We are very excited to have such a great panel of women speaking at our Annual Meeting next weekend! Thank you Sonya Dillard Kathy Herring Hayashi and Ebonee Walker, Ph.D. for taking the time to share your experiences with our members. r5conferences.org

Local IEEE members who are not attending the full conference can register to attend the WIE and YP Panels Saturday afternoon, as well as the Etta Kappa Nu Professional Induction Ceremony. Registration for these events is free, but required.

Employed by NASA for 33 years, Sonya Dillard is an ambassador for both Space and the IEEE. Dillard holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and an MS in Project Management at Florida Institute of Technology. Dillard currently supports the Human Landing System (HLS), aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis Missions, which will launch the first woman and the first person of color to the moon.  As the Planetary Protection and Orbital Debris Discipline Team Lead for NASA/MSFC, she helps to ensure that safety requirements are valid, verified and give strict limitations on contamination. Dillard has received Distinguished Performance, along with the Teamwork Award, NASA Silver Achievement Medal, NASA Silver Snoopy Award, and IEEE awards for Outstanding Engineer (2008), and Outstanding Service (2001, 2015 and 2022). Dillard has continuously supported community with space awareness and STEM student pipeline by hosting engineering events and encouraging IEEE membership as an ambassador for technical leadership.

Kathy Hayashi has been involved in the semiconductor industry her entire career — developing, deploying, and analyzing advanced software tools used to create computer and mobile phone chips. At Unisys, she was on the team that created one of the first Sperry mainframes on a chip using custom software. She has since worked for Cadence Design Systems and Syntricity, a local startup. She is now at Qualcomm, working with semiconductor workflows in large-scale compute environments. She is currently the IEEE Director of Region 6 (Western Region of the United States) and a member of the IEEE Board of Directors. She is a senior member of IEEE and IEEE-HKN (IEEE Honor Society). Kathy has held a variety of leadership roles in technical development, applications engineering and information technology.   She currently works at Qualcomm Inc., working with semiconductor workflows in large scale compute environments. Kathy is on the Executive Board for the San Diego Dance Theater and has been on Technical Advisory Boards for local community colleges.  She is also a member of a San Diego Athena Forum for Executive Women.

Dr. Ebonee Walker is a Materials Engineer in the Technology Development Directorate, U.S. Army DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center. She currently leads the destructive physical analysis of microelectronics program to assess quality for missile systems. Dr. Walker participated in the DoD Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program in Germany where she worked at the Bundeswehr’s Materials, Fuels, and Lubricants Lab. Prior to joining the government, she was a Research Assistant in the Vanderbilt University Thermal Engineering Lab and the Fisk University Nanoscale Sensors and Materials Group. Dr. Walker is a past Section Chair of the IEEE Huntsville Section and immediate past Section Treasurer. Dr. Walker is currently Region 3’s Women in Engineering Coordinator. Dr. Walker earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Materials Science from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Physics from Fisk University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, where she graduated as valedictorian.