The Cal Poly Pomona hosted its annual Engineering Scholars Day in April, inviting more than 500 admitted students with family members. The College of Engineering event encouraged students — especially women, underrepresented minorities and first-generation students — to pursue engineering at Cal Poly Pomona.
This year’s event invited keynote speaker was Diane Costlow, senior executive and technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division (NAVSEA).
“It seems like only yesterday that I was preparing to start my engineering education like you are doing today,” Costlow said. Snapping her fingers, she added, “And just like that, 38 years has gone by.”
Costlow expressed her vested interest Cal Poly Pomona; in the last three years, the center that she leads has hired nearly 60 graduates from Cal Poly Pomona, approximately a third of their recent hires.
“Many of the Cal Poly Pomona alumni who work in my command stay active with the university, participating on the industry advisory council, working with the Maximizing Engineering Potential program, teaching, and providing guidance on senior projects,” Costlow said.
Lily Gossage, director of the university’s MEP: Center for Gender, Diversity & Student Excellence, recognizes the significance of women entering leadership positions.
“Even though women occupy about 30 percent of entry-level roles, women make up barely 7 percent of technical company boards. Having gender diversity in your leadership leads to greater diversity of thought. There are exceptionally talented people who will be great in leadership roles,” said Gossage, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Women in Engineering Division, American Society for Engineering Education.
In her concluding remarks, Costlow imparted seven lessons to the audience:
- Seek out and listen to mentors and advisors
- Take care of yourself
- Work hard and have a plan
- Be a good team player
- Master effective communications
- Be flexible and seize opportunities
- Have fun!
Costlow serves as the technical director of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, where she provides technical leadership to more than 1,600 Navy civilians in all aspects of independent performance, readiness and acquisition assessment of warfare systems.