Calumet Electronics Dr. Meredith LaBeau and Audra Thurston lead AIAM “Women in Aerospace” Panel

Women in Aerospace zoom meeting

CALUMET, Mich. (Tues. June 1, 2021) – On Saturday, May 15, Calumet Electronics engineers Dr. Meredith LaBeau, Director of Process, R&D & Manufacturing Engineering, and Audra Thurston, Product Realization / R&D Manager, joined an esteemed panel of professional women working in aerospace to inspire K-12 students to pursue STEM fields. Michigan, one of the most vibrant aerospace clusters in the nation, has over 600 companies that provide exciting jobs from manufacturing to engineering.

“Women in Aerospace” was a free virtual event hosted by Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM) and the robotics organization, FIRST in Michigan®. The event featured two keynote speakers, Huy Tran, Director of Aeronautics at NASA Ames Research Center, and Janelle Wellons, Instrument Operations Systems Engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

All were welcome to participate in engaging panel discussions that include Dr. LaBeau, Thurston, and 15 other female executive leaders. Moderators shared their unique experiences in joining a FIRST® robotics team and how paths in STEM education and aerospace ultimately lead to exciting careers.

In addition to the panel discussion, Dr. LaBeau and Thurston’s presentations focused on developing next-generation technology in a male-dominated industry, breaking down barriers, and never saying sorry for dreaming to the highest extent.

“I was honored to participate in this Michigan-based women’s aerospace event and to represent the UP,” said Dr. LaBeau. “I have a deep passion for ensuring all students can dream big and find meaningful careers in STEM-related fields, especially electronics and aerospace. Calumet Electronics is dedicated to educating and employing the next generation of leaders who can bring this industry to the next level. Many of them will be strong women!”

Both Dr. LaBeau and Thurston grew up interested in STEM-related careers and graduated from Michigan Technological University. They believe young women should pursue STEM opportunities for meaningful jobs that allow them to grow and invent the future. 

“I hope the young ladies who participated walked away realizing that a career in aerospace or STEM can be creatively fulfilling,” said Thurston. “The creative side of STEM is rarely talked about or promoted, but advancing to the next generation of technology in aerospace is going to require creative people who can apply strong STEM principles in innovative ways.”

Attendees of the event left motivated and empowered. “The future is in your hands,” said LaBeau. “Develop it, nurture it, and push it to the boundaries. You are in charge of your destiny. If you work hard and are humble, you will find great success as an engineer or technician with aerospace or other STEM industries. Make sure you reach out and find mentors for support and never be afraid to ask questions, lead, and reach for the stars.”

“Never be afraid to ask questions, lead, and reach for the stars.”

Dr. Meredith LaBeau

Calumet Electronics is an industry leader in capacity, capability, and advocacy. The company encourages opportunities for young women to play significant roles within the electronics field. Dr. LaBeau and Thurston are also great examples of how Calumet provides leadership to an entire industry, working to make American electronics competitive on the global stage.

“At Calumet, we work, grow, and push technology forward in an industry pushing the bounds for the future economy here in Calumet, through the state of Michigan, and all across the United States,” said Dr. LaBeau. “Audra and I were thrilled to share our stories and distinct perspectives with the next generation of female engineering stars.”

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About AIAM:

The Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan is a non-profit, member driven industry organization. It is a platform for aerospace leaders in the state to work together on a common set of priorities to strengthen and support the continued growth in the industry through talent attraction and new investment in Michigan. Learn more at

About FIRST in Michigan®:

FIRST in Michigan® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, FIRST in Michigan® has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST® programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers. Learn more at

About Calumet Electronics: 

Calumet Electronics Corporation is an award-winning research, design, engineering, and manufacturing company specializing in high-quality printed circuit boards. The organization fuels collaboration with distinguished suppliers and customers to advance the production of leading-edge electronics in the United States. 

Calumet Electronics is recognized for industry thought-leadership and the rapid advancement and commercialization of ground-breaking engineering and manufacturing processes, including advanced HDI and HDBU, RF, and microwave IC substrates. 

Calumet is 100% American-owned and operated with zero offshoring or outsourcing. It is America’s only HUBZone-certified PCB supplier. Incorporated in 1968, Calumet is a high-volume manufacturer of PCBs, shipping over 4 million circuit boards annually from its 160,000 sq. ft. facility located in the remote Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Accreditations: HUBZone, AS9100d (NSF ISR), NADCAP, ISO9001 (NSF ISR), IPC1791 Trust, MIL-PRF-31032, MIL-PRF-55110, ITAR, UL, Cage Code. Learn more at

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