Society of Women Engineers Honors Alka Patel

CHICAGO—(BUSINESS WIRE)—October 11, 2006— The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) today announced Alka Patel a recipient of SWE's 2006 Distinguished New Engineer Award. Patel is being recognized for her technical excellence, academic and professional achievement, and civic participation in support of the mission of the Society of Women Engineers.

Alka Patel is an attorney with Pepper Hamilton, LLP focusing her practice on intellectual property. As a patent attorney, Patel prepares and prosecutes patent applications in the areas of materials, chemicals, medical devices, manufacturing processes, and business methods. Additionally, she provides infringement analyses and patentability opinions, assists in securing trademarks, and copyright registrations, and develops intellectual property strategies for consumer product manufacturers, service providers and others.

"Alka Patel has displayed incredible leadership and growth within the first 10 years of her career," says Jude Garzolini, president of the Society of Women Engineers. "Her engineering background has been vital for successfully analyzing cutting technology related to material science and proving patentability opinions that help maintain integrity in our industry."

Prior to her position at Pepper Hamilton, Patel practiced patent law at Webb Zieseheim Logsdon Orkin & Hanson, P.C. where she prepared and filed U.S. and foreign patent applications and secured patents for manufacturing processes, steel manufacturers, medical devices and business methods. Prior to that, Patel worked as a sales engineer assistant for GE Industrial Systems where she provided technical and sales support to distributors in the Pittsburgh area. Patel began her career at Timken Latrobe Steel as a manufacturing engineer and metallurgist working in the plant.

Patel has been an active SWE professional member since 1998 and has been involved in various roles in the SWE-Pittsburgh Section. Patel served two consecutive terms as president of the Pittsburgh section. During her tenure as president, she initiated the section's involvement in the fundraising effort Shop for a Cause, transitioned the section newsletter to an electric format, and oversaw an increase in membership. Prior to being president, she also served as vice president of career guidance for two years and section secretary for two years. Patel also volunteered much of her time to mentoring programs that encourage and support young women in engineering and has participated in numerous conferences as a panelist on engineering, graduate school, and alternative career paths for engineers.

"Alka always demonstrates a strong commitment and consistent dedication to her career, her SWE involvement and community activities," says Cristina H. Amon, dean, faculty of applied science and engineering, University of Toronto. "She is a role model for all women to reach their full potential, and with her outstanding technical and managerial expertise in engineering, she is an excellent candidate for this award."

In addition to her involvement with SWE, Patel serves on the boards of YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh and the Girl Scouts Trillium Council.

Patel received her B.S. in materials science and engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2001, she completed her J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Duquesne University

The Distinguished New Engineer Award honors women engineers who have been actively engaged in engineering, demonstrated outstanding technical performance, and have had no more than 10 years of cumulative engineering experience as of December 31 of the past year. Each advanced engineering degree obtained on a full-time basis counts as one year of experience.

The 2006 Distinguished New Engineers Award will be formally presented Friday night, October 13 at the Society of Women Engineers' National Conference Achievement Award Banquet in Kansas City, Mo. The National Conference, "Women Blazing Technology Trails," is being held at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo. October 12-14. The more than 4,000 attendees include professionals from every discipline of the engineering profession and a large number of engineering students and educators. The 2007 Conference is scheduled for October 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

About SWE

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded in 1950, is a not-for-profit educational and service organization. SWE is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and be recognized for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders. For more information about the Society please visit or call (312) 596-5223.


Society of Women Engineers
Heidi Lerfald, 312-596-5223
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