meet the team
Christine studied Biomedical Engineering and Global Health at Duke University where she graduated as a distinguished Grand Challenges of Engineering scholar for her thesis research on the development of breast cancer screening devices for the developing world and her work in Tanzania where she studied and worked as a biomedical technician in a rural hospital. Christine started her career at Cigna in July 2015 as an associate of the Technology Early Career Development Program. Christine has a dedicated passion for healthcare as well as for utilizing technology to improve the healthcare of others, and she channels this passion through alongside her team as an innovation specialist for the Software Engineering and Innovation Team. Outside of work, Christine loves tutoring Hartford area students and managing the non-profit organization Girls Engineering Change, of which she is the Founder and CEO. Girls Engineering Change, awarded by President Clinton as an outstanding commitment to action, was started by Christine in 2012 with a focus on allowing girls to gain interest in engineering by showing them how the can change the world through engineering fields. Christine also maintains her commitment to helping inspire younger students as a Clinton Global Initiative University student mentor.
Executive Vice President
Dutch Waanders graduated from Duke University in 2015 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Since then, he has worked at a small company in Cleveland called GenomOncology, which develops software products to ease the analysis of genetic data for the treatment of cancer. Dutch first got involved with Girls Engineering Change in the spring of 2012, and was a volunteer at the first ever GEC workshop. Since then, he has worked towards expanding the organization so that it can help more girls change the world through engineering.
Director of Brand and Business Strategy
Leah graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2015 with a degree in Human and Organizational Development and Economics. She now works in advertising strategy in New York City, helping healthcare and wellness brands communicate effectively with their desired audiences in order to drive business results and, more importantly, improve health outcomes. Passionate about the mission of Girls Engineering Change, she was thrilled to get involved with the organization in early 2016 and gets so much joy from building strategy and communications in order to reach, impact, and inspire more and more girls. Outside of work and GEC, Leah loves to explore NYC, travel, dance, and cook.
Director of Finance
Melina Smith studied biomedical engineering at Duke University and graduated in 2015. While at Duke, she helped establish Girls Engineering Change's first chapter by planning workshops and developing relationships with university and community partners. Melina has worked as a Research Associate at Duke for the past two years, leading a research project on brain stimulation. She also works as Senior Producer of Multimedia for The Monti, a non-profit organization that fosters community by showcasing stories from Durham and Chapel Hill residents. Although it departs from her background, Melina is captivated by the growing dialogue between the humanities and medicine. She is currently applying to medical school.
Director of Program Expansion
Karmyn McKnight graduated from Duke in 2015 with degrees in biomedical engineering and electrical & computer engineering. In her time at Duke, she developed curricula and activities for GEC workshops, and also enjoyed building sets for musical theater and performing with the Duke Irish dance team. She now lives in Irvine, CA, where she works as a manufacturing engineer at Endologix, developing processes for the production of endovascular devices. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and training for triathlons.
Director of University and Community Outreach
Ashley joined GEC in 2013 as the Chief of Outreach, and through this role works to expand GEC across college campuses and establish community partnerships. She graduated with a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke in 2016. After graduation, Ashley moved to Boston to work for Deloitte Consulting on IT implementations in the healthcare industry. In her free time she enjoys running and hiking and exploring Boston. She is also very excited about introducing GEC to the Northeast!
what we stand for
Through mentorship, we inspire confidence in the next generation of young women to leverage unbound potential for a better future.
We strive to create solidarity between everyone we touch through our organization, for we are all united in our goal to create a better world.
We meet each and every challenge and participant with excitement and drive for the sake of our mission and purpose.
We operate transparently and act with genuine passion and enthusiasm in our work to make a true difference in the world.
This organization is based on our ability to make a difference in the lives of others - on an individual and worldly basis.
WE ENVISION A WORLD WHERE GIRLS CAN SEE THEMSELVES MAKING AN IMPACT THROUGH ENGINEERING
A WORD ABOUT US
Shattering the norm
Female underrepresentation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields continues to be a major source of concern in the United States and across the globe. From a young age, girls are pushed toward traditional female roles and activities while being told that science and math are "for the boys." Universities filled with male-dominated science and math classrooms fail to offer sufficient support structures to inspire females to pursue an engineering major. By the time college students are ready to graduate and enter the workforce, only a quarter of the engineering field is female, with fields such as petroleum engineering as low as 9%. Intimidation, gender norms, and other social pressures against girls who show an interest in science-related topics steer most females away from STEM fields and into traditional fields "for women."
It is this perception of STEM fields as a "man's job" that Girls Engineering Change strives to correct. Through early exposure, sustained mentorship, and a unique, impact-based approach, GEC hopes to provide a platform to get females interested in engineering and keep them interested through continuing sessions, mentorship, and leadership.