Atchison Earns KSPE Distinguished Service Award

March 5, 2018

The 2018 Kentuckey Society of Professional Engineers Awarded for Distinguished Service Award was presented to Celeste Atchison.Chemical Engineering senior Celeste Atchison was recently recognized by the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers for her outstanding service to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at the University of Louisville. The award was presented at KSPE's annual banquet on March 2 at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel, Louisville.

Atchison has received several awards due to her diligence in helping diverse communities have a voice, including her hand in establishing Speed Spectrum, an LGBTQ society. During her time with SWE, Atchison was instrumental in redecorating their space, helping to find the funding for the project through the relationships she has developed throughout her experience working with the Speed School Student Council. She also helped institute a continuity plan for the role of treasurer, to ensure that subsequent treasurers, a function she holds currently, are adept at finding and negotiating resources for future events or projects.

The society used to function regionally, with the each chapter grouped with other nearby chapters. While this helped to create a larger community within SWE, regions were grouped by population density, leaving some of the smaller, less fortunate members of the overall organization with a comparably limited support base, causing some office to go bankrupt. Atchison saw this as an opportunity to help strengthen that community by taking the initiative to build on those relationships.

“I’ve created a network of treasurer. When we were losing those offices, I thought it was a shame. It’s crucial to keep up with those folks. So, I started our treasurer network. It started off as something informal, but we’re hoping to get it back on track,” she says.

Atchison was nominated by Laura Edkins, the current president of SWE. While Edkins had the opportunity to nominate herself, she looked to Atchison and her accomplishments instead. Humbled, Atchison felt fortunate to have the opportunity, one she ultimately shared with someone special in her life.

“This award was really special, because my mom won it in 2007," she explained. "So it was kind of a homecoming. My mom is my hero.”