Diversity in the Workplace: Retaining Early-Career Women and Minority Engineers

Erin Shelby of Shelby HR Solutions (Moderator) , Claire Wemp, Juan Vargas, Jeewika Ranaweera

Thursday, Sep 8, 2022 - 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PDT


Gender equality is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG5) on which IEEE’s Global Humitarian Technology Conference (GHTC) is focused. Additionally, the technology industry is increasingly aware of the need to include a variety of backgrounds and capabilities in its workforce.

This presentation will be an open discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing young engineers, women in engineering, and minorities in both academia and industry. Topics to be covered will include facing workplace challenges, opportunities for networking, mentoring, and finding role models.


About the speaker,  Moderator: Erin Shelby of Shelby HR Solutions

Erin Shelby is passionate about engaging with her clients, while collaborating with senior leadership in assessing and implementing integrity-based performance standards. Embracing a background in public and private companies, including 30 years of HR leadership for the US District Court, California State Assembly, Sutter Health, and HGA Architects and Engineers, she navigates easily through bureaucratic organizations, and has served in an advisory capacity to senior leadership up to and including the CEO.

Erin is a human resources consultant through Shelby HR Solutions, and is an IEEE-CNSV member.


About the speaker, Claire Wemp of DuPont Silicon Valley Technology Center

Claire Wemp is a Thermal Applications Engineer at the DuPont Silicon Valley Technology Center in Sunnyvale, CA. She is a Mechanical Engineering graduate of both Santa Clara University and UC Berkeley for her MS/PhD. Throughout that time, she has held leadership roles in both University and Professional chapters of Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and she is the Bay Area DuPont Women’s Network Chair.

Claire is a passionate advocate for increasing the pipeline of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. In her free time, Claire does music and dance and lives in San Jose’s Japan Town with her husband.


About the speaker, Juan Vargas of Devcon Construction

Juan Vargas is a Senior Project Engineer at Devcon Construction in Milpitas, CA. He is a previously undocumented, first-generation college graduate who moved to the Bay Area from Southern California.

Juan received his B.S. in Civil Engineering and M.S. in Construction Management from Santa Clara University. During his time at SCU, Juan was a seismic research assistant, and was involved in multiple groups on campus including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where he served as Vice President. He enjoys creating and maintaining new and old friendships, and is always happy to share what he has learned – especially with people from underrepresented communities.


About the speaker, Jeewika Ranaweera of Oracle

Jeewika Ranaweera is a Principal Hardware Engineer at Oracle and Chair, IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) for the Santa Clara Valley (SCV) Section. Her diverse engineering journey began in Sri Lanka, and continued on to Cuba, Canada, and now Silicon Valley — where she works on cutting-edge technologies involving microprocessors. Jeewika considers engineering to be one of the most fascinating jobs in the world as it makes a difference by changing the world for the better — and allows for creativity and the search for innovative solutions.

She is a technologist for the Oracle Education Foundation, a community leader for Oracle Women’s Leadership, a Diversity and Inclusion ambassador, a sustainability champion, and a member of Emergency Response/Search & Rescue teams. Her Ph.D. and M.A.Sc in Electrical and Computer Engineering are from the University of Toronto.


Location: Santa Clara University

500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053 (Networking & Pizza in Courtyard: 6-7pm)
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