College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) alumnae Barbara Rusinko and Barbara Whye each received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree at this spring’s University of South Carolina commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 6.
Rusinko, mechanical engineering ‘98, worked at the Bechtel Group for 37 years before retiring in 2021. She held a variety of operations and leadership roles at Bechtel. In 2000, Rusinko served as chief engineer for Bechtel’s government services company, overseeing the performance of more than 700 engineers and designers. She also held senior engineering management roles on projects, including the U.S. national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, and the Waste Treatment Plant in Washington state. As senior project manager for Bechtel’s Oil, Gas and Chemical business, she was a senior project manager for a refinery in Thailand and an LNG plant in Australia. Rusinko was named a senior vice president of Bechtel in 2012 and elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2018.
In 2017, Rusinko received the CEC Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes an individual who has made notable contributions to their profession, community and the university. She has also donated to the CEC for supporting the college’s Summer Start program, a three-week residential experience designed to assist first-generation students’ transitions to university life.
Whye, electrical engineering ’89, has served as the vice president of inclusion and diversity for Apple since 2021. In her position, she is responsible for fostering Apple’s commitment to increasing diverse representation at every level, developing an inclusive culture, and ensuring equitable pay. Prior to Apple, she worked at Intel Corporation for 25 years in a variety of leadership positions, including chief diversity and inclusion officer and director of global strategic initiatives, Intel Foundation. She began her professional career as a product evaluation engineer at NCR and a facility engineer at BellSouth.
Whye also earned her MBA from USC’s Darla Moore School of Business and was the recipient of their 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2022, she was named one of Savoy Magazine's Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America and was also recognized by Women We Admire as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona. Fortune named Whye as one of the Most Powerful Women in 2020. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and ethics from Arizona State University.