Engineer and former Boise State University project manager Jude Garzolini has been honored by the prestigious Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for her broad contributions to the field of engineering – and specifically, her successful efforts to increase enrollment in Boise State’s STEM programs, as well as bolster retention numbers of female and minority students in the university’s engineering programs.
Garzonlini will accept her Fellow Grade award at the society’s annual conference held Oct. 27 in Austin, Texas.
In 2010, the university recruited Garzolini from Hewlett-Packard (HP) to head up efforts to increase student retention in these areas. The program ran until 2016.
“I am grateful to have had someone of Ms. Garzolini’s caliber providing her expertise in support of an externally funded National Science Foundation grant that focused on increasing the representation of women and underrepresented minority students, and their success in their first year enrolled in engineering programs,” explained Amy Moll, former dean of the College of Engineering. “Her program management background, her leadership experience for women in engineering and her willingness to move from industry to academia was the perfect confluence of expertise, timing and opportunity.”
As a result of Garzolini’s efforts, the NSF grant’s goal of increasing the number of STEM graduates by 22 percent was significantly exceeded – in fact, the number of STEM graduates nearly doubled in five years. Concurrently, the percentage of women enrolled in engineering and computer science programs increased by 22 percent and underrepresented minority students increased by 27 percent across the grant duration.
Garzolini is a chemical and materials engineer who managed projects and programs in both the electronics industry and in academia. She has over 35 years of experience working in the electronics, aerospace and automotive industries. She holds five patents related to laser printing on plastics and paper.
The Fellow award also recognizes Garzolini’s continuing dedication to SWE’s mission – striving to highlight the impact and importance of women in engineering across the globe, leading by example, and demonstrating that a career in engineering can be a fulfilling, rewarding pursuit for women of any background.
She continues to connect to women in technical fields by reaching out to the University of Virginia (UVA) engineering program in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she now resides. She is committed to encouraging women in all STEM fields to bring their whole selves to work, make a difference by participating in solving the complex problems of society, and mentoring the next generation of aspiring engineers and scientists.
“The individuals acknowledged in this year’s awards program have made a significant impact on their community as well as the engineering and technology community as a whole,” said Jonna Gerken, president of SWE. “These leaders are who make it possible to remain a catalyst for change as we work together to empower women in STEM and close the gender gap in engineering.”