Cayla Castells wins Women in Engineering Program Joelle Award

June 16, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Women in Engineering Program (WEP) has named Cayla Castells, a mechanical engineering junior, the 2017 recipient of the Joelle Award.

The award is endowed by Edward and Jane Liszka in honor of Jane’s parents, Joseph and Eleanor Munafo. It recognizes an upper-level woman engineering student who has an outstanding record of leadership, service and citizenship that positively affect the climate for women in the College of Engineering or at the University.

"Winning the Joelle Award is an incredible honor,” Castells said. “There are so many amazing women in the College of Engineering here at PSU and I am humbled to be considered a leader among the best.”

Castells, of Downingtown, Pa., has served as a mechanical engineering teaching intern, and is engaged in engineering communications research. She serves as an Engineering Ambassador and as Engineering Career Envoy.  She has formerly served as a Sophomore Women Ambassador Team (SWAT) Envoy providing service and outreach to the Women in Engineering Program. 

She completed internships with GE Transportation in 2015 and with GE Power in 2016. This summer she will intern with GE in South Carolina. She plans to graduate in December 2017.

Joelle Award first runners-up are Nicole Gallegor, a senior in mechanical engineering, and Avery Sonali Varhade, a senior in computer science.


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Chris Hennessey

Cayla Castells

Cayla Castells with her 2017 Joelle Award.



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

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