Meet Our Leadership Team

The Houston Area section is led by local members that have been elected by the local section to serve one fiscal year from July 1st  to June 30th to represent the Executive Council.  The Executive Council is assisted by several committees.  Additionally, SWE-HA has a Board of Trustees that consists of four senior SWE-HA members who serve a 3-year term.  

If you are interested in getting into SWE leadership, we are always looking for volunteers! Perhaps the best way to enter is to become a member of one of our committees. We have a group of awesome leaders – let us know where your passions lie and we’ll make sure we get you to the right group.

Executive Council FY24 Bios

July 2023 – June 2024

I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Offshore and Coastal Systems Engineering. Before graduating I began interning as a hydraulics engineer at the Army Corps of Engineers, and after graduation was brought on full-time. As part of the hydrology and hydraulics team I participated in projects and studies that worked towards reducing flood risk to people and infrastructure in communities throughout Texas. Currently, I work as a planner for the Regional Planning and Environmental Center out of the USACE Fort Worth District, where I work alongside project managers to lead engineering teams through the civil works study process throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. As a native Houstonian, I am all too familiar with floods and have developed a passion to help manage flood risk to all communities by developing sustainable solutions to reduce risk from inland hydrology and coastal storm events. Outside of work I have become involved in my local SWE chapter, by helping provide outreach to the next generation of female engineers and growing my network of female engineers in the greater Houston area. In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors, usually with my camera and dog, Athena.

​Personal Statement
I have been actively involved in the SWE-HA section since 2019. My first role in SWE-HA was Collegiate Coordinator where I worked on cultivating and building relationships between local SWE collegiate sections and SWE-HA, and provide them opportunities for learning, networking, and professional development. After this role I was the VP-Outreach for FY22, where I provided outreach to K-12 students. I spoke to many students in the greater Houston area and helped establish and encourage partnerships with other organizations around Houston to provide STEM outreach wherever possible. Currently I am the SWE-HA Treasurer for FY23 and manage and track our budget, participate on the BOT, and maintained or improved other financial responsibilities. Through this role, I have gained a full understanding of our operating budget and what it takes for SWE-HA to execute our missions year after year. As someone who has served on a committee, participated on the executive team, and am familiar with the budget, I understand what it takes for SWE-HA to continue its success. With the experience I have, I know that I can successfully lead so that SWE-HA may continue to fulfill its missions. My goal is to work alongside the next executive team towards optimizing and strengthening SWE-HA by incorporating sustainable practices so that SWE-HA may continue to succeed in the future.​

Since Camila joined SWE in FY15, she has served as External Vice President (FY16 and FY17) and President (FY18) of the Texas Tech section. In FY19, Camila started the GradSWE section at her school. In FY20 and FY21, Camila held the positions of Collegiate Focused Coach in the Leadership Coaching Committee (LCC) and Texas Tech Section Counselor. She is currently serving as Coaching Lead in the LCC (FY22-present). Additionally, Camila is the FY23 Lead for the Young Professionals Focus Group of the Houston Area section. Camila graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Mathematics minor, Magna Cum Laude, in May 2018. In addition, Camila earned a Master of Business Administration in the accelerated STEM track, in August 2019. Apart from SWE, Camila enjoys fitness and dancing, which is why she became a certified Zumba Instructor. She has taught Zumba and other cardio and toning fitness formats for about 7 years now. Camila started her full-time engineering career at Cameron, A Schlumberger Company, in August 2020 as a Global Rotational Development Program Engineer and recently graduated. She is now a Manufacturing Engineer and Continuous Improvement Champion at the Schlumberger-Ardmore facility in Houston, Texas. 

Personal Statement
As the SWE-HA External Vice President, I would like to create and continue to foster connections with sponsors who believe in SWE’s mission. I would like to showcase the skills I developed during my time as a collegiate section External Vice President and a coach in the Leadership Coaching Committee. I served as the Texas Tech section External Vice President for two years. I gained experience in managing our sponsor database. Additionally, I learned to request sponsorship from companies who were interested in connecting with SWE members, either through formal sponsorship packets or casual conversations at the university career fairs. I also coordinated the participation of companies in monthly info sessions, member meetings, and outreach events. For one of the outreach events hosted by the Texas Tech section, I maintained a relationship with our sponsor in Costa Rica before, during, and after the event via phone, email, and in-person communication. Lastly, I shared my experiences with other SWE sections when I served as a Leadership Coach. I guided collegiate sections to create their own sponsorship packets and work with companies who are interested in hosting their events. I am very excited to serve as the next SWE-HA External Vice President!​

