Finals week tips and Tricks

In honor of the coming finals in the next few weeks, what does your section do to support your members during finals week?

In my section, we get donated bagels for Einstein’s and offer students free coffee and bagels in a study room in the engineering building. We’ve also done study skills lectures/ discussions with some professors and student success advocates.

What does your section do?


Hot Topic – Networking

Networking is key to a successful career.  If allows you to climb the corporate ladder, find new jobs, and navigate your career.  College is an excellent time to start networking, since established engineers can help you find internships and jobs while providing career guidance.  SWE is a great way to expand your network. With tens of thousands of members though, where do you start?

Your peers are a valuable resource.  Go to SWE socials, volunteer events, and showcases to meet other students who share your goals and interests. Upperclassmen can tell you how they got internships and how to survive classes, which is invaluable.

SWE also gives you access to local engineering professionals.  Host a joint event or volunteer alongside them.  Many professional SWE sections enjoy working with local collegiate sections, so contact your local section.  Invite professionals to your sections events, especially professional development events like resume workshops. And don’t forget conferences! I’ve met professionals from around the country at conferences. Don’t be afraid to sit with new people at lunches, especially those sponsored by a company.  They are there to meet the engineers of tomorrow!

Once you meet someone, don’t let them slip away.  Connect with them on LinkedIn or- write them a thank you email. If you see them at another conference, be sure to day hi!

How do you network?

Leadership Transitions

As we enter the last quarter of the school year, it comes time to elect new SWE leaders, both for sections and regions.  The question now is how to keep your section going strong with the programs from this year as leaders graduate or move to different roles.

There are a few ways to help with a smooth leadership transition, and it varies by between sections and years.  In deciding how to handle the change, your section needs to think about how many leaders are leaving, how many new faces will be on leadership, and whether your section is looking to expand or stay similar.  Here are some ideas to help make this year’s transition a smooth one:

  • Hold a CLCC  event.  The Collegiate Leadership Coaches offer multiple helpful sessions for transitions, such as Building Teams, Leadership, Strategic and Tactical Planning, and SWE Officer Training.  Read about the modules here, and contact our Region B CLCC lead, Susie Kirkland, at
  • Have your current leaders write a packet about what they do and some helpful hints about how to best handle the job
  • Hold a planning party! Get all of the current and future leadership together and create a plan for next year.  Layout which events you want to do, what kind of improvements you want to do, and then break up into pairs (new and current president, new and current treasurer, ect) to go over the ins and outs of the coming year.

These are only a few ways your section can handle transitions.

How does your section handle transitions? What has worked for you in the past?

Refocusing SWE at Embry Riddle to Help Growth

In past years, the Society of Women Engineers at the Embry-Riddle campus has been pretty small. We have a small campus (roughly 1,800) and the membership always averaged about 7 regular members. In order to be a successful organization, ERAU SWE needed a change. This past year, the ERAU SWE Board revamped their mission and goals. Instead of focusing on planning events for the community, they first wanted the organization to focus on growing internally.

Along with having our first male ERAU SWE President, the organization also began sub-committees. The three main focuses of the organization had become: research, competition, and outreach. The majority of the members had joined the research or competition committees hoping to learn more in their areas of interest. This was extremely beneficial to the freshman, who would not normally be given hands-on experience until their junior years. By the end of last year, the organization 15 regular members.

FirstMeetingHaving these goals had helped the few members of SWE focus on areas of growth instead of trying to accomplish what large SWE organizations can achieve on large campuses. The ERAU SWE board believed that having an organization with clearly defined goals will then translate to being able to help the community. This can be seen by starting off the year strong with 30 students, both male and female, attending every meeting. While it may not be much to large campuses, to the small Embry-Riddle campus with time-consuming classes, this is a step in the right direction.


– Dadija Bliudzius, ERUA

September Hot Topic – Membership Retention and Recruitment

Membership is an important topic in every SWE section.  It is our members that make up SWE, from general members to section leadership to society level leadership.  So, how does a section gain new members?  And how do you retain the members you’ve got?

  1. Start the year off strong – finding new members is easiest to do at the start of the year.  Try hosting a table at your university’s student club fair.  Visit underclassmen classes in the engineering department, such as introductory courses.  Host an opening social to welcome back old members and to introduce new members to SWE.  Try something different and exciting for your opening social.  The University of Utah SWE brought puppies to play with at the opening social, UC Riverside hosted an ice cream social,
  2. Recognize your members – provide incentives for members to keep coming to events, such as giveaways of SWE swag (conferences and job fairs are a great place to pick up engineering themed goodies) or free food (always popular with college students).
  3. Use social media – a great way to keep members engaged is through social media.  Start a blog or a facebook page.  Both are free and easy to use, and can provide a great resource to current and prospective members alike. Use this to ADVERTISE.  Nothing drives members away like not knowing what is going on.  Use social media, email lists, and flyers posted around buildings to get the word out about SWE.
  4. Ask your members – everyone wants to know that their voice is heard.  Ask your members what they want out the organization.  Are they interested in outreach events, or in networking with companies?  Are they looking to partner with the local professional SWE section or get additional leadership training?  What kind of socials are they interested in: movie nights, resume workshops, how to classes?  Surveys, online and in person, are a simple way to ask your members.  Another simple way is by simply talking to your members.  When you see them between classes, chat with them.  After meetings, take time to mingle and get to know your members.
  5. Encourage participation – invite new members to come to leadership meetings.  Suggest to members that they join a committee, or take on some responsibility in planning an event.  Help members join SWE at the society level, offer discounts on events and t-shirts for those who join.

