zoe penko 2018Zoë Penko, a senior double majoring in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics, recently received the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Rising Star Award. The award is given to up to 15 collegiate members each year.

The Rising Star Award recognizes “SWE collegiate members with less than two years of SWE membership who have made outstanding contributions to SWE, the engineering community, their campus, and the community.”

Penko is currently president of the UAB SWE section as well as the UAB American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) section. She is one of 23 Society of Women Engineers Future Leaders for 2018, is a member of several honor societies, and has received multiple scholarships, including the UAB Golden Excellence Scholarship and the UAB Music Scholarship. When she is not engaged in those activities, she plays the trombone for the UAB Marching Blazers and Blazer Band.

“What does she not do?” writes SWE past President Emma Latham in her nomination letter. “To my knowledge, she does not scale ice glaciers or write papers on quantum field theory, but by tomorrow that may be a different story. Zoë Penko’s impressive adaptability to learn/do something new is incredible, and that paired with her major involvement in SWE at UAB makes her more than qualified for this Rising Star award.”

In a letter of support, former SWE faculty advisor Helga Alexander cites Penko’s work ethic as well as her abilities. “She is intelligent, self-confident, a team player, and she is able to express her thoughts clearly while being respectful of the opinions of others,” Alexander writes. “She is committed to becoming not just a good engineer, but an outstanding one.”