Published: Feb. 17, 2017

nan joestenNan Joesten is the principal and founder of Rapid Evolution, LLC and an active member of The BOLD Center's Advisory Council. She is also an alumnus of the CU College of Engineering, where she studied Chemical Engineering.

Originally from Indiana, Joesten's love of writing first led her to consider a Journalism major, but was encouraged by her father, a mechanical engineer, to use her skill in math and science towards an Engineering degree. Even though she graduated at the top of her class in the small, rural high school she attended, coming to CU was an eye-opening experience.

"I was woefully unprepared for college-level Calculus and Physics," says Joesten. Fortunately, she found help and a community at CU. "I had signed up to live in Libby Hall, in the 'engineering floor' for women engineering students, so I had an easy way to make friends among my classmates." Joesten also took advantage of the tutoring services in Aden Hall, professors' office hours, and a strong group of fellow engineering students who supported each other and student together.

Finding women role models in engineering was still a challenge. "I noticed the lack of women in the College when I was a student, and wished there had been more of us.  I never had a class with a woman professor, and I don't remember having any women TA's except for one Chemistry class. On the flip side, I quickly met many of the first-year women engineering students because we were living on the same floor in Libby, which lessened the feeling of isolation. As it turned out, several of my first year Engineering classmates (men and women) would become lifelong friends, which has been a wonderful gift." 

Joesten also credits her membership in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for helping her develop her leadership skills, and exposing her to women working in engineering, which led to her first job. "As SWE president, I was fortunate to be able to attend the national SWE conference, where I met engineers from Procter & Gamble, leading me to my first "real" job as a summer engineer, and then a manufacturing supervisor for P&G."

After a ten-year stint at Proctor & Gamble, Joesten returned to school to study law at UC Berkeley, and a career change to intellectual property law.

"My decision to come to CU was one of the best choices I ever made," says Joesten. "I got a tremendous education at CU that set the table for everything that has followed, and my four years at Boulder are one of the highlights of my life. Engineers have a critical role to play in helping our society, and we need more of them! As an alum, I am been grateful to be able to volunteer my time and abilities, and donate my money, to help our College, and our students, succeed. I know that I am standing on the shoulders of the alums who have come before me and done the same for the students of my generation, and it feels good to be able to give back."