Core Board Contacts

Katie Allen – President

Katie is a Sr. Engineering Manager who works at Collins Aerospace. She has been active in SWE since her college years at the University of Notre Dame. Katie joined SWE-ECI in 2011 and has previously served as K-12 Outreach Chair when she inaugurated the popular Jr. Girl Scout Day event and President when she helped revamp the bylaws and bring in Rockwell Collins corporate sponsored memberships. She has been Treasurer many times and earned the SWE-ECI Leadership Award in 2015 and 2016. Katie has attended and organized numerous section events. 


Kristen Wagner – Vice President

Kristen Wagner is a Sr. Mechanical Engineer at PepsiCo – Quaker Foods & Snacks in Global Grains & Ingredients Research & Development. She has worked at PepsiCo for the past eleven years since she graduated from The University of Iowa in 2013. Kristen has been active in SWE for fifteen years; four years as a collegiate and eleven years as a professional member. Throughout her professional career, Kristen has held various roles within SWE-ECI: President for five years, Vice-President for one year, Jr. Girl Scout Day Chair for two years, and College Outreach Chair for three years. In 2021, Kristen was awarded the SWE WE Local New Emerging Leader in Technology & Engineering (ELiTE) Award. Locally, Kristen has received the SWE-ECI Leadership Award 2019-2024, and she received the SWEsterhood Award in 2018. Aside from work and SWE, Kristen’s favorite hobbies are traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with her husband Devin, five-year-old son Logan, two-year-old daughter Arabella, and dog Rylee.


Jillian Nagle – Secretary

Jill is a Technical Readiness Leader for Initiatives at P&G Oral Care in Iowa City. She studied Mechanical Engineering at The University of Iowa where she graduated in 2013. At The University of Iowa she was very involved with the Society of Women Engineers. She held several executive board positions throughout her four years and rounded off her collegiate SWE career with being the President her senior year.

Upon graduation, Jill got involved with the local professional section, SWE-ECI. Over the past 10 years Jill has been Vice President, President, K-12 Outreach Chair, and Secretary. She is always willing to fill in wherever needed. She has really enjoyed staying involved with SWE throughout her professional career as a means of networking with other women, continuously learning, and helping to shape the future generations in STEM through outreach. For FY25, Jill is excited to be back in the Secretary role, as she would like to continue to be heavily involved in SWE-ECI. She also would like to stay very involved with our K-12 Outreach initiatives to ensure we continue to promote STEM in our community.


Henal Patel – Treasurer

Henal graduated with an Agricultural and Biological Engineering degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May 2022. Upon graduation, Henal moved to Iowa and began a rotational program for six months with Quaker Oats – Supply Chain followed by being the Quality Supervisor overseeing Captain Crunch and Life Cereals. She is currently a Productivity Leader at Quaker Oats managing projects and innovation for the Instant Oats and Instant Grits department.

Henal is excited to take the Treasurer reins from Katie. She did a fabulous job as the Professional Development Chair this past year as her first year on SWE-ECI Core Board, Henal has gained great exposure to event planning, section events, networking, and building a community with other female engineers in the area. Through the experiences she’s had within this past fiscal year, Henal would love the opportunity to continue to help the SWE-ECI section through the elected core board roles mentioned above. In college, Henal held the roles of Professional Development Chair, Secretary, and President for a student organization called MANRRS. Bringing previous knowledge and adapting to the needs of the section, Henal hopes to help in the continuation of having a unique and passionate group of women in STEM in the East Central Iowa area.


Samantha Armstrong – Communications/Marketing Secretary

Samantha moved to Iowa in 2019 and has enjoyed meeting more people through SWE-ECI. She got married in 2021 and lives with her husband; they are both engineers and met in college. Samantha is currently an engineer at Schneider Electric. Within SWE-ECI, she has been Communications/Marketing Secretary for three years now and really enjoys it.

Each year Samantha tries to add one more aspect of social media and would like to continue to grow SWE-ECI’s presence. This year her goals would be to post on LinkedIn once per month and continue to create reels on Instagram of SWE-ECI’s events.


Margaret (Mara) Nelson – Membership Secretary

Margaret is looking to re-engage with SWE after a hiatus during busy times in her career and life. During her undergrad at UMN-TC (2011-2015) for Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, Margaret was actively involved in SWE through roles in outreach (K-12 and on-campus), event and career fair planning including serving on the SWE Region H planning committee, and as a Treasurer. In the meantime, Margaret has moved from Minneapolis to Fort Dodge (2015-2017) and has found herself nested in Cedar Rapids (2017-present) with a house, a long-term partner, three cats, one dog, and more time to follow her passions. This fall she’ll be starting grad school at The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business in the part-time M.S. Data Analytics program. Having pivoted from bio-engineering in an ethanol facility to environmental compliance, construction project management, and now working with the City of Cedar Rapids in Public Works coordinating road reconstruction, rehabilitation, and maintenance projects, Margaret feels her jack-of-all-trades experiences can provide a valuable perspective on non-linear career paths. She also hopes to learn and develop friendships with others in the area, re-establishing friendships and community. Margaret is an introvert that enjoys planning group outings, attending community events, and lifelong learning.


Shelby Baker – College Outreach Chair

Shelby is a Team Lead at P&G in the circuit board department for the power tooth brushes and chargers.   She has been with the company for just under 2 years.  She attended Iowa State University and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.  While at Iowa State, she was an active member in the SWE organization where she held several positions including VP of Membership, Co-President Elect, and various other cabinet positions.  Her favorite parts of SWE and other organizations she was a part of was being able to engage and mentor other students.  She enjoys spending time outside with her dog, working on DIY projects at her house, knitting, and sewing! 


Sarah Piburn – K-12 Outreach Chair

Sarah Piburn is originally from Kearney Missouri. She graduated in 2018 with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. Afterward, Sarah moved to Cedar Rapids and has worked for HR Green for four years. She recently graduated in 2022 with her Master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering from The University of Iowa. Most of her projects are wastewater or drinking water focused. Sarah loves being outside; hiking, boating, kayaking, disc golf, and walking the dog. She thinks this is what drove her towards Environmental Engineering. Sarah loves knowing the projects she works on will have a positive impact on the community and environment.