Five young women in Engineering to watch 

March 8, 2017
    From left to right: Alyssia Jovellanos, Alison Bayzat, Marquise Kamanke, Carmen Bracho, and Andrea Obungen

In recognition of International Women's Day, which celebrates and recognizes the achievements of women, as well as promoting gender equality, McMaster Engineering is highlighting five top female student leaders. They are creative problem-solvers who are passionate about making a difference, breaking stereotypes, and bringing more diversity to engineering.

Dominating Digital

Name: Alyssia Jovellanos


Program: Computer Science

Why she’s one to watch: 

Emerging as a young tech leader, Alyssia is determined to show girls and other disadvantaged groups the importance of computer science. Alyssia was the winner of the 2016 Student of Vision ABIE Award presented by the Anita Borg Institute: a prestigious award honoring one student worldwide who is making a significant contribution to technology. Beyond this, Alyssia is the founder of the Women in Computing Society, the president of the McMaster Computer Science Society, and the co-founder/co-director of DeltaHacks–Canada’s first student-run Hackathon for Change.

Why did you choose engineering:
“Engineering solves the most impactful problems of our societies, whether it's detecting cancer or creating clean energy. Engineers get to both dream up solutions and actually make them.”

Why do we need more women in engineering:
Those who imagine and build technology should mirror the people and societies they build it for. Diversity of thought is crucial to meaningful innovation, and it's this innovation that ultimately drives the world forward.”

Breaking Barriers

Name: Alison Bayzat


Program: Electrical Engineering and Society, Minor in Computer Science

Why she’s one to watch:
As an ambassador and co-president for the student-led Women in Engineering, Alison is determined to break down barriers preventing young women from pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. She is also devoted to making a difference in the automotive industry; she is the project manager of the McMaster Engineering EcoCAR3 team–North America’s premier collegiate-level automotive engineering competition. Alison is the 2016 winner of the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation (CEMF) Engineering Ambassador Award, past director for Venture Engineering and Science, and past president and current VP social of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Society.

Why did you choose engineering:
When I was entering Grade 11, my mom encouraged me to try out biomedical engineering at McMaster University’s L.E.A.P Program, as I was interested in biology and was thinking about becoming a veterinarian. During my time at L.E.A.P., while I found out biomedical engineering wasn’t for me, I developed a strong interest computer science and electrical engineering through friends.”

Why do we need more women in engineering:
“I think it’s important to have a diverse group of people working together on any project, throughout both school and within industry. Having a team working collaboratively with different perspectives will introduce a higher level of creative thinking and problem solving.”

Name: Marquise Kamanke


Program: Chemical Engineering and Management

Why she’s one to watch:
Focused on exposing, and exploring the current energy issues relevant to the global economy, Marquise is passionate about pushing energy technologies to the next level. Her drive and ambition has lead her to form the McMaster Undergrad Energy Society focused on educating students about global energy issues, and to spearhead the creation of the student-run McMaster Energy Journal. Marquise is also the current vice president of the National Society of Black Engineers and recently received the Black Arts and Innovation Excellence award from Excelovate.

Why did you choose engineering:
“I developed a passion for sustainability and energy issues throughout my undergrad, which makes me want to problem solve every day and bring society closer to a clean post carbon economy.”

Why do we need more women in engineering:
“As problem solvers, what we identify as problem between men and women are completely different. Tapping into this widest range of creative thinkers and doers is a win-win for everyone. Without a diverse workforce of engineers, we will not get diverse answers to our engineering problems.”

Driving Change

Name: Carmen Bracho


Program: Mechanical Engineering and Management

Why she’s one to watch:
Driving change as a student leader in the automotive industry, Carmen is an accomplished student with a passion for innovation. In December 2016, Carmen was awarded the Alan Mulally Leadership in Engineering Scholarship from Ford Motor Company– a scholarship designed to support future leaders in STEM fields. She also earned the Shimco Scholarship for her exceptional leadership qualities, the Dr. Chris Bart Scholarship for obtaining the top sessional averaging entering Level 2 in any Engineering and Management Program, and is a member of the McMaster SAE Baja Racing team, which designs, builds, and tests off-road vehicles competing in racing competitions.

Why did you choose engineering:
“I have also always viewed success as the ability to make a positive impact to your community or in the lives of others, and Engineering seemed like a great pathway for making an impact.”

Why do we need more women in engineering:
“We need more women in Engineering to be able to capitalize from a broader community of creative thinkers and problem solvers to tackle some of today’s pressing problems.”

Seeing Clearly

Name: Andrea Obungen


Program: Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Why she’s one to watch:
As a student researcher focused on engineered treatments for eye diseases, Andrea worked as a Research Assistant in a chemical engineering lab alongside Heather Sheardown, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials. Andrea is also a GE Scholar-Leader award winner recognized for her leadership, volunteerism, and academic performance in the STEM fields. She is also the director of Campus Fundraising for Engineers Without Borders and student mentor for Women in Engineering.

Why she chose engineering:
“There are so many complex problems in the world that I believe we have the potential to solve and engineering gives us the toolbox needed to solve these issues.”

Why we need more women in engineering:
“In a profession that serves the world, we should have people of many backgrounds to better represent the world we live in. I think that as more women join this field, we will continue to gain the assurance that we belong and that we are capable, just as much as anyone with any other gender identity.”