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Student and Professional Leaders Collaborate at Joint Planning Conference for Diversity Focused Engineering and Science Chapters

Solar Turbines hosted the San Diego MESA Alliance’s Joint Planning Conference that brought student leaders and professionals together to network, collaborate and exchange ideas for improving math, engineering, and science education.  Both Solar Turbines and the San Diego MESA Alliance aim to increase the number of students to pursue academic and career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, increase retention in these disciplines, and promote opportunities in STEM career pathways.

“The MESA Joint Planning Conference is a great opportunity for industries such as Solar Turbines to view the great work students in under-represented engineering/STEM organizations offer both in their respective campuses and their exhibited leadership potential,” said Naomie Baptiste, Field Operations Engineer at Solar Turbines.

The 2014-2015 San Diego Region Joint Planning Conference for Diversity Focused Engineering and Science Chapters took place on Friday, August 1, 2014, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, at Solar Turbine’s Kearny Mesa location in San Diego, California.  Solar Turbines is headquartered in San Diego, with its products playing an important role in the development of oil, natural gas, and power generation projects around the world.

40 professionals from various industries and student leaders from San Diego State University, Cuyamaca College, San Diego City College, and Southwestern College attended the conference.

The following student and professional organizations were represented:

  1. American Medical Student Organization (AMSA)
  2. American Women in Sciences (AWIS)
  3. Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES)
  4. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
  5. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
  6. Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
  7. Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE)

Leaders and industry professionals collaborated to improve chapter effectiveness and communication, to promote leadership development, and provide valuable networking experience, with key contributions from Solar Turbines’ VP of Oil & Gas Ennodio Ramos, Director of Turbo-machinery Dan Campion, Director of Product Development Mike Fitzpatrick, Principal Design Engineer Wayne Shaw, Design Engineer Jasmine Sadler, and HR Recruiter Cecil Shelton.

SHPE professionals and San Diego MESA Alliance staff acted out skits that addressed issues of ethics, diversity, inclusion, and authority. In addition, a former student leader alumni panel fielded questions under the following topics: empowering others; responsibilities of officers; balance school, work, position and life; conflict resolution; and using your adviser.  The alumni panel consisted of:

  1. Naomie Baptiste, Field Operations Engineer at Solar Turbines
  2. Daisy Galeana, Metrology and Test Systems Software Engineer at Solar Turbines
  3. Victor Guzman, Software Engineer at ViaSat
  4. Jeremy Hamilton, Design Engineer at Solar Turbines
  5. Cynthia Hoffman, Transportation Engineer at Caltrans
  6. Veronica Alcantara Nunez, Senior Controls Engineer at Solar Turbines
  7. Asha Dziewinksi Pierce, Controls Design Engineer at Solar Turbines

“Attending the Joint Planning Conference was a great learning experience since we were presented with different aspects of leadership as well as issues that come with leadership from professionals in our field of studies,” said Southwestern College Mechanical Engineering major and SHPE Public Relations Officer Alexandra Arambula.

About Solar Turbines

Solar Turbines Incorporated, headquartered in San Diego, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc.  Solar manufactures the world’s most widely used family of mid-sized industrial gas turbines.  More than 12,000 Solar units are operating in 93 countries around the world.  Primary applications include electric power generation, oil and natural gas production and gas transmission.  More information is available at:

About Caterpillar

For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making progress possible and driving positive and sustainable change on every continent.  With 2007 sales and revenues of $44.958 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.  The company also is a leading services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services, Caterpillar Logistics Services and Progress Rail Services.  More information is available at:

Photo gallery courtesy Jose Islas:


Published in Joint Planning Conference MESA Activities