Reates Curry, Ph.D., technical expert, Research and Innovation, is a recipient of the 2016 Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Spark Award, which honors individuals who have contributed to the advancement of women by mentoring those around them.
Dr. Curry will receive the recognition Oct. 28 at an SWE conference for women in engineering and technology.
“The men and women acknowledged in this year’s awards program have made a significant impact on their community as well as the engineering and technology profession as a whole,” said Jessica Rannow, president, SWE. “Leaders such as these individuals are what make it possible to remain a catalyst for change as we work together to empower women in STEM and close the gender gap in engineering.”
Dr. Curry said the recognition affirms that “human success is best achieved when we reach out to others.”
“To be nominated for this award you must have at least four letters of recommendations from mentees and peers,” she said. “I am extremely humbled by the fact that the people I have worked with took the time to share how our interactions and something I may have said or done made a positive difference in their lives and/or careers.”
Dr. Curry – whose work at Ford focuses on human-machine/computer interaction with an emphasis on developing safe and efficient in-vehicle systems and technologies – has been mentoring students since 1989.
“I believe it is very important for there to be visible ‘everyday’ mentors demonstrating that one can pursue a productive and fun career in STEM areas and yet also have work-life balance,” said Dr. Curry. “Young women in elementary and middle school repeatedly show that they are academically capable in the STEM areas, but the number of girls who continue to pursue this area drops as they reach high school and beyond.”