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How Do We Progress Towards Racial Equity in the Structural Engineering Community?

Co-Moderator: Angela Heinze, PE, LEED AP, has worked with Thornton Tomasetti since 2006 and is currently an Associate with their Structural Engineering practice.  In addition to her work as a structural engineer, Angela has volunteered as an ACE mentor since 2018, is the Chair Elect for DVASE WiSE (Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineers – Women in Structural Engineering), a board member for Women@TT (a DEI initiative at Thornton Tomasetti) and an active member of the SE3 committee.  


Co-Moderator: Tiffany Hwang, PE, is a bridge engineer based in the Oakland, CA, office of COWI.  Tiffany serves as the SEAONC SE3 chair, led beta testing efforts for the 2020 NCSEA SE3 Survey, and is co-founder and co-chair of COWI’s Women’s Network. She also volunteers as a statistics tutor for formerly incarcerated students at Project Rebound, which is a gateway to undergraduate education at San Francisco State University, and traveled to Rwanda to construct a suspended pedestrian bridge with the non-profit Bridges to Prosperity in 2019.



Karl W. Reid, Ed.D., was named executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) on June 2, 2014. For the past 22 years, he’s been a leading advocate for increasing college access, opportunity and success for low-income and minority youth. He is the author of Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life. Dr. Reid is now supporting NSBE’s National Executive Board and the Society’s 25,000 active members in reaching the main goal of NSBE’s 10-year Strategic Plan: to end the underrepresentation of blacks in engineering in the U.S. by annually producing 10,000 black engineers in the country, by 2025.

Yiselle Santos Rivera, AIA, is a medical planner and Global Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at HKS. Yiselle thrives on building equitable practices, empowering the next generation of leaders and creating inclusive platforms for engagement. She serves on the AIA National Board and is founder of “Women Inspiring Emerging Leaders in Design” (WIELD).

Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 10:15 - 11:15 AM PDT


As structural engineers, we have a significant impact on shaping the built environment for communities all around the country. Yet the 2020 SE3 survey results demonstrate that the structural engineering profession does not fully reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the United States. Black/African Americans are 13.4% and Hispanic/Latinx Americans are 18.5% of the US population (per the U.S. Census Bureau), but make up only 1.3% and 6.2%, respectively, of survey respondents. In recognition of the national spotlight on racial injustice, how can we progress towards racial equity in the structural engineering community?


In this session, we will highlight common experiences that are reflected in the SE3 survey data as related to race and racial inequities. We will connect our everyday experiences in the structural engineering workplace through conversation with experts on racial diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the AEC industry. Active audience participation will be encouraged and supported through the use of anonymous polls throughout the session. Attendees will leave with ideas on clear, achievable actions to take as individuals and as firm leaders to help advance racial equity in our industry.