If you have a best practice, or something that your section uses to recruit and keep members, please leave in the comments.


USC: Section President’s Experience

Enjoy the post below from SWE USC’s President:

“Hello everyone!! Since it’s been on the top of my to-do list recently, I thought I’d show you the inside workings ofSWE, Viterbi’s largest student organization (233 members at my last count), and give myself a nice little reminder of the things I need to accomplish in the process.

My SWE To-Do list, most of which I hope to accomplish in the next week or so.

My SWE To-Do list, most of which I hope to accomplish in the next week or so.

This year, I was elected President of SWE at USC, and I am deeply honored to work with the amazing leaders of SWE and the many women engineers here at Viterbi. During my four years here, I’ve met such amazing women with touching stories and impressive ambitions, and I’m proud to call many of them my friends, who I’ve made through SWE.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I was very nervous to take this position. I served as a VP for two years before, but now I’m personally responsible for the direction the club takes. Our triumphs, I get to take credit for :) But our mistakes, I accept the blame for.

Viterbi Ball Date Auction, that was so creepy. Very embarrassing moment for me here

Viterbi Ball Date Auction, that was so creepy. Very embarrassing moment for me here

So here’s the upcoming duties of mine to keep our org on track!

(1) Industry Advisory Board – This is a group of corporate representatives who give advice to the Center for Engineering DIversity about how to best prepare their members for jobs after they graduate. They also give excellent advice to the student organization and mentor us. I will be meeting with the 17 board members tomorrow to give a 5 minute presentation about the progress SWE has made on it’s goals since I saw them last fall. Their advice has helped me significantly in deciding the vision for our section.

(2) Regional Conference – on March 1st-3rd, I will be traveling with 11 other SWE leaders (and future leaders!!) to Region B Conference in Salt Lake City. Cassandra and Caitlin will be going! Last year it was in Palm Springs. At the conference, we meet leaders from other collegiate and professional sections in our region, attend workshops to improve our leadership skills, troll for jobs at the career fair, and applaud our many awards!

SWE Region B Conference Spring 2012 in Palm Springs

SWE Region B Conference Spring 2012 in Palm Springs

(3) Tommy Awards – These are given out by USC for student organization who excel in areas like Professional Development, Leadership, Community Service, Academics, etc. The application is due next Friday, so I need to get cracking if I want SWE to get recognized for how awesome it is!

the Tommy Awards trophy!!

the Tommy Awards trophy!!

(4) Viterbi Talent Show  – last year SWE enrolled a 7 woman acapella act called N’SWYNC singing a homemade jam of Backstreet’s “I Want You Back” and “Forget You” and “Gold Digger” I am trying my hardest to make this a tradition. Last year we were such a hit, we made it into the Viterbi Magazine!!!!

N'SWYNC Photo Shoot in RTH Lobby

N’SWYNC Photo Shoot in RTH Lobby

(5) Section Report – Probably my most serious duty as president is to track all the events we do as a section, see how they align as a goal and write a monthly report to my higher-ups within the region :/

(6) Post Event Forms – This is how we track events, how many people went, who did we partner with, what went well and what didn’t. If Viterbi or the Undergraduate Student Government fund an event, they require Post Event Forms within 2 weeks. Also, these go to make our End of The Year Report which is documented and archived for future SWEsters to learn from. I need to bug Cassandra to make one for tonights event, Spring Evening With Industry!

Flower and Boeing alarm clock from SWE Spring Evening with Industry. Also won Boeing mug, water bottle, and insulated bag!

Flower and Boeing alarm clock from SWE Spring Evening with Industry. Also won Boeing mug, water bottle, insulated bag!

(7) General Member’s Retreat – Honestly still deciding on the event and the day to do this. Right now, based on a poll I took of Officer Council, the most attractive ideas are laser tag, trampolines, or a murder mystery dinner, sometime in late April. That feels like a ways off but I know how fast things come up. In the Fall, we had a Yacht Party!

Yacht called the Tiki Mermaid, All Aboard for SWE Fall General Member's Retreat!

Yacht called the Tiki Mermaid, All Aboard for SWE Fall General Member’s Retreat!

(8) Potluck – This Sunday before our biweekly meeting, we’ll be having an Officer’s Potluck. Nothing fancy just a chance to catch up and eat dinner together. I’m bringing pizza rolls because I have no concept of heathy or home-cooked foods. I just need to send an email (always emails!!) asking what people will bringing and confirming whose house we’re meeting at :)

SWE SWAG - pen and compact mirror

SWE SWAG – pen and compact mirror

If you made it all the way through this blog, hope you learned something about SWE, my life as President, and why I love this org so much!!!” – Emily, USC SWE