Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Society of Women Engineers (CPSWE) strives to provide a gateway between the collegiate and corporate worlds by arranging multiple networking events throughout the year. This year, CPSWE held its third annual Networking Showcase on September 27, 2017. This event gives Cal Poly students the opportunity to talk with company representatives during the week of the university Fall Career Fair. Some of the 16 companies that attended this year’s showcase included PepsiCo, Edwards Lifesciences, Texas Instruments, Applied Materials, Eaton, Micron Technology, Orbital ATK, JPL, Northrop Grumman, Palo Alto Networks, Phillips 66, Rockwell Automation, Southern California Edison, Syserco, ViaSat, and Western Digital.
During the evening, over 85 Cal Poly students seeking employment and internships were able to meet and converse with industry representatives. CPSWE provided refreshments and appetizers for all attendees in order to create a relaxed atmosphere, conducive for strengthening professional relationships. Companies in attendance received flash drives with resumes supplied by interested students. Overall, Networking Showcase was hugely successful in connecting students with prospective employers. By offering an additional alternative setting to discuss career options, the Networking Showcase aligns with the goals of SWE by stimulating “women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders” (swe.org).
Cal Poly SWE’s collegiate section was able to take 31 officers and members to the SWE National Conference in Austin, TX from October 25-28th, 2017. Out of this group, 11 people were first time National Conference attendees!
We started planning this trip during spring quarter by inviting our officers to submit applications and express why they were interested in attending the conference. Several of our executive officers then reviewed those applications and were so impressed with the passionate and enthusiastic responses that we decided to accept all those who applied! All attendees were required to sign a contract agreeing to attend certain events while at conference and to represent Cal Poly SWE honorably. Travel arrangements were made during the last few weeks of the 2016-17 school year including booking flights and reserving hotel rooms, and remaining logistics such as organizing carpools and getting students excused from classes was dealt with at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.
At conference, our officers had the opportunity to meet and connect with many other SWE members on both collegiate and professional levels. Conference events included several keynote speakers, a career fair with several hundred companies in attendance, breakout sessions and lightning talks on topics ranging from professional development and leadership to communication skills and self-discovery. There were also several engineering competitions and outreach events happening throughout the conference. In between all this, our group still found time to explore the exciting sights, sounds, and tastes of Austin!
At the annual awards dinner called Celebrate SWE!, Cal Poly SWE’s collegiate section won six awards including the Boeing Multicultural Award, the SWE Mission Awards for Public Policy and Leadership Development and Mentoring, and the SWE Mission Award Gold for Collegiate section. Cal Poly’s Team Tech placed third with their project of a Solar Powered Water Ozonation Device. Additionally, recent Cal Poly SWE alumni, Kristen Reynier, won second place in the Collegiate Technical Poster Competition with her poster detailing the use of a transtibial prosthetic for walking, running, and swimming.
Overall, this conference was very successful in inspiring our officers and members to keep connecting and engineering! It was the perfect opportunity for our members to get to know one another better. We are looking forward to attending future SWE conferences, including WE Local Phoenix in February 2018!
The Girl Scout Cybersecurity Day event for – Staying Secure in a Cyber World – was a huge success on November 4th, 2017! Sixty-Four Girl Scouts from Monterey to Ventura participated in the event and learned about cybersecurity, digital forensics and internet safety. Cal Poly SLO Society of Women Engineers members volunteered to assist Girl Scouts of grades K-12 in cyber-related activities and encourage the young girls to follow their engineering and technology passions.
Girl Scouts learned about cyber through hands-on activities such as internet safety mini-games, encryption cipher decoder wheels, computer forensics with recovering deleted files, and the [d0x3d] network security board game. The event also gave Cal Poly SWE the opportunity to connect with clubs across Cal Poly by volunteering with individuals representing Cal Poly’s White Hat, Women In Business, and Child Development club.
On Sunday, October 22 over 35 SWE members involved in the SWE Big/Little program spent their morning at Avila Valley Barn for the second social of the year. Members were able to enjoy a day filled with baked goods, apple cider, pumpkins, mazes, hayrides, and more. Big’s and Little’s were able to grow their relationships and interact not just with one another, but with other members present. Events like this helps submerge Little’s into the community by allowing them to see and experience locations off campus. Little’s are then meeting new people, in addition to, exploring everything San Luis Obispo has to offer.
On Monday, September 25 the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers hosted their first Big/Little social. The Big/Little Program serves as a mentorship program for incoming freshman and transfer female engineers. Students apply over the summer and are then paired with upperclassmen. Pairs are then encouraged to email one another and answer any questions that the new student may have. For our first event of the year students were invited to a Cookies and Conversation social where Big’s and Little’s were able to meet one another for the first time. Students were able to enjoy treats throughout the event as they performed icebreakers!
During Fall GirlScout Day on October 15th, 30 elementary-aged girl scouts came to Cal Poly to spend the morning “trick-or-treating” through three engineering activities. Led by SWE volunteers, the scouts extracted DNA from a pumpkin, designed their own foam roller coasters, and directed each other through an obstacle course to learn about the way computer scientists give instructions to computers. As they completed each activity, volunteers gave them candy to take home. This Halloween-themed event gave the girls a hands-on introduction to the fundamentals of mechanical, chemical/biological, and computer engineering while forming relationships with Cal Poly engineering students. Throughout the event, the volunteers were encouraged to share their passion for engineering and connect with the scouts so that they would have engineering role models as they continue with the academic careers.
Softec’s 9th Annual Robotics Expo was held at the Madonna Expo Center on Monday, September 25th, 2017. The event was an opportunity for students of all ages to get exposed to advanced robotics leagues and applications of engineering and robotics in industry. At the expo, Cal Poly SWE provided children who attended with a hands-on engineering activity to teach them about aerodynamics, problem-solving, and the concept of engineering. Each student was provided with an assortment of supplies and asked to “engineer” a parachute to safely glide to the ground. This activity resulted in many inventive solutions in which the students designed and re-designed their parachutes to best use gravity and air resistance to their advantage.