2016 Women of Color STEM Conference Award Winners

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Rosa Bushkuhl – Corporate Promotion of Education Winner

Rosa Bushkuhl – Corporate Promotion of Education Winner

Job Title: Project Engineer for New Business Development

Years with Consumers Energy: nearly 2 years

What are you being recognized for? Corporate Promotion of Education for my outreach activities with high school and college students. I have belonged to the Society of Women Engineers since college and serve in leadership roles conducting outreach to colleges and professionals. I also am the lead counselor for the U of M collegiate section and provide mentoring and leadership coaching. Recently I prepared and presented about our company’s efforts on renewable energy to the Detroit Area Precollege Education Program at MSU, U of M Society of Women Engineer’s Summer Engineering Exploration Camp, and Columbia Central High School program in Brooklyn, Michigan.

 

What inspired you to get involved in education and mentoring? I think I’ve always been interested in outreach. Growing up, I had great opportunities to explore my interests in math and science but recognize not everyone has access to the same resources I did. Engineering may sound hard, but can lead to a very fulfilling career with great variety in jobs and workplaces. I take pride in being a role model and showing what is possible to young women, especially underrepresented minorities, who may want to pursue STEM but face additional challenges.

What does this award mean to you? It means so much to be recognized for something I’m passionate about. I’m honored that my company and supervisor recognized these volunteer activities outside of my job and that it was important enough to them to recognize me and the other employees receiving awards at the conference. It encourages me to continue doing this kind of outreach going forward.

What advice would you give to women interested in STEM fields? Find your community; a supportive environment to discuss strengths, challenges and successes.


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Sydney Davis – Community Service – Industry Award Winner

Sydney Davis – Community Service – Industry Award Winner

Job Title: Systems Integration Specialist for Customer Experience Quality and Product Launch as of Oct. 1

Years with Consumers Energy: 4 years

What are you being recognized for? I have won two entrepreneurial competitions for a smart phone app called Giver that allows users to send money directly to a business for someone in need. I also founded a 501C3 nonprofit called Girls That Can to support and empower underrepresented girls who are interested in STEM education, and am a mentor for a Detroit-area pre-college engineering program, FIRST robotics, Society of Women Engineers and the Jackson Big Brother Big Sister program.

What inspired you to get involved in mentoring and technology? I have always been passionate about empowering young women and girls to be confident and invest in themselves through education and quality experiences.

What does this award mean to you? It confirms the work I’m doing through mentorship, volunteering and entrepreneurship is needed and valued. It drives me to keep going and to not take the work I’m doing for granted.

What advice would you give to women interested in STEM fields? Whatever you do within STEM, have an entrepreneurial mindset – stay innovative, treat your job like it’s your business and know there’s power in being a woman in STEM.


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Lori A. Fobes, P.E. – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Lori A. Fobes, P.E. – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Job Title: Director of Project Quality Management; Enterprise Project Management, Engineering & Services Dept.

Years with Consumers Energy: 30 years

What does winning the “Technology Rising Star” award mean to you? Being recognized by my peers with the Women of Color Technology Rising Star Award is truly an honor. This award is especially meaningful because helping women advance in the STEM fields is one of my passion

What advice do you have for women considering a career in STEM fields? Follow your passion. Find mentors, coaches and sponsors to help navigate your career labyrinth. Build yourself a support network. As you advance in your career, be a mentor, coach and advocate for those coming after you. You are blazing a trail for those women so be a good role model and pay it forward.


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Jennifer Smith – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Jennifer Smith – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Job Title: IT Project Leader II

Years with Consumers Energy: 11 years

What does winning the “Technology Rising Star” award mean to you? I could not be more proud to represent Consumers Energy by receiving the Technology Rising Star award. Being nominated by Consumers Energy leadership means that the company I work for supports me, recognizes that I love my job and sees that I want to leave it better than I found it.

What advice do you have for women considering a career in STEM fields? At a very young age my grandfather wanted me to learn about technology. He told me this field would take me far in life. He couldn’t have been more right.  I would tell other women to lean on their support system when times get tough.  There were times I didn’t know if Information Technology was for me but I remembered what my grandfather said and kept pushing myself.  Choosing a STEM field has definitely paid off.


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Navya G. Thota – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Navya G. Thota – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Job Title: BI/Analytics Analyst – IT Tech Analyst II

Years with Consumers Energy: 3 years

What does winning the “Technology Rising Star” award mean to you? It is a great recognition and I am very thrilled to receive it. It motivates me to challenge myself and achieve more success.

What advice do you have for women considering a career in STEM fields? Have confidence in your abilities and strive for success. It takes hard work and dedication to make a career. There are great role models in the industry along with educational resources to help along the way. Mentoring is a great way to learn more about a career in STEM as well as researching and reading about the field that interests you.


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Jianmei Chai – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Jianmei Chai – Technology Rising Star Award Winner

Job Title: Senior Information Security I

Years with Consumers Energy: 15 years

What does winning the “Technology Rising Star” award mean to you? I feel honored for being recognized for the work I do and very fortunate to be part of a great team. Each team member has helped me tremendously as we work through each project and task together.

What advice do you have for women considering a career in STEM fields? There is great potential in the STEM fields. Through innovation and engineering development, your work can provide benefits not only to your future company and customers, but also to many other areas and people that are close and far away.