Andria Carpenter is an Air Quality Engineer in the Sustainable Operations group at Occidental Petroleum. Ms. Carpenter is her team’s USEPA Greenhouse Gas expert where she prepares the GHG reports for operations in the Permian basin and further provides guidance to business units looking to reduce their Scope 1 carbon emissions. For 5 years prior to joining Oxy, Ms. Carpenter worked in air permitting and compliance consulting. Ms. Carpenter has a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. In her spare time, Ms. Carpenter’s focus is on her involvement within non-profit organizations, including Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Ms. Carpenter is very passionate about gender equality and hopes to drive change for diverse individuals within STEM industries.​

​Personal Statement
If given the opportunity to serve as VP-Internal of the Society of Women Engineers – Houston Area Section, Ms. Carpenter will work to expand upon the membership foundation that the section has currently built. Aligned with the Society’s goal to celebrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), Ms. Carpenter aspires to organize and host local events that will celebrate the months/days that highlight certain groups who have historically been undervalued (i.e. Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Pride Month, etc.). Ms. Carpenter has demonstrated her abilities to organize and lead efforts to execute successful events within her past SWE roles as the FY22 Professional Development Chair and the WE22 Conference Host Committee Lead. It is these skills along with her ability to empower volunteers that will make her a successful VP-Internal.​

Katherine Hoerner grew up in Buffalo, NY and relocated to the Houston area after graduating from the University at Buffalo in 2014 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Over the last 9 years she has worked in the Chemicals industry holding various roles in project engineering. She is currently a Process Safety Engineer for Covestro and is responsible for leading process hazard analyses at their Baytown plant. Katherine has a passion for volunteering and has been involved with planning multiple events to introduce students to engineering. Most recently she served on SWE-HA’s EC as the VP-Outreach for FY2023. She enjoys sharing her passion for engineering with students and introducing them to the many opportunities which careers in STEM offer. In her free time Katherine enjoys a good Netflix binge, but can also be found hiking around the country with her husband Brandon and fur baby Cinnamon. She also enjoys trying out the diverse food scenes which Houston has to offer. 

​Personal Statement
My passion for outreach emanates from my own introduction to engineering as a student participating in STEM events. Having witnessed the impact these events have, it is important to me to help provide the same opportunities to others. My passion and dedication to this mission aligns with the goals of SWE making me a great fit for the VP Outreach position. Through my professional experiences I have developed strong leadership, organization, and communication skills. I have successfully led and participated in multiple outreach events with my company and SWE-HA. My goal-oriented and can-do mentality allows me to execute projects and continue SWE-HA’s mission of promoting STEM among women in the Houston Area. Running for re-election, I would like to focus on right sizing our activities to match our mission goals and volunteer engagement. I also plan to establish an improved method to help make volunteer registration easier through a software or online tool. I am excited for the opportunity to continue to help shape future women engineers and keep expanding the reach of SWE-HA in the community. ​

Katherine Yolitz graduated from The University of Tennessee in 2019 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Minor in Arab Studies. She spent the summer post-graduation continuing her Arabic studies in Morocco through the Critical Language Scholarship, and then relocated to Texas to begin working in the chemicals manufacturing industry. She currently works as a Senior Production Engineer for Dow Chemical in Texas City, TX working in the oxygenated solvents business, and previously worked for Olin Corporation as a Production Engineer in Freeport, TX in chlorine processing and railcar shipping. Katherine has been an active member of SWE since 2016 during her undergraduate career and is passionate about empowering women in engineering and manufacturing. She’s incredibly grateful for her time as a collegiate member and the support, inspiration, and friendships gained through SWE. She currently holds the SWE-HA position of FY23 Membership Chair and also leads the Dow Texas City Women’s Inclusion Network. In her free time, Katherine enjoys taking her dog Romeo for a walk around Downtown, spending time with her two cats Amira and Leila, checking out a ballet or symphony performance, biking along Buffalo Bayou, cooking, and finding opportunities to practice her Arabic and Spanish.  

​Personal Statement
Her passion for SWE began as a member during her time in college and has continued as a professional in SWE-HA. Katherine has been involved with SWE-HA since early 2020, and has supported the section and gained experience on the Membership Committee. In FY23, she began serving as the Membership Chair responsible for goal setting and planning events to increase member engagement. She has focused on the retention of existing members and gaining new ones by executing fun, engaging membership events. Her time with the Membership Committee and as Chair has strengthened her time management, organization, and communication skills that will help her be an engaging and effective Secretary. She’s excited to use her skills to continue growing SWE-HA’s mission, goals, and membership base by further strengthening communication and visibility of section events and activities as Secretary.

