In this episode of Diverse, SWE President Dayna Johnson sits down with some of the cast of Netflix’s Baking Impossible. Co-winners Sara Schonour and Rodolfo Goncalves join Dayna along with fellow contestants Jacob Swiezy and Brandi Romines and Baking Impossible judge Andrew Smyth to talk about what baking is and their experience on the show.
They also discuss WE22, SWE’s annual conference, where Sara, Rodolfo, Jacob and Brandi will join Dayna in creating an edible landscape and taking a live stress test with the help of the audience! This incredible event, Engineers make and bake the impossible, will take place on Saturday October 22 during the closing ceremony of WE22. You can find more information about this event here.
Host: Dayna Johnson
Dayna Johnson, PE, is responsible for emerging technology programs and operations at GE Gas Power. She joined GE in 2012 as a sales manager, leading large teams through the tender process to develop proposals for high voltage electrical substations. His performance in this role earned him a place in GE’s Accelerated Leadership Program. Prior to joining GE, she worked as a civil engineer, designing water and wastewater projects for fast-growing communities in suburban Chicago.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Valparaiso. She is a Registered Professional Engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional.
Johnson has been an active member of SWE since joining as a Collegiate Member in 2000. She served as Chicago Chapter President and Chapter Representative and Region H Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer. Awards and Recognition and Co-Chair of the WE11 Local Organizing Committee. She was also a member of the Governance Task Force and a Senator before joining the Board of Directors. She received the SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award in 2011 and the Emerging Leader Award in 2018.
Sara Schonour is a lighting enthusiast, nature and food lover and world traveler. When she’s not working on her dream property (net positive by 2050!) with her wife, she’s typically hiking, skiing, drawing, doing a puzzle, or hanging out at the community theater. Sara is Vice President of Education and Engagement at Lytei, where she helps lead a team of changemakers and cheerleaders for the world of lighting design.
Prior to Lytei, Sara founded and ran an award-winning lighting studio for an internationally renowned architectural firm. Sara loves to learn and also loves to teach; she has served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer for several university lighting programs in addition to presenting lighting and engineering concepts to K-12 STEAM students.
She regularly speaks at events, podcasts, and conferences on all sorts of topics around light, engineering, leadership, career pathing, and now, what it’s like to be on TV- reality ! You can see another side of Sara on Netflix’s hit show, Baking Impossible.
An award-winning mastermind is a family man who puts fun at the heart of everything he does. Her lively and enthusiastic spirit is reflected in every confection. Everyone who enters Rodolfo’s world is fast friends.
Born in Brazil and now claiming New York as his home, Rodolfo is no stranger to hard work and perseverance. His imagination, full to bursting, transcends what is expected of dessert and flavor. No idea is too big for him.
In fact, challenges are welcome! You can watch Rodolfo on Food Network’s “Halloween Wars,” airing now on Sundays.
Brandi Romines – wife, mom of two and baker extraordinaire, or “Caker” as her friends and family like to call her. When she’s not in the kitchen cooking up something crazy, Brandi loves spending time with her kids, Titus and Larkin. She also loves her Kentucky Wildcats and can be found at every home football game and most home basketball games. She also loves the outdoors and fishing at the lake or in a creek with her husband, Shawn.
She doesn’t just bake cakes! In the summer, you’ll most likely find her building her own animatronics in anticipation of her favorite holiday, Halloween!
Jacob is a hobbyist, engineer, cooking enthusiast and athletics fanatic. He graduated from MIT in 2019 with a degree in aerospace engineering and currently works as an electrical engineer at Microsoft. His engineering background and innate curiosity have led him to tackle projects ranging from rockets to robots to AI tools. When not busy at work, Jacob continues to apply his engineering skills to DIY electronic projects and home improvement projects.
When his mind needs a break, Jacob turns to the kitchen to release his creative energy and to the outdoors to release his physical energy. Jacob enjoys being creative in the kitchen, often using recipes more as inspiration and less as instructions. Outside, Jacob loves to run, cycle and walk his Jack Russell Terrier, Odie.