusing.
1993 Elsa Reichmanis, Ph.D. For the design, synthesis, scale-up, and process engineering of new polymer resist systems useful for manufacturing integrated circuits. Development and commercialization of photo-resist polymers for deep-UV photolithography; holds 10 U.S. patents.
1992 Evangelia Micheli-Tzanakou, Ph.D. For outstanding contributions to the understanding and modeling of visual systems with neural networks. Applied neural networks to engineering in medicine and biology; developed a set of algorithms for modeling the visual system.
1991 Julia Weertman, D.Sc. For pioneering research on the failure of materials at elevated temperatures. Developed and experimentally confirmed the theory of grain boundary cavitation; pioneered materials characterization by small-angle neutron scattering.
1990 Lynn Conway For essential contributions to very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuit and system design methodology, and for rapid propagation of the new innovations throughout the engineering community. Helped develop superscaler computer architecture; pioneered development of simplified methods for VLSI chip design, which fueled Silicon Valley’s chip design revolution; invented “dynamic instruction scheduling,” fundamental to modern computer architecture.
1989 Doris Kulhmann-Wilsdorf, D.Sc., Ph.D. For foundational and preeminent contributions to our understanding of the mechanical behavior of solids. Clarified plastic deformation of solids through concepts of crystalline defects; named 2001 Christopher J. Henderson Inventor of the Year; holds 12 patents related to microfiber electrical brushes, which improve engine performance.
1988 Roberta Nichols, Ph.D. For worldwide leadership in promoting the use of alternative fuels in transportation vehicles. Led development of alternative fuel vehicles at Ford; holds 3 patents for flex fuel vehicles; helped launch California Energy Commission.
1987 Nance K. Dicciani, Ph.D. For outstanding research management leading to the creation of important new industrial products. Directed development of technologies, including a catalyst for production of benzene from coke and a product for recovery of landfill gas; served as CEO and board member of several large corporations.
1986 Yvonne C. Brill For important contributions in advanced auxiliary propulsion of spacecraft and devoted service to the growing professionalism of women in engineering. Derived first industry standard to assess rocket propellant performance; advanced propulsive capabilities through integration of R&D concepts; invented Electrothermal Hydrazine Thruster (EHT/Resistojet) to keep sattelites in orbit; received prestigious John Fritz Medal and National Medal of Technology and Innovation for advances in engineering.
1985 Y.C.L. Susan Wu, Ph.D. For fundamental research in electro fluid dynamics of MHD and outstanding service as educator and administrator. Administered Energy Conversion R&D programs at Univ. of Tennessee Space Institute; founded ERC, a scientific and engineering services company with 900 employees.
1984 Geraldine V. Cox, Ph.D. For significant contributions in the field of environmental management, in particular water


Developed policy for chemical industry in energy, toxic substances, health and safety, and transport of hazardous materials.
1983 Joan B. Berkowitz, Ph.D. For significant contributions in the field of hazardous waste management. Pioneered alternatives to landfilling hazardous waste; wrote definitive U.S. EPA handbook on hazardous waste management; founded her own environmental consulting firm.
1982 Harriett B. Rigas, Ph.D. For significant contributions in the fields of electrical engineering and computer technology. Enabled automatic patching system for an analog/hybrid computer; founded computer engineering program at Washington State University.
1981 Thelma Estrin, Ph.D. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of biomedical engineering, in particular neurophysiological research through application of computer science. Pioneered application of engineering to medicine; designed first system for analog-digital conversion of electrical activity from the nervous system; directed data processing laboratory at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute; helped design Israel’s first computer, the WEIZAC.
1980 Carolyn M. Preece, Ph.D. For significant contributions to research and education in materials science and metallurgy. Started research programs on cavitation erosion of metals and alloys for NSF and Office of Naval Research; studied surface modification of materials by ion implantation and laser processing for Bell Labs.
1979 Jessie G. Cambra For outstanding contributions to the planning, design, and construction of major public works. Managed Alameda County, California road department; designed and supervised first successful highway construction project in California; designed first computerized traffic signal at a major arterial intersection in California.
1978 Giuliana Cavaglieri Tesoro, Ph.D. For significant contributions to the science and technology of polymers, fibers, and fabrics in textile and chemical engineering. Developed flame-resistant fibers and anti-static chemical for synthetic fibers; holds over 100 patents for organic compounds and textile processing.
1977 Mildred Spiewak Dresselhaus, Ph.D. For significant contributions in teaching and research in solid state electronics and materials engineering. Pioneering studies in superconductivity, carbon science, thermoelectricity, and physics at the nanometer scale.
1976 Ada I. Pressman In recognition of her significant contributions in the field of power control systems engineering. Developed emergency safety systems for fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants.
1975 Sheila E. Widnall, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the fluid mechanics of low speed aircraft and hydrofoils. Advanced understanding of helicopter rotor blade aerodynamics, unsteady loads on high-speed trains, and breakup and decay of aircraft wave vortices; holds three patents in airflow technology; designed MIT’s advanced wind tunnel facility.
1974 Barbara Crawford Johnson In recognition of her significant engineering contributions in support of manned spaceflight programs. Worked with NASA on lunar landing, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz programs.
1973 Irene Carswell Peden, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions in the fields of radio wave propagation research and electrical engineering education. Significant research about radio propagation and the polar ionosphere, buried antennae, electromagnetic properties of the ice sheets, and radio propagation over long paths in polar regions.
1972 Nancy D. Fitzroy In recognition of her significant contributions to the fields of heat transfer, fluid flow, properties of materials and thermal engineering. Invented thermal chip to measure temperature in integrated circuits; invented thermal protection system for use in U.S. early warning system.
1971 Alva T. Matthews Solomon, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the fie!d of engineering mechanics and applied mathematics in the area of shock analysis, elasticity and structural design. Influenced development of models for wave propagation in soil and rocks; advanced solutions of acoustic fluidstructure interaction problems.
1970 Irmgard Flügge-Lotz, Ph.D. For her significant contributions to the field of fluid mechanics, in particular, wing theory and boundary layer theory. Computation of wing-lift distributions.
1969 Alice Stoll In recognition of her significant contributions in the development of fire-resistant fibers and

