Spring 2012 Conference Chairs


Letia Blanco: Conference Director

Letia Blanco, Conference Director

Letia Blanco is a Mechanical Engineer at Raytheon working on the Multi Function Radio Frequency System. Her previous work on infrared sights earned her an Individual Achievement Award and led to a publication in the Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention.

Letia graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington where she was named a Top 1% University Scholar. The senior design team she led was named the winner of the ASM International Engineering Design Competition. She was invited to present her work at the Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference and she was published in the International Journal of Medical Devices and Implants.

Letia is the Vice President of the Dallas Society of Women Engineers, the Community Service Manager for the Dallas section of Women in Technology International and the Outreach Coordinator for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, DFW chapter. She has planned many different events and community service projects. For example, this past fall, she organized a donation drive benefitting The Family Place that collected more than 2,291 items.

Letia loves to travel with her husband Charles. They spent two months in Thailand completing 14 scuba dives, spending a week living in a rock climbing village and trekking through the forests of the northern mainland. They have also backpacked through Egypt and much of South America and she looks forward to many great trips in the future!

Jennifer Vilbig: Sponsorship Chair

Jennifer Vilbig, Sponsorship

Jennifer Vilbig, EIT is a Civil Engineer at Vilbig & Associates in Dallas. Her varied experience includes site design on global projects ranging from dormitories and warehouses to aircraft hangers and even gas compressor stations. She has also worked on several pipeline projects that included the design of over 30 horizontal directional drills up to 5000′ in length. She expects to take the PE examination in October. Prior to working for Jacobs, She worked for CH2M Hill in the Industrial Client Group working on a variety of oil pipeline and terminal projects. Jennifer graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.

In addition to currently serving as the Dallas Society of Women Engineers Section President, Jennifer served as Section Representative for one year and Vice President of Membership for the two years. Since 2008, She has actively mentored the Southern Methodist University Student Section of SWE by serving as their professional advisor. She was also on the planning committee for both the 2010 & 2013 SWE Region C Conferences.

Jennifer is native of Dallas who attended the Texas Academy of Math & Science at the University of North Texas, an early entrance college program for high school juniors and seniors. She enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and golden retriever lab mix, Bella. In her spare time, Jennifer also volunteers with American Society of Civil Engineers and the North Texas Georgia Tech Alumni Association.

Lauren Frankel: Opening Session

Lauren Frankel, Opening Session

Lauren Frankel is an Engineering Estimator at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Tx.

Lauren is a recent graduate of Texas Tech University where she earned her bachelors degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. At Texas Tech, Lauren was an active member and officer of the collegiate SWE chapter as well as a member of ASME. She participated in all SWE outreach events, volunteer opportunities, and study abroad.


Perla Gonzalez: Speaker & Tours

Perla Gonzalez, Speakers & Tours

Perla J Gonzalez, an Engineering Intern for Triumph Accessory Services, has just been integrated into the company just a few months ago but has quickly become an asset for the company.

She is currently pursuing her degree in Aerospace Engineering with a double minor in Mechanical Engineering and Mexican-American Studies at UT Arlington. During her time at UTA she has actively participated in The Society of Women Engineers for 2 years and serving as Engineering Student Council Representative and currently serving as Vice President for her section. She is also involved in The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and serves as their Fundraising Chair. Since moving from the El Paso/Juarez region she has become a HENAAC/Great Minds in Stem Scholar, a NASA Johnson Space Center Scholar and a Louis Stokes for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholar. She is well traveled and has had the opportunity to obtain a study abroad experience at The Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic. She plans to continue in pursuit of her dreams and would like to empower future generations of women to do so also.

Thania Balcazar: Activities

Thania S Balcazar, Embedded S/W Engineer @ Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Thania Balcazar is a May 2011 graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington, completing a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering with a Minor in Mechanical Engineering (Latin Honors).

As an undergraduate, Balcazar worked at the Aerodynamics Research Center (ARC) as an undergraduate research assistant. Her first project at the ARC was developing and testing a high-speed valve for gas injection into a continuous detonation wave engine. She has also worked on a test facility design to study the interaction between homogeneous isotropic turbulence and shock or detonation waves. Her last project was the refurbishment of the UTA transonic ludwieg tunnel. She was also the Aerospace Engineering student ambassador for the College of Engineering.

After three internships with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Thania joined the company as a full time employee in June 2011. She is currently working on her Masters of Science in Systems Engineering at Southern Methodist University and in the future, wants to pursue an MBA.

Besides SWE, she is also an active member of The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In her free time, Thania enjoys reading, community outreach, soccer, following politics, public speaking, and spending quality time with family.

Amy Pickup: Marketing & Registraion

Amy Pickup, Advertising & Registration

Amy Pickup is a Technical Analyst at JP Morgan and is currently working on her MA in Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas at Dallas. She holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas also. She is currently working on developing an outreach program that encourages girl’s interest in STEM through the construction of Arduino projects.

She joined SWE UTD early in her college career and has served in many different roles, ranging from Membership Chair to President of the chapter. She served as Conference Chair for the SWE Region C Conference 2010 and is dedicated to helping promote females in technology fields.

When she’s not working or doing cool Arduino projects, she’s out either riding her bike, running around the lake, cooking or taking pictures of things.

Mistie Sulko: Facilities

Mistie Sutko is a Program Planner in NCS Program Leadership and has been with Raytheon for 4 years.

Mistie joined Raytheon Women’s Network 2 years ago to network with other women in the company and to get more involved in the community outreach programs. She is currently serving as the Starpoint to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

She has been married to her wonderful husband, Matt, for 13 years and they have two daughters who are 10 and 11 years old. She is one proud mommy and enjoys anything that her kids are doing. She coaches her oldest daughters volleyball team, volunteers with the PTA and the Staley Middle School Orchestra Organization.

She is heavily involved in Destination Imagination, as a third year team manager, and loves to bake cakes with her girls. She is also a student at Dallas Baptist University and is working on her MBA in Program Management.


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