Women in Control (WIC) is an interdisciplinary community encouraging and supporting women professionals in the field of control systems. Originally initiated over 25 years ago within the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS), it now holds luncheons and meetings at various conferences such as the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), the American Control Conference (ACC), the IFAC World Congress, ASME, and SIAM conferences. Over 80 women attended the WIC luncheon during the 2016 ACC in Boston. Although still a minority in the control community, women are serving in key leadership positions within the AACC: the AACC Treasurer, society delegates to the AACC Board of Directors, the AACC Education Committee Chair, the AACC Workshops Committee Chair, and the General Chairs for the several past and upcoming ACCs.
Dr. Karen Panetta’s presentation during the luncheon, “Empowering Your Potential”, shared the best practices for achieving career goals for any stage of your life. She had several take away messages: 1) Have short term goals for yourself. 2) Make them broad, and include personal goals to stay healthy, as well as those to further your professional development (volunteer for your professional society, review papers for conferences, conduct outreach to youth in your community, or venturing into new entrepreneurial frontiers). 3) She encouraged networking. Look beyond the traditional career paths to utilize your interdisciplinary interests, and forge new opportunities that build on your personal interests as well as your engineering and science expertise.
Dr. Panetta is a computer engineer and the associate dean for graduate engineering education at Tufts University, where she develops algorithms for robot vision applications. She has won a number of awards for teaching and mentoring, curriculum development, and outreach activities, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring. She founded the "Nerd Girls" program, which encourages young women to pursue engineering and science, and she is the editor-in-chief of IEEE WIE Magazine”