Cal Poly Engineering Dean Amy Fleischer was honored at the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast annual celebration.

Cal Poly Engineering Dean Amy Fleischer was one of six women honored as a Woman of Distinction during the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast annual celebration.

The recent Breaking Barriers to Build Change virtual event honored key individuals who drive lasting change in the Girl Scout organization and beyond. The Central Coast scouting organization serves more than 8,800 girls across a region that includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura County, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.

Fleischer, a third-generation Girl Scout whose daughter was a scout, joined the local Girl Scouts council board in 2019. Her involvement at a board level came after the Girl Scouts of the USA announced an enhanced focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
She has a doctorate in mechanical engineering and served as chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Villanova University, near Pittsburgh, prior to Cal Poly. While at Villanova, Fleischer served on the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Board of Directors, where she promoted STEM activities, which included running Girl Scout Day at the university for eight years.

“As educators, it is important to advance opportunities in the STEM field,” Fleischer said. “We are preparing the next generation workforce. As we encourage young women to go into STEM fields early, we are promoting the value of diversity in engineering.”
As leader of Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, Fleischer focuses her efforts on justice, equity and inclusion, working with college leadership to implement college-wide strategic goals. She works diligently to increase safe and accessible learning environments for all students, focusing strongly on the university’s Learn by Doing philosophy as she encourages innovation through unique projects and programs.

“Dean Fleischer is an incredible leader for her college and a respected and valued member of our community, both on and off campus,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, Cal Poly’s provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “Her passion and advocacy for the Girl Scouts and for creating opportunities for women in STEM is inspiring and invaluable. I am excited to see her recognized for work that means so much to her and proud to have her as a part of the Cal Poly community.”

As the leader of one of the nation’s most highly rated engineering schools — and the largest of Cal Poly’s six colleges — Fleischer has represented the university at statewide and national events, including the ASEE Engineering Deans Public Policy Colloquium in Washington, D.C., and ASEE Engineering Deans Council Diversity Committee. She regularly advocates for STEM funding for public education and the 23-campus California State University system on Capitol Hill.

The 2021 Women of Distinction recognized six women who made significant contributions in one or more of the key focus areas for Girl Scout success: Healthy Living; Financial Empowerment; STEM; Leadership; and Community Responsibility. As determined by the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls who have positive influences in these areas are more likely to gain essential skills and find success even beyond their years in Girl Scouts.

Honorees joining STEM Innovator Fleischer included: Oxnard’s Assistant Police Chief Denise Shadinger, Civic Changemaker; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advocate Keisha Browder, CEO of United Way of Santa Cruz County; Financial Steward Michelle Yee, senior vice president, Ventura/Santa Barbara market executive at Bank of America; Outdoor Adventurist Karey Muller; and Life Skills Coach Erika Sintigo, of Santa Clarita, a human resources professional at Insperity Inc.

“Our amazing volunteers, adult awardee recipients and Women of Distinction are individuals whose lives are rooted in the Girl Scouts’ ideals of courage, confidence, and character,” said council CEO Tammie Helmuth. “They make the world a better place every day by supporting all endeavors of our girls and are the backbone of our organization.”