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Expanding Your Horizons Conference 2023


2023 Keynote Speaker: Elise Castorina 

Elise Castorina's headshotElise didn’t always know she wanted to be an engineer. In fact, she didn’t completely understand what an engineer does, and she had never considered the profession until her high school AP Calculus teacher brought it up to her. When she was at the University of Washington and needed to declare her major, she got a crash course in the differences along the wide spectrum of engineering disciplines. Between prerequisite courses, college advisors, and talking to her friends in pre-engineering majors, she soon learned that engineering was a perfect fit for her career path, not necessarily because she got good grades in math and science, but because it aligned with the way she thought through problems and logistics.

She eventually chose to get her degree in materials science engineering because she had always found that she was fascinated by what things are made of and why. Her primary material focus in school was on carbon fiber composites, which led to her obtaining an internship and then full-time employment at The Boeing Company. 

Throughout her career at Boeing, Elise has performed work for the 777X, 777, and 787 programs. During the first part of her career, she worked on the development and production integration of the composite wing for the new 777X aircraft. While standing up the brand new Composite Wing Center (CWC) factory in Everett, she supported the implementation of automated fabrication robotics and worked equipment and part qualifications. She went on to rotate to other job roles at Boeing to expand her portfolio by performing engineering drawing reviews, flammability certification test plans/reports, lab work, test sample preparation, and factory floor shop support. Additionally, she gained experience with titanium additive manufacturing (3D printing) with the Boeing Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center (BAMIC). She is currently working in the Boeing Commercial Airplane Product Development organization, performing technical project management for emerging technologies for the next airplane program. 

Elise is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Boeing Women Inspiring Leadership (BWIL), Women in Structures Engineering (WISE), and the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE). She co-authored the paper that won the Best of Manufacturing Award at the 2017 Boeing Technical Excellence Conference (BTEC). She also earned a certificate in Additive Manufacturing for Innovative Design & Production through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology xPRO program. She also has several published technical papers in the Boeing Library and holds multiple patents with the USPTO. She has worked with composites, metals, foams, adhesives, and plastics throughout her career and personal hobbies.

Elise is Filipina American and a native Seattleite, born at Northwest Hospital in the Northgate neighborhood. She lives in Lynnwood with her husband and their puppy, Nimbus. In her spare time, Elise enjoys crafting, cosplaying/costuming/prop-making, martial arts, playing video games, training her dog, and being a nerd.


Women in Forensic DNA Testing: It’s the X, X Factor

While not as glamorous as portrayed on TV shows like CSI, the field of forensic science is a great way to apply science toward helping and serving the community. Get a brief introduction on the sources, interpretation, and identification of DNA. Come test your saliva and see if you can identify a suspect!

Flex on ’Em: Learn to Test Your Reflexes With UW Medical Students

Learn how to test reflexes during a physical exam, why these are important, and how your nerves and muscles interact. Come learn what hitting your “funny” bone means!

Wetlands: A Career in Playing in the Mud!

In this workshop, we will discuss what makes wetlands, how they are identified, why we care about their protection, and what regulations are currently in place to protect them. Take a look at wetland plant specimens and see a small-scale model that shows how water moves through the landscape.

Recreational Drone Demonstration

Watch the Edmonds College Flyers Club fly DJI drones at the college baseball field!A presentation will be done to demonstrate the science and math of how DJI drones fly in the air.

Oh My Cod, My Filet-O-Fish Comes From Where?

Did you know that your California sushi roll and fish sticks come from one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world? What is sustainability you ask? Great question! Dive in and learn what it's like to be a fisheries biologist at-sea in Alaska. Come get fishy with us; learn about safety gear and how to identify fish.

Life as a Pencil: Technology for Land Measurement & Mapping

Learn techniques for survey mapping and land measurement, use a Total Station survey instrument, and gain an understanding of how/why land measurement and mapping are used to support civil engineering projects.

Applied Math for Public Safety in the Floodplain

In floodplains, homes must be elevated above the top of the water during a catastrophic flood event. But how do we know how high the homes must be? Learn how to calculate a Base Flood Elevation and understand how math informs this element of public safety.

Roving on the Moon

Rovers are a kind of car-like spacecraft that NASA uses to explore the surfaces of other worlds. Come build your own rubberband-powered rover than can scramble across the room. Stick around for a moon race to test out your design!

Construction. Can You Dig It?

Come join us and meet our diverse group of women who thrive in a multitude of roles within the construction industry. Whether a project engineer, a developer, an owner, an accountant, a project manager, or an operations vice president, all these women have one thing in common: they are passionate about building for a better society and they each contribute uniquely. Come prepared to engage in a small-scale construction development to understand how projects work!

That’s Bright! Electricity is Amazing

Modern life depends on electricity. Build a simple circuit to help understand how power gets to where it is used.

Fast Track Training Into a Career

How a 12-week training can get you into a STEM career. Save time and money!

Orcas and Otters and Octopuses, Oh My!

This region is home to some of the most intriguing organisms. Visit Ardi Kveven, a marine biologist and captain who founded the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA), and learn about why the Salish Sea supports such a wide variety of cool critters. Experience what it’s like to be a student attending ORCA by dissecting otter scat, analyzing data, and observing plankton.

What is That Smell? The Nose Knows!

How well can you smell? We will explore the journey of odors from nose to brain and the connection to memories, mood, and taste. You will learn about the chemical molecules behind smells and how small changes can have big effects.


STEM in My World Comparisons: Relationships and Measurements

To help students implement the concepts implicit in comparison and measurements of everyday products. The major objective of this presentation and workshop is to show how easily, with a little imagination, existing products can be compared and measured. 

How Do We Engineer Our Cities to Make It Easier to Get Around and See Our Friends?

Learn how cities make decisions about transportation and make our roads safe for kids to walk, bike, scoot, skate, drive, and take the bus. The session will be led by local engineers who are working with the cities of Lynnwood and Edmonds to make streets better for people of all ages, but especially kids who just want to visit their friends and don't have a parent to drive them or access to a car.

Meet the Bees

Join us at the campus farm and get introduced to our colonies of honeybees. Put on a bee suit and get up close and personal with our fuzzy friends, or just watch from a distance. Either way, you'll learn all about our bees and their lifecycle.

Beads in a Chain: How Do Nucleosomes on DNA Help to Treat Cancer?

We need a better way to monitor tumors than the current method of tumor biopsies, which are expansive, invasive, and sometimes unfeasible. In this workshop, you’ll learn how a simple blood draw, using nucleosomes and DNA sequences, might replace the need for tumor biopsies.

Turning Natural Water Into Clean Drinking Water

Seattle’s water starts as snow that collects in watersheds in the Cascade Mountains. It travels through more than 1,800 miles of pipes from forest to faucet. This presentation describes the journey of how surface water is treated to drinking water standards.

Simple Machines: Making Work Easier

We use simple machines every day. Learn about how engineers use mechanical advantage to design machines. 

STEM Careers Without a Traditional STEM Degree 

This workshop is geared toward students who are not on a traditional STEM path. The speaker will cover how she got into the STEM field with a degree in American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington.