Montana Society of Engineers 2023 Gold Medal winner Baylie Phillips is celebrating her fellow women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) after rising to the top of a field of all women engineering students who were finalists for the award.

The Montana Society of Engineers presents the Gold Medal Award to the top student in engineering at Montana Technological University, based on academics, professional society involvement, internships, volunteer work, and future plans for licensure as a registered professional engineer in their degree area. It also gives a Gold Medal Award to a top engineering student at Montana State University. This year marks the first time ever in the professional organization’s 136-year history, where all finalists for the award at Montana Tech were women.

 “In the past, it was pretty much a male-dominated award,” Phillips said. “Having all female finalists is a huge win. Often, young women don’t know or realize that they can be an engineer or work in these industrial jobs alongside men. For young women and young minds, it is so important to see. When I was younger, I didn’t realize I could be a scientist. It’s not something I saw in my family or my family’s friends.”

The award is given to a student who demonstrates excellence in the community and the  classroom. Phillips’ dominance in the classroom is among the best in the nation. She was named at 2022 Goldwater Scholar. The award is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship awarded in America's natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. She’s also completed undergraduate research experiences with a 4.0 GPA.

Extracurricular service with the Montana Tech Food Pantry, ASMT, Society of Women Engineers, and other organizations that mean a lot to Phillips.

 “I love research, but doing the extracurricular activities, it’s a different type of excitement,” Phillips said. “You get a network in a whole different way. You get to meet different people in different ways, from fifth graders to 65-year-olds.”

Logan Reed, a civil engineering senior from Oakesdale, Washington, was a finalist for the award.

“I am very grateful for my time here at Montana Tech. One of the things that has made my experience so special is how everyone supports each other, no matter who you are,” Reed said “As Orediggers, we always cheer each other on, and encourage success.”

Madison Kelly, a petroleum engineering senior from St. Regis, was a finalist as well.

“I have loved the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself here on campus,” Kelly said. “Through my involvement with the petroleum engineering clubs SPE and AADE, as well as the track and cross-country teams, I have witnessed the leadership and creativity that Montana Tech cultivates. Campus feels like a family, and it is encouraging to see students lift each other up and promote one another's success.”

Brian Sullivan was one of the adjudicators of applications for the Montana Society of Engineers.

“The top 2023 Montana Technological University engineering students were nothing short of stellar,” Sullivan said. “As an interviewer, I was in awe of the academic excellence, demonstration of leadership, and involvement in community activities.  I feel privileged to be involved with the Gold Medal award process and wish we could present the award to all three students as all are truly winners.” 

Sandra Anderson-David also reviewed the applications.

“This year's Gold Medal candidates embodied what engineering success looks like: knowledgeable, well-spoken, personable, involved in professional and community activities, and extremely driven,” Anderson-David said. “I am so proud of them, and can't wait to see how their plans for work and continuing education add to their successes.  I look forward to seeing them change their part of the world for the better!”