An outstanding education begins with exceptional teachers! SHA is lucky to have four teachers on staff with backgrounds in engineering. By sharing their real-world knowledge and experience they are inspiring Valkyries to be the next generation of women leaders in engineering! Meet some of the teachers who are helping SHA students grow from Learners to Leaders!

Candace Kresse


Position: IB Coordinator, IB Chemistry SL Teacher

Background: Bachelors in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Science in Chemical Engineering, both from the University of Dayton. She worked for 13 years in industry with 3 and a half years in France. She held a variety of positions with much of time spent in the manufacturing environment with the international work in research, pilot plant and project design.

How she uses engineering experience in teaching at SHA: I often bring in the factors of cost, feasibility, and environmental impact, especially towards the end of the year when the student have enough of a foundation to investigate real-world applications. I bring the manufacturing experience to help them begin to understand how what they are doing in a small beaker translates into reactions to supply human needs. I have been known to draw diagrams of reactors with agitators, piping and instrumentation, and heat exchangers for the students while explaining how it works in an industrial plant. IB Chemistry provides great opportunities to make these connections as the curriculum requires and understanding of specific industrial processes.

The IB Chemistry and IB Physics classes requires many of the data analysis techniques used in engineering classes. All the IB science classes include an element of experimental design to which I can add my engineering experience.

My engineering experience is also helpful for students who are considering the field. We can discuss what working in industry is like and what it means to do engineering – many students of this age know it is a good job to have, but not what is involved.

Message for girls interested in STEM: Think outside the box! Engineers are both academically strong and creative. Future engineering students must be comfortable with having to come up with new and different creative answers. If the best answer was already known, there would be no need for engineers. Critical thinking and option evaluation are musts. Engineers are problems solvers. Students must thrive on problems and puzzles to be good engineers.

How an IB education can benefit students in engineering: The IB education, with its foundation in building critical thinking skills, is especially good for engineering students. IB courses are all about applying knowledge to new situations. The IB sciences with their focus on experimental design and analysis are excellent preparation for independent scientists. All IB science students must also complete and interdisciplinary group investigative project, which models the experience of working on a design team – what engineers must do every day. The international focus of the IB gives a perspective for addressing problems faced by the human community.

Shelley Strong


Position at SHA: Engineering and Chemistry teacher, Engineering Club moderator and Science Olympiad co-moderator

Background: Mrs. Strong served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and was a sales engineer in the private sector for five years. She holds a BS in chemical engineering and an MAT from the University of Louisville. Mrs. Strong enjoys working with others to solve problems!

Message to girls interested in STEM: She wants all girls to know that “If you enjoy math and science, building things, and solving problems-STEM is for YOU!” She often shares her experience in the engineering field with her students so they can learn about how much fun engineering can be.

Her favorite part about teaching at SHA: Everything! We have excellent students, caring administration, and supportive donors!

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