In anticipation, Colleen Layman, former SWE president and vice president/director of professional services-engineering at HDR shared with us why Alma Forman is her female role model.
SWE has provided me with quite a few role models over the years, incredible women who inspire me to strive to be the best person I can be. Alma Forman, shown here in the photo with me from WE16, is just one of them. Alma was the first woman to graduate from Drexel University (one of my alma maters) with a Civil Engineering degree and she was a founding member of SWE. Through her stories of her college years she has transported me back in time to those days and the challenges that young women studying engineering faced during the 1940s. That alone makes her inspiring – the strength of character and determination that she must have had just to pursue her dream of becoming an engineer. I have often wondered if I would have had the same courage myself.
One of my most prized mementos from my tenure as SWE President is a handwritten note of encouragement that Alma sent me. Her timing was perfect – I was struggling to balance work, home, and SWE responsibilities – and somehow, she seemed to know that. Her words of wisdom and support that day meant more to me than I can ever explain.
On August 26th, or in the days leading up, share a photo of your female role model with the hashtags #SeeHerBeHer and #WomensEqualityDay. Tag SWE and FIRST in your post so we can interact with you!
In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26th as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.
SWE and FIRST have a common goal to support diversity and inclusion in engineering, technology and all other disciplines, and supporting women is at the core of that focus. Both organizations are actively engaged in developing strategies and creating programs that empower women to reach their fullest potential. With the #SeeHerBeHer campaign for #WomensEqualityDay, we hope to create a conversation, to inspire sharing and to empower women to advance and succeed wherever and whenever they are!
To join the movement, make sure to follow FIRST and SWE on Twitter: