Executive Council

FY22 Executive Council

An active SWE member since her college days, Kelly personifies the role of a SWE ambassador: helping students develop a passion for STEM, equipping women in industry, as well as demonstrating the value of inclusion and diversity. She has a solid track record of leadership through work experience, SWE, and in the community. Kelly wants to continue her presidential leadership role in the Executive Council this coming fiscal year to continue to strengthen the SWE-SD community while also bridging our SWE, K-16, and business partners.

Kelly’s SWE journey began in Atlanta, Georgia where she was actively involved on the board in the collegiate and professional SWE sections as Treasurer and VP of Outreach respectively. Since moving to San Diego in 2016, Kelly has been involved with the Outreach and Professional Development committees before joining the board last year. In this role she has grown the membership significantly with over 110 new members, increased SWE-SD outreach events from the previous year by over 3-fold, added new sponsorship partners, and filled every committee chair position.

Within Becton Dickinson (BD), a global medical technology company, Kelly is currently an Associate Staff Engineer leading global teams on the design, development, and launch of new gravity infusion intravenous therapy sets. Kelly is also the STEM lead in the San Diego Women’s Initiative Network. She has grown BD’s SWE membership globally, represents BD at SWE Corporate Partnership Council meetings, and hosts associate-led events around professional development. Her efforts have been recognized at the Annual and WELocal conferences with awards.

Kelly looks forward to driving positive change in her community and looks forward to doing so again this coming year as SWE-SD President.

Candace Gray was inspired by the Jetsons cartoon to play engineer at a very young age, taking apart clocks to see how they worked in the hopes of building her very own ‘Rosey the Robot’. Now Candace wants to be a conduit of ideas and examples of imaginative science and engineering that may serve to spark young girls’ interest in STEM. You will find her throughout the local STEM community volunteering, organizing, and being a role model. She is especially fond of working outreach events such as the SWE Exploring Technology, the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo Day, and the Girl Scouts San Diego Spring into STEM workshops, among others.

Candace joined the SWE-SD Professional Development committee, selecting Wine & Webinar topics, co-hosted a book club session, and will serve as the FY21 Banquet Chair. Candace’s desire to be a more effective leader and to develop women in leadership, inspired her to obtain a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University. She plans to use her education to help other women cultivate their leadership skills.

Candace has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University and 16 years of experience in design, test, and manufacturing. Currently, she is a manufacturing leader at the General Atomics Energy Group where she leads a team of skilled technicians in a production environment.

Candace is truly honored to be elected as Vice President on the SWE-SD Executive Board for FY22. She is excited and ready to serve both our SWE members and the community. Two of her goals are to help develop women in leadership and to bolster our K-12 programs, because it's important that we continue to increase girls' interest in STEM. She is looking forward to working with our board and doing great things in the coming year.

Kirsten Petersen, in her first year on the SWE SD executive council, looks forward to continuing to expand her SWE and leadership experiences into FY22. To build upon what was started this year, Kirsten is most looking forward to establishing industry connections across San Diego, creating meaningful programming as we increase the ability to meet face to face, and identifying what SWE can do to add value for its members, sponsors, and supporters!

As the FY21 treasurer, Kirsten was able to benchmark other SWE section best practices, approve the budget within the first quarter, and create an online reimbursement form. Currently she is completing a standardized treasurer update for executive committee meetings to automate the spending tracking and increase transparency. She supported the Public Relations Committee, expanding community outreach, and the Scholarships committee, developing the remote application starting the endowed scholarship process.

Kirsten joined SWE in her freshman year at Santa Clara University where she completed her bachelor’s and master’s in Electrical Engineering. Her SWE leadership roles included collegiate section Secretary, Vice President, President, and Alternate Collegiate Senator. In 2013 she was awarded the Region A Outstanding Collegiate Leader.

Kirsten Petersen is the Distribution Strategy team lead in SDG&E’s Electric System Hardening group where the company’s data-driven methodology is applied to scoping, prioritization, and alignment of distribution projects ranging from reliability to wildfire mitigation. Kirsten is also engaged in the STEM community though her company’s #BeThatGirl initiative, speaking on engineering careers at student events.

Kiara Breadmore, a hardworking 2018 graduate from UC Davis with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Kiara currently works for Solar Turbines in a Mechanical Design role.

Kiara is always finding ways to contribute. In college, she held several volunteer positions while in the UC Davis Cross Country and Track Club. Most notably she was the club President in her final year managing the 100 plus member sport club, overseeing all logistics involved with meets, fundraising events, and volunteer opportunities. She emphasized on creating an inclusive environment.

After Kiara attended her first National SWE Conference in 2018, it inspired her to make more accessible opportunities for women engineers. She got involved in the Solar Women Engineers Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Solar Turbines by accepting the position of University Connections Chair. Kiara was especially passionate about this role within the ERG because she wanted to provide opportunities for incoming interns and other college students. Some of the highlights of her role in the ERG so far include running a completely virtual SWE Intern-Mentorship program which gave female interns a mentor during their time at Solar. This program also included events to learn more on the opportunities available for engineers, engineers at Solar Turbines and allowed them time to network.

Kiara is immensely passionate about empowering women and she works to introduce opportunities and networks that wouldn’t be available otherwise. She looks forward to providing a cohesive and welcoming front for the SWE San Diego organization, and is excited to use her experience to help grow the community. Outside of SWE, she enjoy outdoor activities, reading and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.

Aileen Fahme holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCSD and an MBA from University of Redlands. She is a Consulting Applications Engineer at Solar Turbines Inc. In addition to being a team lead, part of her responsibility that she is passionate about is on mentoring new PAE’s (Project Applications Engineers). She loves sharing her experiences, the wins and losses on competitive projects, the lessons learned, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with every project. She is motivated and driven by the energy and eagerness and enthusiasm that she sees in the people she trains. She plans to use her mentorship and leadership skills to encourage and help the young women pursue their goals in STEM.

Aileen served as the President of the Solar Employee Recreation Association (SERA). SERA is a nonprofit internal organization that promotes and supports extracurricular activities and active lifestyles of Solar Turbines employees. She also participated in events like Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Bring Your Child to Work Day, Shadow Day, several Mentorship programs, and recently was assigned as the Parent Rep for the 11-grade class at Francis Parker School. She attended the SWE 18 Conference in Minneapolis where she was taken by the message “Barriers are unavoidable but they are just little bumps on the road. They may slow us down but they may not keep us from driving. So, let’s not give up and let’s own our place at the table.“

Aileen has strong writing skills in both technical and commercial aspects. She is proficient in Microsoft office, ie Excel, Powerpoint and Word. Her organization skills, her thoroughness and her attention details make her a strong candidate for the SWE Recording Secretary position. Her experience in the corporate world has inspired her to give back what she’s learned over the years. Outside of the professional world, she is a mother to a 16 year old student athlete, she loves to cook, bake, run, and play cello.

Past Section Officers