The Monthly SWE Newsletter
July 2014
March 2012

Join STAY WITH IT: The Outreach Program for Engineering Students

Join STAY WITH IT, a national outreach program to help every college engineering student graduate and start a successful career in the field. This amazing effort is an unprecedented collaboration between the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, corporate leaders, academia and you! SWE is proud to participate, and we encourage you to become members of this new program.

As you know, the first few years of engineering school can be challenging, and students sometimes have doubts about their choice of major, or their ability to succeed in such a rigorous field of study. As an engineering professional or current engineering student, you can share your advice and experiences to encourage aspiring engineers to STAY WITH IT.

The campaign officially launches on March 14, 2012 with a “Day of Engineering": a national celebration of engineers and their achievements. The STAY WITH IT campaign centers around a virtual community that will connect students to their peers, experienced engineers, role models and other influencers who will encourage and motivate them to stay in their field through graduation.

Here are a few ways you can help make this initiative a success:

  • Join STAY WITH IT: “Like” their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, and join conversations about how to succeed in engineering courses, internships or early careers. Hear from other students and successful engineers about their path to graduation and rewarding careers.
  • Invite your colleagues and aspiring engineers to join STAY WITH IT and help spread the word about the new campaign.
  • Attend the STAY WITH IT webcast on March 14: This special Facebook live webcast is hosted by Montel Williams, television personality, radio talk show host, actor and engineer! Panelists include Paul Otellini, President & CEO of Intel Corporation; Charles Bolden, former astronaut and NASA Administrator; executives from Facebook, Google and Comcast; and a special message from President Barack Obama. Each panelist will discuss the challenges they overcame in their education and careers.

Join STAY WITH IT today!

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Collegiate Director's Letter (March)

Over these past few weekends, many regions held their conferences, and I could tell that they were successful by reading all the positive posts on Facebook and Twitter. It never ceases to amaze me what one can learn at a SWE region conference. At the beginning of March, I attended my sixth Region H conference. I participated in many fantastic seminars, met some amazing women, caught up with great friends and attended an incredible keynote dinner speech. One of the seminars I attended focused on how our brains operate and make decisions. The overall premise was that our brains can only make effective, smart decisions while evaluating three or four items at a time. Thus, when it comes to a complex problem with more than four items, we will make a “wrong” decision due to the inability to process all the information. It was great to learn and understand how we make decisions, many times in our subconscious, and how to manage this process to improve decision making in the future. This brought to light how I and other team members make decisions and how to approach problem solving so that our brains can process the information in an effective manner. I think these 60 minutes of information will only help provide me endless success in my career for many years to come (and hopefully your career as well) and this is why I love SWE.

What was something new you learned while attending your region conference? Please share it with me by emailing me or sending a message on Twitter @SWE_Collegiate.

Hope everyone enjoys their Spring Breaks,

allisonAllison Machtemes Lunde
FY12 SWE Collegiate Director
collegiate-director@swe.org

Garypie Recognized as one of CT's Women of Innovation for 2012

Elizabeth Garypie, Black Hawk chief engineer, Sikorsky Aircraft and very active United Technologies Corporation (UTC) SWE member was recognized as one of the Connecticut Technology Council's (CT) Women of Innovation for 2012.

Elizabeth has been an active SWE member on her own, as well as on the UTC team, and she has presented several workshops at the SWE Annual Conferences over the last few years.

Click here to learn more about the organization and the event.

The New SWE Website is Now Live!

Visit the new SWE website, where changes in layout, functionality and design yield a more contemporary, web-friendly member experience. Enhanced features of the new website include news and events feeds that bring the most current information and activities to the forefront; improved keyword search functionality; enhanced local section, MAL and international finder; and simplified navigation to find information more quickly and easily.

The site also features a soft, muted color palette to reproduce effectively online, and to provide a canvas for the imagery and messaging to take center stage. Special thanks to ITW for the use of their facilities and for the participation of their women engineers in our model shoot for the website!

The site is also now accessible on your smartphone, where you can browse scholarship listings, webinars and jobs in the career center, among other things.

With your comments and feedback through each phase of this project, we designed and modified the website based on key trends, commonalities, errors and omissions. Thanks to each and every member who participated in the process. The feedback loop is still open, so let us know if you have any other input by clicking ‘Report Page’ in the footer area of each page.

Enjoy the new website!

What are some ways women, especially those in engineering and technology, can celebrate Women’s History Month?