fabrics, based on her pioneering studies of heat transfer by flame contact.

Did pioneering studies of heat transfer by flame contact; invented apparatus to analyze heat transfer by flame contact.
1968 Isabella L. Karle, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the development of unique procedures for crystal structure analysis. Used electron and X-ray diffraction to study the structure of molecules.
1967 Marguerite M. Rogers, Ph.D. For her outstanding contributions to the field of air-delivered tactical weapons. Instrumental in changing U.S. Navy emphasis on nuclear weapons to improved conventional weapons.
1966 Dorothy Martin Simon, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to space engineering, especially in the fields of combustion and ablative coatings. Isolated an isotope of calcium using kinetic theory; developed a process to manufacture predecessor of Orlon.
1965 Martha J. B. Thomas, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the science of chemistry, as an engineer, educator, and administrator, while fulfilling her duties as a wife and mother. Developed natural white phosphor for improved fluorescent lights.
1964 Grace Murray Hopper, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the burgeoning computer industry as an engineering manager and originator of automatic programming systems. Designed the first English language compiler system, later part of COBOL; pushed for development of userfriendly computers and English-language compilers, opening the way for modern data processing.
1963 Beatrice Hicks In recognition of her significant contributions to the theoretical study and analysis of sensing devices under extreme environmental conditions, and her substantial achievements in international technical understanding, professional guidance and engineering education. Invented gas density switch; pioneered design, development, and manufacture of aircraft gas and pressure density controls.
1962 Laurence Delisle Pellier In recognition of her significant contributions to the field of metallurgy. Researched construction metals for chemical manufacturing plants; developed technique for applying electron microscopy to metallurgical problems; holds patent for gold plating surgical needles.
1961 Laurel van der Wal In recognition of her significant contributions to the developing field of space biology. Originated Project MIA study of physiological effects of space flight on mice in U.S. rockets; worked on escape and recovery systems and the design of manned spacecraft.
1960 Esther M. Conwell, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions as a research physicist in the field of solid state research. Research in electrical properties of semiconductors contributed to improved transistors; founding member, Committee of Women in Physics.
1959 Désirée le Beau, Ph.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the field of rubber reclamation. Patented method of producing reclaimed rubber in particulate form and for reclamation using amines and acids; developed rubber tie pad for railroads.
1958 Mabel MacFerran Rockwell In recognition of her significant contributions to the field of electrical control systems. Invented Serjdetour telephone protector; designed electrical control system for Polaris missile launcher.
1957 Rebecca H. Sparling In recognition of meritorious contributions to high temperature metallurgy and nondestructive testing of metals. Prepared first book on malleable iron structures to be written in U.S. in 20 years.
1956 Elise F. Harmon In recognition of her significant contributions to the area of component and circuit miniaturization. Micro-miniaturizations of printed circuitry components; devised engine generator refinement that enabled WWII U.S. fighter planes to fly above 15,000 feet; developed new methodology for producing printed circuitry
1955 Margaret H. Hutchinson Rousseau, Sc.D. In recognition of her significant contributions to the field of chemical engineering. Designed processes for first large-scale production of penicillin; improved refinement of crude oil.
1954 Edith Clarke In recognition of her many original contributions to stability theory and circuit analysis. In early 1920s invented “graphical calculator” for solving electric power transmission problems; introduced use of hyperbolic functions to calculate power line’s transmission capacity.
1953 Elsie Gregory MacGill In recognition of her meritorious contributions to aeronautical engineering. Designed Maple Leaf Trainer II pilot training plane; adapted WWII Hawker Hurricane fighter plane for cold weather flight; transformed a railway boxcar plant into an aircraft factory in WWII.
1952 Mária Telkes, Ph.D. In recognition of her meritorious contributions to the utilization of solar energy. 20 patents for solar devices; portable solar still for converting salt water to fresh water; chemical process for storing solar energy; solar oven.