Meet the SWEFLs – Laura Alley

lauraI’m a junior in Civil Engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I got involved with SWE in the fall of 2013 as the Civil Engineering Department Representative, and this year I am our section’s Vice President of Professional Development. I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and have two Bachelor of Art degrees in Gender Studies and Anthropology. As a non-traditional student, SWE has been a great organization to help me figure out where I fit in with engineering and how to stay motivated and inspired with my new goals. So far this year I’ve had a great time planning Professional Development events like Evening with Industry and I’m looking forward to hosting many more! Outside of my classes and SWE, I enjoy hiking in the mountains, cooking, and taking ballet classes.

I am so honored to have been chosen as one of the two SWE Future Leaders (SWEFLs) for Region B this year! I do see myself as an up-and-coming leader both inside and outside of SWE, and the Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI) at the WE14 Conference was a great opportunity for me to improve my leadership skills. During these special conference sessions, I was able to connect with a mentor from one of our professional sections, work on my personal goals with other future leaders, and attend a number of exciting workshops and speeches on a variety of topics.

One of my favorite speakers during the CLI was Jo Miller, an expert in leadership coaching. She helped each of us begin to create our own unique “leadership brand,” a phrase that describes what our main strengths are, and what we are known for as a leader. Ms. Miller also analyzed the difference between mentorship and sponsorship, and the importance of having at least one sponsor in addition to mentors when you begin a career in engineering. Other sessions that inspired me included Jessica Matthews’ unique take on socially-conscious entrepreneurship, and Selena Rezvani’s step-by-step plan for “Negotiating with Confidence.” Between the CLI sessions, the Career Fair, and networking with women from all around the world, the SWE Annual Conference was an overall incredible experience for me.

WE14 – SWE Annual Conference

This month’s hot topic is the buzz about annual conference: WE14!

What is annual conference?  Annual conference is a society-wide SWE meeting.  It includes a career fair, hundreds of talks and presentations, socials, dinners, and more.  It’s a great chance to network, to find that job or internship you’ve been dreaming of, and to learn tons of new information, from outreach goals to technical tips.

This year, annual conference will be held in Los Angelos, October 22-23.  WE14 will kick off with the iScream social, with a costume contest and Halloween treats.  Thursday is chock full of sessions and awesome opportunities, include the collegiate welcome lunch, the region meetings, the opening ceremony, and the career fair kick-off. Friday continues with even more sessions, the career fair in full swing, and the collegiate leaders reception.  Saturday marks the last day of the conference, with more sessions, the WE14 outreach event – Invent It, Build It, the collegiate leadership luncheon,  the SME bowl, and Celebrate SWE, including the free post-dinner dance party!

Why should you go to WE14?

  • The Career Fair – hundreds of companies looking to hire female engineers, for internships and jobs.  There is also a career center on site, for resume tips and free printing.
  • The hundreds of awesome sessions.  These sessions are a great way to spark your interest and excitement about SWE.  Learn tons about all aspects of engineering, from leadership seminars by industry leaders to interactive sessions with the CLCC, from SWE membership tips to technical talks on the newest engineering projects.
  • The networking.  With thousands of SWE members from all around the nation and world, you will meet hundreds of people who share your interest.  It’s a great way to meet professionals and collegiates.
  • The excellent keynotes.  With every luncheon and reception having a keynote, the speakers inspire you to leadership, excellence, and embracing engineering

How do I go to WE14?

  • You can get to LA by plane, train or automobile.  Airport: LAX.  Interstates: I5, I15 and I10.  Trains: Amtrak.
  • There any tons of hotels surrounding the conference center.  WE14 even has special hotels designated for conference attendees here.  Additionally, section presidents can stay in special housing.  Sections received an email about this housing earlier this year.
  • LA has an extensive metro and bus system.  There are also multiple shuttle options that go to and from the airport, and LA also has taxi services.

Region B Goals for FY15

Every year, Region B make a set of goals for the year to help expand and improve our region.  Here are a recap of FY14 goals and successes, and FY15 goals.

3 of the 5 FY14 goals were met: having a ten pair mentoring program, having more section reports in on time, and improving region electronic communication by creating a Region B dropbox.  Unfortunately, this means 2 goals were not met: Region B reached only 11,441 K-12 students, not 25000, and Membership retention was only 63%, not the goal of 75%.

This year’s region goals:

  1. Continue the Mentoring Program with at least 10 pairs
  2. Continue SWEeter Futures and work towards reaching 25,000 K-12 students
    1. Submit online at SurveyMonkey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/omtool
  3. Have 95% of Section Reports in on time
    1. Download template/instruction here: FY15_Report Template
  4. Increase Region B membership by 5% (through recruitment and retention)
  5. Improve region communications – update the region website and create new email contact provisions
  6. Complete funding for the Endowed Region Scholarship

Additional Collegiate Goals:

  1. Retain 50% of members in collegiate sections
  2. Increase Collegiate to Career Memberships by 3%
    1. This is a membership that is $50 for the member’s entire education (including grad school) plus the first year as a professional ($100).  This is a huge savings!
  3. Have all sections in good standing
  4. Have each section submit nominations for a collegiate and an individual award

 

Collegiate Leadership Institute at WE14

The Collegiate Leadership institute is a three day set of sessions specially designed to prepare collegiate SWE members to become leaders in engineering and in their section.  Each day there will be two or three sessions, which should be highly interactive.  All of the speakers and facilitators selected for the Institute are noted experts in the area of leadership and career development.  Curriculum with focus on communication skills, emotional intelligence, leading teams, effective negotiation, and preparing for and transitioning to the workforce.