Catherine is a Senior R&D Engineering Specialist at Dow. She started her career as a process engineer for major capital projects at ExxonMobil before transitioning to Research & Development. Catherine has 13 years of experience spanning all phases of project development and research in the chemical and oil & gas industries. She enjoys working on multi-discipline teams to solve problems and develop safe and technically sound projects. She also enjoys developing new process technologies and running computer simulations. Catherine is an inventor on 7 granted patents as well as additional pending or preliminary patents. Catherine joined SWE as a freshman at CMU and served for 2 years as co-chair of the section’s largest outreach event. She has been active in SWE-HA since 2016. Catherine is a member of the SWE Technical Career Track Affinity Group, and advocates for women to pursue the technical career track and technical leadership. In her spare time, Catherine plays clarinet in a community band and woodwind quintet. She enjoys volunteering for STEM outreach programs, especially focusing on sparking and nurturing a love of science and problem solving in girls. Catherine holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Personal Statement
As Treasurer for SWE-HA my goal would be to ensure our bank account is kept in good standing and watch for fraudulent charges. I would ensure donations are deposited, reimbursements are made, and scholarships are paid promptly. I would watch our account balance and budgets for events to ensure that we don’t overspend our budget. As a research project manager at ExxonMobil, I managed multiple time and materials contracts including reviewing and approving monthly charges and tracking spend/progress vs budget/plan. As co-chair for CMU SWE’s High School Day, I organized professors to speak and host activities, developed schedules, and managed the budget for t-shirts, food, etc. Currently, I’m president of my HOA, which requires prioritizing maintenance to stay within budget and working with contractors to plan and schedule work. I’ve been librarian for my band since 2019 where I’m responsible for distributing music, transporting music to concert locations, confirming that all music is returned, and keeping the library organized. As an executive committee member generally, my goal would be to support others in their leadership development, provide ideas to the group, and support or build on ideas from the other committee members.

Board of Trustees

Carolyn F Phillips, CIH (Ret), PE (Ret) CSP (Ret) has been a SWE member for over 50 years. She retired from Shell Oil Co after spending the last 25 years of her career there in a health and safety career and still serves in an occasional consulting capacity. She is currently a Trustee on the SWE National Board of Trustees and served as the Chair for 15 years. She also is currently serving on the SWE HA Board of Trustees. She is a SWE Past National President, Fellow, and Life Member. She has also received SWE’s Distinguished Service Award.

She is an active volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages, the Executive Service Corp of Houston, her church, and Zonta International, where she was recently Vice Chair of an International Convention. In spare time, she loves to work in the garden and “fix things” or play in the sand at her beach house.

Donna Kottwitz is a Senior Life Member of SWE and has been active in a number of areas in the Houston Area Section. She joined SWE in 1972 as a charter member of the Kansas State University Section during her freshman year and was President her senior year. Donna became President of the newly chartered Houston Area Section in 1979 and has been Section Representative and Career Guidance Chair. She organized SWE Business events as part of the 1998 Convention Team. In 1994, she received the Woman of Excellence Award from FHPW. Donna retired in 2017 from Eni Petroleum after working 42 years in the oil & gas industry, last holding the position of Reserves Manager. She has been responsible for reserves studies, economic evaluations, managing property evaluation teams, and corporate financial studies and reporting. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering at Kansas State University in 1975. In addition to Eni Petroleum, Donna worked as a reservoir engineer for Exxon, Louisiana Land & Exploration, and Wintershall Energy. She was also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers during her career.

Ann Green Terrell joined SWE as a collegiate member at the University of Miami in the early 1980’s when the number of women in the engineering college was low and SWE provided the rare opportunity for female students to assemble a network of support and also provide outreach to the community. She worked in industrial engineering for the airline industry, in manufacturing,, and in transportation-logistics. Most of her career has been in leadership roles with over twenty years at the United Parcel Service corporate offices where her most successful accomplishment was the co-founding of a charitable program set up to match UPS professionals (engineering, marketing, finance, technology, etc) to needs within the local non-profit community. She has remained connected to her profession since retirement by volunteering with ABET as a program evaluator to accredit undergraduate and graduate industrial engineering programs in the U.S. and around the world. She believes in the mission of SWE and looks forward to working in any capacity needed to forward that mission.

Marie LaPlante is a chemical engineer and SWE Fellow. She is employed as a Principal Project Engineer at Collins Aerospace where she enjoys leading technical teams in space suit and lunar terrain vehicle development.  She also works in operations supporting the spacesuit currently used on the International Space Station.  Marie has a diverse background having worked in plant operations, project management, process design, and technology sales. Active in SWE, she has served at the local, regional, and national levels for over 30 years and has held every Treasurer position within the Society. She is a past national Ethics and Audit Committee Chair, serves on the national SWENext Committee, and was a Section Representative for many years. Recent work included updating the section bylaws and procedures.  Marie also served as the FHPW Administrative (and backup recording) Secretary for two years.  She enjoys volunteering for various STEM events such as science fairs and is a long-time judge for FIRST Robotics. She also supports young women with scholarships through SWE-HA and her university. Marie has been recognized for her contributions as an engineer, as a leader in the community, and a mentor to younger engineers with awards from her university and SWE