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2015 Outstanding Service Award: Barbara C. Faust

Barbara.Faust.OSA.Engineering.2015_webBarbara Faust was nominated by the Society of Women Engineers, Philadelphia Section, with the following statement: “Barbara Faust has made exceptional contributions to both engineering and the community continuously throughout her life.  She is a noteworthy role model for future generations of engineers.  Barb is a steadfast member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), a dedicated volunteer to Penn State College of Engineering, and an enthusiastic, loyal volunteer for a local food pantry, FISH. Through her years of service, in both her career in the defense industry and her outreach efforts, Barb has made significant contributions to the field of engineering and to her community.  She is highly deserving of an Outstanding Service award.”

Barb received her B.S. in Engineering Science from Penn State in 1964, and her M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1967.  She is the first woman to graduate with a B.S. in Engineering Science from the Penn State College of Engineering.  At Penn State she was inducted into the Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics) and Pi Mu Epsilon (Mathematics) Honor Societies.

Work Experience
She joined General Electric Missile and Space Vehicle Division in King of Prussia in 1964 as an engineer in the Space Technology Engineering Program (STEP), a program for new engineers which provided assignments in various groups within the Missile and Space Division that gave the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree at a local school.  She was the first woman to complete the program.  Through her 33 years in the field she worked for GE Aerospace, which transitioned to become Martin Marietta and later Lockheed Martin.  She worked her way up from the analysis of payloads to Program Manager.  After retiring in 1998, Barb continued with engineering as a consultant for General Services, Inc. in Souderton.

Service to Engineering

Society of Women Engineers
Over the years, Barb has continued to show her commitment to engineering and the community.  She is a Life Member of SWE and has been an active member of the SWE Philadelphia Section since June 1964, when she began work at the General Electric Company.  She had joined SWE in 1963 when she was a student at the Pennsylvania State University.  At her first SWE Philadelphia event, she was nominated to be Vice President for the 1964-65 fiscal year, so she stepped up as a leader from the very beginning.  Since then, she has served multiple terms in most positions on the section’s Executive Council, including Treasurer for many years, as well as science fair judge, SWE Counselor for the Lehigh and Drexel Collegiate Sections, and Certificate of Merit Program Chair.  During the 1980s she also served on the National Ad Hoc Committee to study SWE Regional Boundaries prior to regionalization of the Society, as New Section Coordinator, and on the Membership and Scholarship Committees.  Barb was named to the Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame in 1991 and elected to the prestigious SWE College of Fellows in 1994.

Barb was chair of the Certificate of Merit program for the SWE Philadelphia Section for over 20 years, followed by three years as co-chair. This program recognizes outstanding work in math and science by female high school juniors and seniors in the Delaware Valley which reaches approximately 70 high schools.  Barb has also dedicated many hours of her time to help judge science fairs in Bucks, Montgomery, and Lehigh counties. She identifies girls and women who have high potential in STEM fields based on their engineering logic and presentation.  These bright young people are presented with SWE Special Awards to encourage them to aspire to engineering careers.

Another example of Barb’s dedication to student outreach through SWE is her involvement as a presenter for over 10 years at the annual SWE-Widener Engineering Mini-Camp. Each year the camp allows up to 200 high school students from the Delaware Valley and beyond to explore engineering careers in a supportive environment.  The girls interact with engineering professionals from SWE and Widener faculty and students, as they participate in hands-on laboratory workshops representing the various engineering fields.   Typically at least 70% of the girls indicate that they are more interested in or excited about an engineering career after attending the program, thanks in large part to volunteers like Barb emphasizing the rewards of an engineering career, and noting how engineers can impact society and help improve the quality of life.

Penn State Engineering Society (PSES)
Barbara has been a dedicated, vital member of the Penn State Engineering Society (PSES).  She has served on the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department Industrial and Professional Advisory Council (IPAC), including several years as Chair.  In addition she is a founding member of the Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) Alumni Advisory Board (2007-Present), where she is currently chair of the Development and University Relations Committee.   In 2006 she was named an ESM Centennial Fellow.  Barb received the Penn State Engineering Society Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

Additional Community Service
In addition to her dedication to engineering service, Barb is actively engaged with her community.  She has been on the Perkasie Borough Planning Commission for 15 years and was recently elected Vice-President for 2015.

To add to her already busy schedule, Barb volunteers at a local food pantry called the Fellowship in Serving Humanity (FISH).  FISH is a non-profit charitable organization that provides a food pantry and a clothing outlet to those in need.  As Co-Chair of the Pantry Committee in 2013, she helped the pantry relocate its equipment, inventory and operations to a new facility, at least 4 times larger than its previous home.  This effort included overseeing building modifications while simultaneously processing incoming food donations, stocking shelves, and implementing new client and volunteer procedures.  Barb put her engineering and project management skills to very good use as she devoted countless hours to this vital community resource.