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Four women are sitting at the front of a classroom at a long table with a powerpoint presentation being projected on two screens behind them. There is a small crowd of female students sitting at desks in rolling chairs listening to the women.

Students in the Aggie Women in Computer Science (AWICS) organization at Texas A&M University hosted the ninth annual AWICS leadership workshop on Friday, April 6.

At the event, sponsored by Chevron, female leaders from academia and industry participated in two panels, as well as a lunch with activities and discussion. The panels centered on leadership and how to make an impact in the workplace.

“One of the most important components of a successful career is about interacting with colleagues,” said Diane Uwacu, AWICS graduate president. “As women training for a career in tech, it is important to hear from women in leadership. We learned about how we can prepare for leadership roles while in college, as well as the kind of impact that we can have. My favorite part of the event was hearing guests answer questions with examples from their personal stories. Apart from the incredibly inspiring success stories, they shared about the hard times in their journey, which showed us that failures make for better success stories in the long run.”

Panelists included Tammy McNeley ‘84, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Fellow; Dr. Theodora Chaspari, computer science and engineering assistant professor; and Dr. Dilma Da Silva, department head, professor, holder of the Ford Motor Company Design Professorship II and interim deputy director of the Texas A&M Institute of Data Science. Dr. Nancy M. Amato, Regents and Unocal Professor, served as the moderator.

McNeley serves as chief engineer of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Warfare Integration Laboratories, including F-35 and Advanced Development Program facilities, and as the corporate modeling and simulation ead for Next Generation Platform Initiatives. She has 35 years of experience in military operations analysis, human-in- the-loop experimentation, and modeling and simulation. She is also certified as an expert systems engineering professional by the International Council on Systems Engineering. McNeley is one of three female fellows at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and is very involved in STEM activities in schools and through Girls Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Texas A&M in 1984.

“Through mentoring workshops, students have the opportunity to identify areas in which they can be leaders here and now,” Da Silva said. “As they continue to grow in technical knowledge through their courses, they can also strive to make their workplace better by learning from those who can offer invaluable leadership experience.”