Dr. Donna Riley is the Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing at the University of New Mexico—and now, one of our ten 2024 New Mexico Women in Tech Awards Honorees! As a leader in STEM education, Donna has forged a path for gender equity in the Sciences and acted as a mentor to many women scholars. An author, engineer, and leader in civic engagement, Donna’s leadership has positively impacted a wide sphere of influence. We are excited to feature Donna as one of our 2024 Honorees!

Donna’s career has focused on engineering education and inclusive excellence. She is the author of two books, Engineering and Social Justice and Engineering Thermodynamics and 21st Century Energy Problems. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in chemical engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon. After her education, Donna became a faculty member at Smith College. There, she worked to create the first engineering program at a US women’s college.

Then, she led even more ceiling shattering changes at Purdue University. While Donna was a leader at Purdue, she championed the promotion of the first woman ever to full Professor of Engineering Practice. Additionally, while at Purdue, she was instrumental in promoting 7 other women to Full Professor.

Donna’s career has always had a focus on mentorship and community:

“Throughout my career I have engaged in STEM community outreach activities, from conducting workshops on air pollution monitoring with the Sally Ride Science Festival, to speaking with the Zonta Club and local high schools about the launch of Smith’s engineering program and what that meant for women in STEM, to connecting my engineering classrooms with local environmental organizations.”

As a mentor to a group of women leaders in the ELATES (Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering, and Science) program, Donna is helping to shape the future of Women in Tech.  While employed at Purdue University, Donna also served as a mentor to women faculty who were early in their careers and participants in Purdue’s Susan Bulkley Butler Center. Of that experience, Donna states: “All my mentees successfully received tenure.”

Additionally, Donna served as a mentor to American Association of the Advancement of Science Fellows at the National Science Foundation  and as an informal mentor in the national engineering education research community to women graduate students and postdocs.

Donna also has an impressive list of awards and achievements, including:

  • ASEE Hall of Fame, 2023 – among 22 honorees in the first class of members named in 30 years;
  • Violet Haas Award, 2021 which recognizes individuals, programs, or departments who have effectively facilitated the advancement of women at Purdue University.
  • Fulbright Specialist, New Zealand, Equity and Inclusion in Engineering, 2018.
  • ASEE Fellow – 2016.
  • Educator of the Year (2010) National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP).

We are excited to welcome Dr. Donna Riley to this impressive legacy of NM Women in Tech! Join us to celebrate Dr. Riley’s achievements and this year’s Awardees at our March 13th celebration at Hotel Albuquerque. Register today