Speaker highlights include:

  • Keynote presenter will be Jessica Matthews: Co-founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, Inc.  She is the recipient of numerous awards professionally for her work at Uncharted Play.  She was invited to sign that America Invents Act with President Obama and serves as the Ambassador of Entrepreneurship for Nigeria.

Criteria for participation:

  • Active collegiate members of the Society
  • Exhibit strong leadership potential
  • Aspire to take on leadership and executive roles within their career
  • Aspire to be a catalyst for change in the world
  • Intellectually curious

Space is limited to 40 attendees, so we can only accommodate up to three women from a given university.  This is a free opportunity for any collegiate conference attendee, so don’t hesitate to apply.  You will also receive priority scheduling at career counseling.

Apply online here. Email learning@swe.org with any questions about CLI.

Then and Now – SWE Annual Conference

Sorry this is coming a little late ladies!  But I found the timeline of the History of SWE’s Annual Conference and I just had to do a comparison between all the amazing people then, to all the amazing people now! 🙂

Opening Social

Then – Founding Meeting Picnic on May 27, 1950 at Green Engineering Camp, New Jersey

Founders Picnic 1950

Now – iScream Social on November 23, 2013 at Baltimore Convention Center, Maryland

iScream Social 2013

Career Fair

Then – Atlanta Career Fair in 1978 in Atlanta, Georgia

Career Fair 1978

Now – Hundreds waiting outside for the Doors to open to the career fair in 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland

Career Fair 2013 Career Fair 2013

Awards Banquet

Then – Barbara Wollmershauser, Ricki Rogers and Irene Sharpe at the 1980 Awards Reception in Cherry Hill, NJ

Awards Banquet 1980

Now – Awards Banquet for the 2013 Annual Convention in Baltimore, Maryland

Awards Banquet 2013

Celebrate SWE!

Then – 1963 Banquet Dinner in Denver, Colorado Convention, 1980 President Ada Pressman speaking at Cherry Hill, NJ Convention

Denver Banquet 1963 President 1980

Now – Members sitting at the tables and 2013 President Stacey DelVecchio speaks to the banquet in Baltimore, Maryland

Celebrate SWE 2013Celebrate SWE 2013

Photo Booth Pictures

Then – Members behind SWE Cartoon Character Cutouts at 1965 Annual Convention in Detroit, Michigan

Photo Booth 1965

Now – Members go nuts with props and accessories at 2013 Annual Convention in Baltimore, Maryland

Photo Booth 2013

Annual Convention Sessions

Then – Discussion at 1978 Atlanta, Georgia Convention, 1979 Session in San Francisco, California Convention, 1980 session in Cherry Hill, NJ

Session 1978 Session 1979 1980_av2564_VetterPressman

Now – Sessions at the 2013 Baltimore Convention

Session 2013 Session 2013 Session 2013

I just wanted to share and show the amazing milestones we’ve met along our history from the founding members to the amazing women who keep strive for new heights.  Take a minute to thank those who came before us and all the work and effort they put in to make SWE as amazing as it is today!

From Santa Barbara to Baltimore- Tips for Attending a SWE Conference

The women of SWE at UCSB were super excited to attend this year’s annual SWE conference all the way in Baltimore, MD. The month of September was spent reaching out to local companies, as well as school funding sources to find ways to sponsor our travel. We were very happy when we received enough funding to send 4 girls to the conference! All it took was a little bit of reaching out. For 3 of us, this was our first SWE conference ever!

We eventually arrived in Baltimore after what seemed like an endless day of sitting in planes, trains and automobiles to find that to our surprise, Baltimore is FREEZING COLD. Unfortunately, none of us packed our heavy coats and we knew it was the beginning of a very chilly four days.

Day 1 of the conference was spent sleeping in, as we were all very exhausted and exploring the convention center (it was too cold to venture outside). We also attended the Region B meeting, which was a great way to feel more connected to other women in our region. The first night contained the opening of what seemed like the world’s largest career fair, followed by awesome hospitality suites put on by the companies. Day 2 was filled with booth after booth at the career fair, and even a couple of on the spot interviews with potential employers. It was exciting, fun and scary at the same time. On the last day, we were brave enough to actually leave the convention center and explore Baltimore for a few hours. We did a walking tour of Fells Point, went to a farmers market and ate a great meal at a local diner. We spent the last night at the Celebrate SWE dance, which was super fun and a great way to end the trip!

The trip had a lot of great moments, with a couple of unexpected hurdles along the way, but in the end served as an amazing bonding experience for the four of us. We gained a lot from our experience…here are some helpful tips we learned along the way:

1)If you want to attend a conference, but can’t afford to go, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for sponsorship. People usually want to help you.

2) I can’t emphasize this one enough: CHECK THE WEATHER and be sure you are packing the right clothes for the city you are traveling to.

3) Don’t be afraid to go alone- we met the awesome President from UC Irvine who came all by herself and was having a blast.

4)Pack a professional but comfortable outfit for the career fair.

5)If the conference is happening at the same time as classes (they usually are), try to finish all your homework before attending. There really wasn’t much free time to study in the hotel room!

6) Make sure to set some time aside to explore the city you are traveling to. The convention center doesn’t really count as seeing the city.

7) Try to attend as many seminars and discussion panels as possible, most of them are very helpful and a great way to network.

8) Take advantage of the free food (there is lots of it).

9) Introduce yourself to as many people as possible. You never know what a connection you made at the conference could lead you to.

10) Have a positive attitude! Things will go wrong when you are traveling, but with a positive attitude, you won’t even remember the stressful situations.

Hope all of you who attended had a great time. Can’t wait to see everyone at the Regional Conference!

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