Women In STEM Luncheon

Sponsored by 

The Women in STEM Luncheon is a one-hour lunch designed to empower FIRST Robotics Competition high school students to network and build community as they explore exciting opportunities in STEM careers. This year we are excited to present a distinguished panel of women (see below) representing a diverse set of STEM fields. Drawing from their wealth of experiences in education and their respective careers, our panelistss will share invaluable insights. Thanks to the generous contribution from Grainger, this event is FREE to all students who register and lunch will be provided.

When: Friday, March 29th

Time: 12pm to 1pm

Location: UIC Student Services Building, Rooms ABC (entrance at NW corner of Racine/Harrison)

Register Here!

2024 Women In STEM Luncheon Panelists

Kelli Van Antwerp

LED Video Engineer | Content Systems Manager
Graystone Media

After 2 years in FLL and 4 years on WildStang, Kelli went to pursue a degree in Television Production at Columbia College Chicago with a focus on Directing and Production Management. This lead to her being a Lead Theater Technician where she found a love of immersive entertainment and eventually made a connection that allowed her to direct for ECHL hockey. Since then she's gone to become an Engineer in Charge at an arena trained in building, designing, and integrating LED video boards and have worked events like NBA All Star Weekend, Ryder Cup, and professional fighting events. Currently, Kelli works at Wintrust arena, home of the DePaul Blue Demons, NBA Draft Combine, and the Chicago Sky.

Trust your gut. If you feel like something isn't going to make you happy in 20, 30, or 40 years then don't commit because everyone says you have to.

Betul Bilgin

Clinical Associate Professor

Betul earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Turkey, a Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University. With a decade of teaching experience at UIC, her research interest lies in engineering education, particularly in bridging the gap between industry and academia and fostering engineering identity. Dr. Bilgin is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, as well as outreach and mentoring activities.

Pursue excellence, be yourself and follow your passion in STEAM.

Caitlyn Eng (Panel Moderator)

Design Engineer - Electrification

Caitlyn was a student on 2338 Gear It Forward between 2013-2017. After high school, she attended Purdue University and graduated with my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2021. During college she interned with Caterpillar for 2 summers. She enjoyed it so much she accepted a full time position with them after graduation. She now works in their Aurora, IL office as a design engineer in Drivetrain.

Find a mentor, ask tons of questions, soak up information like a sponge, and have fun!

Annie Poll

Sr. Supply Chain Analyst

Annie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering. Throughout college, she worked in the Gilroy Lab, an AstroBotany lab funded by NASA and created an oxygen control system to understand the effects of hypoxia on the Arabidopsis plant. In 2018, she interned with CME Group as a Systems Engineer and then interned with Grainger in 2019 on the Branch Network team focusing on customer experience reporting. After graduation, Annie joined the Operations Engineering Team at Grainger and have focused on a variety of projects, including implementing an automated warehouse execution system and supporting the design of a distribution center in Oregon.

Have faith in yourself and don’t be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone - you learn & grow the most in uncomfortable situations!

Kelly Sadler

Manager of DC Design, Engineering, and Expansion
W.W. Grainger

Born in Pittsburgh, PA Kelly moved to Chicago and attended Loyola University with a focus in Operations Management. She began her professional journey as an intern at Steel Series, a video game peripheral manufacturer. After college, she was hired on full-time and specialized in procurement strategies and freight award management. After a couple of years, she was recruited by Grainger. Kelly started in their product management organization, working on new product introductions and taxonomy. Now, she is a project manager leading the construction of our new distribution centers across the US.

Advocate for yourself! Don't be afraid to speak up and assert yourself.

Sophie Turner

Senior Supply Chain Analyst - Operations Engineering Team

Sophie graduated from University of Michigan with a degree in Industrial Operations Engineering in 2020. She interned at Grainger the summer of 2019 on the Regional Inventory team before starting full time in the fall of 2020 on the Transportation Analytics Team where she supported all outbound transportation initiatives, most notably our transition from UPS to FedEx as our primary parcel carrier. Sophie then came to the Operations Engineering Team where she was responsible for the design and execution of the racking plan/storage strategy for a bulk warehouse in Pennsylvania. She is now responsible for Grainger's network cube capacity monitoring and designing the storage strategy for a future distribution center in Texas.

Be confident in your skills and determined to make an impact.

Mayling Wong-Squires

Chief Engineer
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Mayling Wong-Squires serves as the Chief Engineer of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). Working with the laboratory’s diverse engineering community, Wong-Squires advises the lab’s leadership on various engineering-related issues and initiatives. She is also the Head of the Accelerator Directorate’s (AD) Mechanical Support Department. She has 27 years of experience at Fermilab working on design, manufacturing and installation of mechanical systems related to the particle accelerator, high energy physics detectors and their components in the areas of fluids, structural, vacuum, superconducting radio-frequency technology and cryogenic systems. Before working at Fermilab, Wong-Squires worked in the automotive industry. Wong-Squires received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor's degree in general engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

When asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?", answer "I want to do what makes me happy."