CSULB SWE’s Welcome Back Picnic

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To celebrate the start of the Spring 2018 semester, CSULB SWE hosted a welcome back picnic on February 10. We saw a great outcome from our officers and established members, and we were also happy to introduce new members to our club and see many of our friends from other engineering organizations, especially from ASME, on campus. Our Involvement Chair planned a great day with volleyball, Heads Up, fruit platters, and lots of socializing and networking. Members brought lots of fruit such as mangoes, cantaloupe, strawberries, and kiwis so we could make fruit bowls. We also snacked on chips, salsa, crackers, and cheese. Setting up our volleyball net was quite the task and the weather was cold and windy, but we had a lot of fun playing volleyball with our members and friends. Our Welcome Back Picnic helped us get the semester off to a great start and we can’t wait for another successful semester here at CSULB SWE!

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CSULB SWE’s GBM #1 and Student Panel

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CSULB SWE hosted our first general body meeting of the semester on February 21. In addition to welcoming new members to our club and informing our members about upcoming events, we hosted our first student internship and research panel comprised of our members, officers, and former officers who have experience in research and industry.

SWE has been designated a new meeting room in CSULB’s Engineering and Computer Science building this semester. We were so happy to see a great turnout for attendance at our first meeting. The room was completely full and we had to bring in extra chairs for our attendees. We were glad so many members were able to hear our student panelists speak.

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Our board prepared a series of commonly asked questions and our President managed the panel questioning. It was great to learn more about the accomplishments of our amazing SWE members. The panelists discussed how they chose their engineering field and their experiences at work. They also imparted advice on how to overcome self-doubt and how to obtain and  succeed in internships and research positions. After the panelists completed their questions, our President opened for floor to our members for a question and answer session. Many members were also able to network with our student panelists at the end of our meeting.

Our panel was a wonderful opportunity for our members to learn how to enter their field of choice, directly from their peers. We were also excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our panelists and provide inspiration and networking opportunities for our members. As usual, food was provided at our meeting. This time, we brought WingStop, which was a great hit with our members!

Thank you to Katie, Lala, Hope, Elyssa, Anthony, Pooja, and Trisha for taking time out of their day to speak on our first student panel!

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SWE-UCLA Tours the LA Sanitation Center

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On January 27th, 2018, five SWE-UCLA students traveled to the sunny beaches of Playa Del Rey – not with towels and beach umbrellas, but with curiosity and excitement to see the Los Angeles Environmental Learning Center (ELC) at Hyperion. A half-hour trip by car brought us to the LA Sanitation facility, just by the ocean with a seaside view.

The afternoon began with a short presentation from a few LA Sanitation recruiters and engineers. Engineers gave a brief overview of some of the major projects they’ve been working on recently, as well as the impact of those projects on the city of Los Angeles. During this presentation, we learned some fascinating statistics on the scale of their work – for example, LA Sanitation’s Solid Resources Program has achieved things like the city-wide implementation of reusable bags, and the reduction of carbon monoxide by ninety percent! The presentation concluded with an overview of the programs and positions available for engineering students and graduates, and some Q&A.

Next, we were led downstairs and given hair nets and green hard hats. We were to wear them for the duration of the outdoor tour, where we would be guided around the several buildings and machines where chemical processes were happening.
The students and LA Sanitation representatives all boarded a shuttle, and were guided on a short drive around the premises. The guide joked about leading a free, LA Sanitation-version of a Universal Studios tour. On this drive, we were told the roles and processes of each of the buildings and structures we passed. Occasionally, the shuttle was parked so that the group could walk around the structures together. We learned a lot of facts about the history of the plants, and what improvements LA Sanitation has made over the years to improve the Los Angeles environment.

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Upon returning to the ELC building and returning our hard hats and hair nets, we spent some time mingling and networking with the LA Sanitation employees one-on-one. Some students exchanged contact information and resumes with engineers and recruiters, and asked more specific questions about their roles, career paths, and academic suggestions. After wrapping up the tour for the day, the engineering students left to return to UCLA with a better knowledge of a career in environmental engineering, just as sunset was dawning on the beach.

SWE-UCLA Prepares Members for Evening with Industry

This year, the UCLA chapter decided to hold a panel of students who have had internships before to prepare underclassmen for our upcoming Evening with Industry (EWI). We had students from different majors, including chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, and computer science to answer questions about how they got their internship and what it was like. We first asked pre-determined questions that were given to the panelists ahead of time, and then followed it with questions from the audience. Topics such as internship recruitment, interviews, daily life, and the overall experience. The attendees seemed very engaged with the program, based on the large amount of questions that were asked by attending students. Overall, the event was a huge success, and something that SWE will continue to have in the future.

