Utah’s Women Tech Council recognizes 309th SWEG employees

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Three women from the 309th Software Engineering Group at Hill Air Force Base were recently recognized by Utah’s Women Tech Council. Two were selected as finalists for Women Tech award, while a third received a Rising Star award.

Alison Sturgeon, an electrical engineer acquisition specialist from the 520th Software Engineer Squadron, and Emily Togaga’e, a computer engineer team lead for the 521st SWES, are two finalists for a prestigious Women Tech award, which recognizes and celebrates women who have made influential contributions to Utah's tech sector and have positively impacted and innovated technology in Utah. 

“I feel very honored to be recognized for work I feel very passionate about and feel is extremely important to the Air Force and Utah,” Sturgeon said. “I feel very strongly that a STEM career is a ‘golden ticket,’ where an entire family can be lifted out of poverty with just one person receiving a degree and working in STEM.”

Togaga’e also said being recognized was a great accomplishment.

“To be nominated as a finalist is certainly an honor,” she said. “I feel humbled but also delighted.”

Kayla Rubin, a computer scientist with the 521st SWES, has been recognized with the Rising Star award, a new distinction within the Women Tech Awards designed to accelerate the success and impact of women in technology who are early in their careers.

“It was an honor to get chosen and to be recognized with all the remarkable women who were selected alongside me,” she said. “It was an inspiring experience getting to meet all the finalists and learn about what they were doing for the tech community and the women in it.”

Women Tech Awards has been the premier awards program for women in Utah's thriving technology community. This year’s award finalists were selected based on professional achievements, business leadership, industry experiences, personal accomplishments, and community impact. Judges represented leaders and innovators from throughout the technology sector.

A press release from WTC stated, “By bringing visibility to the women who are creating new technologies, leading technology companies, driving innovation and inspiring the tech community, the Women Tech Awards accelerate their career trajectories, elevate the entire technology sector, and help inspire thousands of high school girls and other women into STEM careers.”

Sturgeon said STEM careers are outstanding for everyone, but especially for women.

“STEM careers are highly respected, provide flexibility such as working part-time and virtually, and furnish outstanding benefits that allow you to have a great work-life balance,” she said. “The variety of STEM careers is nearly endless, and allows you work in a team and solve problems to make people’s lives better.”

Sturgeon is the former director of Hill’s STEM Outreach Program, which connected HAFB to industry, education, and nonprofit organizations. She helped raise nearly $6 million for the Utah STEM community, benefitting hundreds of STEM programs, thousands of teachers, and more than 420,000 students. She created HAFB WiSE (Women in Science & Engineering) to mentor and retain women and provide support to students of all ages.

Togaga’e has been an integral leader on the SWEG’s Project FOX team. FOX, which stands for fast, open, eXtreme programming, has accomplished significant advancements in aircraft software applications. Her contributions to software innovations will positively impact the future of the stealth fighter fleet, and potentially all Department of Defense aircraft.

Rubin has also played a critical role in Project FOX and has been instrumental in the success of F-22 and F-35 ground and flight test events. Her software contribution helps overcome vendor lock by leveraging government owned software and allows for cost sharing with applications compatible across multiple weapon systems.

The women will be recognized at an awards ceremony Oct. 11 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. Those wishing to attend can purchase tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2023-women-tech-awards-tickets-673800323907.