UAB senior Zoë Penko honored with 2019 Rising Star award

The Society of Women Engineers awarded Penko for her contributions in the engineering and local communities.

PenkoJoomlaZoë PenkoZoë Penko, a University of Alabama at Birmingham  Honors College senior pursuing a personlized path double-majoring in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics, recently received the Society of Women Engineers’ 2019 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 membership who have made outstanding contributions to SWE, the engineering community, their campus and the community.

“This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Zoë,” said Iwan Alexander, dean of UAB’s School of Engineering. “She is an outstanding student, and her strong work ethic and willingness to engage with fellow students, faculty and the engineering community set her apart as an outstanding representative of the School of Engineering.”

Penko is currently president of the UAB SWE section and the UAB American Society of Mechanical Engineers section. She was selected as 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.

“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,” said Emma Latham, SWE’s former president, in her nomination letter. “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.”

Penko’s former SWE faculty adviser, Helga Alexander, says she is an intelligent, self-confident, team player and is able to express her thoughts clearly while being respectful of the opinions of others.

“She is committed to becoming not just a good engineer, but an outstanding one,” Alexander said.

When Penko is not engaged in those activities, she plays the trombone for the UAB Marching Blazers and Blazer Band.