From Fellowship to Leadership: Women in Engineering for Sustainable Development

In this discussion, women share their perspectives on the diverse career paths they have taken in engineering for sustainable development. Hear from past E4C fellows, an entrepreneur and ISHOW alumnus, and a university professor who describe how they crossed career milestones to land at their current roles. The conversation touches on the challenges and opportunities particular to women, and how all genders can work together to improve. Additionally, viewers will learn how an E4C fellowship can launch and advance a career in sustainable development.


Dr. Eva Cheng is an Associate Professor and the Acting Head, School of Professional Practice and Leadership at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Previous to this role, she was the Director of Transnational Education and Director of Women in Engineering and IT. With a background in telecommunications engineering, Eva actively collaborates on social justice and community engagement across STEM diversity and humanitarian engineering, including collaborating with the Tech Girls Movement Foundation and Engineers Without Borders Australia. She continues to contribute to gender equity as a UTS Women in Engineering and IT Ambassador, and as a volunteer with the Timor-Leste Feto Enginhera (Women in Engineering) team and Women in Engineering Pacific and Timor-Leste network.

Wambui Nyabero  is the Chief Technology Officer at Villgro Africa (VA) where she provides strategic, technical & business advisory leadership for VA’s Healthtech Incubation program and is growing an Invention Based Health Technologies pipeline through training, mentoring and partnerships. Wambui coordinates the mentorship program at VA and is herself a mentor to many of the technology startups in VA’s portfolio. She is also a member of the Global Health Advisory Council that seeks to expand the impact of behavioral science applications. In addition, Wambui is a 2021 AVPA Africa-Asia Impact Investing Fellow. Eng. Nyabero is an inventor and holder of patent # US 10,729,341 B1 for a medical device to diagnose peripheral neuropathy, an innovator who led development of a COVID-19 ventilator
winning the 2021 Kenya American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Innovator Showcase award and a serial entrepreneur who has founded several companies including medical device startups NewSpring Technologies, MeDevice Kenya and Newspring Pharmacy. Wambui’s vast experience in technology leadership includes ten years at St. Jude Medical (now Abbott) where she worked in research and development of cardiac rhythm medical devices, was a program manager for multi-site international development and manufacturing projects and as a lean-six sigma black belt facilitated business and manufacturing process improvements. Additionally, she led the planning and realization of a strategic innovation initiative that developed an innovation framework and further developed a product for
emerging markets. Eng. Wambui G. Nyabero studied Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Stanford University and has a B.S Mechanical Engineering and M.S
Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

Shannon Tin Oi Lee (BASc-BEng, MEng, EIT) is an award-winning mechanical engineer specialized in CAD manufacturing and product development. Shannon is a recent Master of Engineering graduate from the University of Toronto, where she completed a research thesis in an invention related to fibre optics. She is an advocate of lifelong learning and lives to change the world for the better through delivering innovative engineering solutions. She worked on numerous inventions involved in humanitarian projects, including designing affordable and mass-producible 3D-printed prosthetics and medical devices. In addition, she is the designer of Canada’s largest automated 3D-printer and helped establish the first medical 3D-printing laboratory in the nation’s capital. Shannon demonstrated several prototypes of similar innovative engineering solutions across the globe which earned Shannon a provincial title for Most Innovative Thinker. Her passion in novel product development was complimented through becoming an E4C Fellow in 2022, where she collaborated with an engineering team in Kenya in developing a zero-emission trike suitable for rough terrain. Shannon’s love for innovative engineering solutions is unconditional and remains in her daily practices as a CAD manufacturing engineer. As an engineer, Shannon finds nothing more rewarding than to work on engineering solutions aimed to address social impacts and tackle challenges on a global scale.


Leah Putman is the Senior Program Specialist with Engineering for Change (E4C) and with the Engineering for Sustainable Development department at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). At E4C, Leah conducts strategic design, implementation, and management of a portfolio of ESD and E4C programs in the engineering for global development space. She works closely with ecosystem stakeholders to forge and grow partnerships that support a diverse engineering workforce, technological innovation, and social entrepreneurship globally. Leah has over 10 years of industry experience in engineering, design, business strategy, and social impact and has worked with both global organizations and small social enterprises. She holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Delaware and a MSc. in Strategic Design Engineering from Technical University of Delft.

Francisco X. Plaza is currently working with Engineering for Change to support the acceleration of technology-led ventures looking to mitigate the environmental and social impact of artisanal gold mining impact in the Amazon region. Internally, within E4C, he is working to optimize and implement institutional processes to achieve further impact and scale. Francisco was a 2021 Fellow with E4C working on optimizing a DC solar fridge for rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa with Amped Innovation and supported Autodesk Inc. with research aiming to understand future job pathways in mechanical design and manufacturing industries. Prior to his Fellowship, he was selected as one of the finalists in the Siemens Design Challenge with a novel desalination solution for Ecuadorian, coastal, low-income communities. Francisco graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from University San Francisco de Quito in 2020 and did a study abroad program in 2018 at Purdue University.

Comments from the Community


  1. fendersusan9366 says:

    This discussion looks incredible! For those of us who unfortunately cannot make that time work, is there a chance it will be recorded and available afterward?

  2. Rob Goodier says:

    Yes, we should have a video of the webinar available on this page and on our Youtube channel within a couple of days after the event.

  3. twytsma says:

    I’d love to get a link to the recording from today’s webinar. I wasn’t able to attend.

    Thank you!

  4. olukammama says:

    The recorded video should be made available

  5. Rob Goodier says:

    Hi, the video is available in the top image on this page and on our youtube channel here: Thanks for your interest!

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