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We additionally organized an Etiquette Dinner, hosted by Northrop Grumman, in to prepare members for the formal dinner portion of EWI. Since Northrop Grumman was unable to attend EWI this year, this was a great chance for participants to have a similar experience and more intimate networking opportunity than they would have had at EWI.

We brought in an “etiquette expert” from the UCLA Career Center and he was phenomenal. By the end of the presentation, every single attendee could give a long list of the important tidbits they learned. It was very nice that Northrop Grumman was hosting but not leading the event because it was a great dynamic to get to learn alongside the representatives instead of feeling pressure in the typical recruiter-student dynamic.

The presenter was hilarious, engaging, entertaining and beyond knowledgeable on the subject matter. This event and dinner could have easily been a dry and boring ordeal but he ensured it was anything but that. The night was also a great “dry run” for EWI since it was in the same location with the same catering staff, allowing all of us to feel comfortable and familiarized when we sat down at EWI the next week. When EWI finally rolled around, I felt like an etiquette pro noticing all the do’s and don’t’s I learned from the Etiquette Dinner. I was able to truly focus my thoughts and energy on the conversations of the evening instead of worrying about little things such as how to position my silverware when I’m done eating or how to appropriately butter my bread. I would definitely recommend holding this event next year and would not change a thing!

Cal Poly SLO SWE: Fourth Grade Days, Feb. 20th-23rd, 2018

In honor of National Engineers Week, Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers arranged over 40 volunteers to visit 31 fourth grade classrooms across the Central Coast as part of their annual Fourth Grade Days event. Before the event, teachers were sent a promo video to present to their class, which starred a princess being attacked by dragon, with nothing but everyday supplies to protect her (link to video). During the event, the students became part of the story as the smart princess needed the fourth graders’ help to build a device to defend her castle from a mean, grumpy dragon. When visiting classrooms, volunteers first gave a brief engineering presentation where they explained basic projectile motion as well as concepts such as precision and accuracy. At the end of the day, volunteers led the students in a catapult challenge where students were divided into teams of four and tasked to build a catapult. This activity was concluded with a competition where teams inventions were tested for by firing mini marshmallows at a dragon bullseye. Students were given no example or model for their catapult, encouraging them to use their imaginations and work with their teammates to come up with the best model for their device. When the time came to test their creation, they had three tries to hit the dragon, with the victorious team winning sweets.

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This year, Fourth Grade Days reached almost 1000 students in just four days, almost doubling the previous record for the event. In an effort to outreach to underserved communities, many volunteers drove over half an hour to reach their classroom, thus giving students who might not normally have exposure to engineering a chance to meet role models and participate in an engineering challenge. The goal of this event was not only to introduce students to engineering, but also to encourage members of the Cal Poly community to give back through volunteering for and planning the event. Taking a subcommittee of fifteen people almost three months to prepare, this event also allowed members of the community to hone their leadership and project management skills while serving their community.

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Cal Poly SLO SWE: SCE Outreach Event

As part of a Society of Civil Engineers outreach event on Friday, February 9th, Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers hosted a Space Lander engineering activity for groups of elementary school students. Four groups of roughly 30 students were taught about the engineering design process and basic concepts of shock absorption and stabilization to successfully bring two marshmallow “aliens” to Earth. Given no example or baseline to go off of, students came up with everything from spring platforms to gliders in order to safely bring their aliens to the ground without them falling out of the lander. After each team had designed and built their lander, students participated in a friendly competition to see which lander was the most effective. The winning team won bragging rights and a sweet reward.

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Cal Poly SLO SWE: Tunnel Elementary Outreach

The morning of February 9th, 120 fourth graders came to Cal Poly to tour campus and do an hour-long engineering activity with SWE volunteers. The event was coordinated by Prof. Kristen Cardinal, a Tunnel Elementary alumni and current Cal Poly Biomedical Engineering professor, and was meant to motivate the students to study hard and think about their future careers. During the activity, students put on their astronaut helmets and thought like an aerospace engineer to create a Space Lander to safely hold two marshmallow aliens. Shown only a short presentation about basic physics concepts, students were divided into teams of four and left to rely on their imaginations and teammates to come up with a design for their lander. Five SWE volunteers shared their engineering expertise and facilitated the lander-dropping competition, where one team of students was rewarded with candy for having the most effective design.