With our Member of the Month program, Dallas SWE seeks to recognize some of our non-officer members whose technical contributions, leadership accomplishments, or SWE volunteer service are particularly noteworthy. If you would like to nominate a Dallas SWE member for his/her contributions, please email us.
This January, we feature Terriekka Cardenas as our Member of the Month! Terriekka holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and AAS in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design from Mountain View College. She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Yellow Belt. Because of her enjoyment in seeing inanimate objects come together to make something useful, she worked as an engineer in the manufacturing industry for over 13 years in varied capacities and department leadership roles. This included such companies as Valspar, Momentive Specialty Chemicals, PepsiCo, and Ecolab. In order to gain more flexibility and availability for her family, Terriekka recently dove head first into entrepreneurship and started her own consulting firm, Perceptive Engineering. The firm is a provider of consultancy services across design, new product development, process monitoring and other technical and project management business needs. Outreach and serving the community are very important to her. With her belief that no one should be denied exposure to STEM careers, she created the organization Full STEAM Ahead. She and other STEM professionals collaborate to facilitate workshops and classes surrounding various disciplines ad skills in a fun and engaging atmosphere. Students are shown how STEM is infused in their everyday lives. The primary focus is to target demographics of youth whom are grossly under exposed to the subject matter.
In 2008, Terriekka became the first African American woman to be employed as the Site Engineer in the US plant operations for the then Hexion Specialty Chemicals. She actively serves as the President of the Board of Directors for SimiDigi, Inc., a creator of simulated digital interactive workforce training . Additionally, she is the STEM Program Coordinator for Destiny World Children’s Ministry. She has also been a mentor for students participating in the Future City Competition, where her 2016 team received special awards in two categories.
“I have learned over the years that it is imperative to develop a solid network of support as a minority in the STEM workforce. Involvement in SWE on the collegiate level provided that for me. It was sort of a sisterhood, the one place where you weren’t the only girl. As a professional, being apart of Dallas SWE has shown me the importance of advocacy for young women and the impact of being present for them. I have derived so much personal and professional fulfillment serving as a part of the outreach committee for the chapter as it strives continually to remain an active pillar of the community. This organization personifies my belief wholeheartedly that once armed with knowledge, one can have a solid impact on the world around them and make effective changes right where they are, regardless of their age, gender, and socioeconomic background.”