“I think the best way any woman can celebrate Women’s History Month is to keep working hard at her job and trying to make a difference in the world.” ~Nikki L.

“Attend a SWE event!” ~Sarah C.

“Making ladies out there in high school aware of the engineering field and showing them that they can actually succeed in that field!” ~Tlali T. M.

“Be a mentor and a sponsor for an up-and-coming woman in STEM. Pay it forward is always the best way!” ~@JKamens, via Twitter

“Host an outreach event with a local junior high, high school or library. I participated in a STEM event a couple weekends ago and it was awesome to see all the girls so bright and eager to solve problems, yet they had no idea what a civil engineer did. We just had to get out there and talk to them so they know the options.” ~Julia F.

To get more tips from fellow SWE members, visit our Facebook page!

PCAST Releases Undergraduate STEM Education Report

On Tuesday, February 7, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its report titled, “Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”

This report provides a strategy for improving STEM education during the first two years of college that is responsive to both the challenges and the opportunities that this crucial stage in the STEM education pathway presents.

In its latest report, PCAST concludes that retaining more STEM majors is the lowest-cost, fastest policy option to provide the STEM professionals that the U.S. needs for economic and societal well-being. Among other benefits of this approach, it does not require expanding the number or size of introductory courses, which are already constrained by space and resources at many colleges and universities.

In addition to its call to create a Presidential Council on STEM Education to help implement and expand upon PCAST’s recommendations, the report’s major policy recommendations—applicable to technical and community colleges as well as four-year colleges and universities—are:

  • Catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices
  • Advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses
  • Launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the math preparation gap
  • Encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers

In conclusion, PCAST’s recommendations, many of which could be implemented by refocusing current STEM investments, address the most significant barriers to STEM student retention and have the potential to inspire and catalyze change in America’s college classrooms. Their implementation would provide students with the skills they need to fill 21st century American jobs and provide the United States with the workforce it needs to be innovative and competitive for decades to come.

Obama Administration and Private Sector Announce More Than $100 Million in Commitments to Prepare 100,000 New STEM Teachers

On February 7, President Obama hosted the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of STEM competitions from across the country. The president also announced key additional steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to prepare 100,000 effective math and science teachers and to meet the urgent need to train one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade.

The second White House Science Fair included more than 100 students from more than 45 states, representing more than 40 different STEM competitions that recognize the talents of America’s next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors and innovators. More than 30 student teams had the opportunity to exhibit their projects this year, almost twice as many as the first White House Science Fair held in 2010. The president viewed exhibits of the student work, ranging from breakthrough research to new inventions, and then provided remarks to an audience of students, science educators and business leaders on the importance of STEM education to the country’s economic future.

In conjunction with the White House Science Fair, the President issued a national challenge to prepare 100,000 effective teachers with such skills in math and science over the next decade. Key steps being announced today to meet that goal include:

  • A new $80 million investment to help prepare effective STEM teachers: The president’s upcoming budget will request $80 million for a new competition by the Department of Education to support effective STEM teacher preparation programs, such as those that allow students to simultaneously earn both a STEM degree and a teaching certificate, and provide undergraduates with early and intensive experiences in the classroom honing their skills.
  • A new $22 million investment from the philanthropic and private sector to complement the Administration’s efforts: After the president issued his call to action to recruit and prepare 100,000 effective STEM teachers, more than 115 organizations, led by Carnegie Corporation of New York and Opportunity Equation, came together to form a coalition called “100Kin10” to help reach the president’s goal.
  • A STEM focus in upcoming Race to the Top competition: To ensure that STEM remains a component of systemic education reform, the Department of Education will again include a focus on STEM criteria in the upcoming Race to the Top competition.
  • New policies and investments to recruit, support, retain and reward excellent STEM teachers: To improve the teaching and learning of STEM and encourage the best STEM teachers to stay in the profession, the Department of Education will devote a portion of its upcoming $300 million Teacher Incentive Fund competition to support state and local efforts to improve compensation, evaluation and professional development systems for STEM educators.

NSF Seeks to Support Engineering Research, STEM Education in FY 2013

NSF Director Dr. Subra Suresh discussed President Obama’s $7.373 billion FY 2013 budget request for the agency during the NSF budget rollout, emphasizing that new knowledge resulting from federal investments in science and technology is needed to ensure the nation's future prosperity and global competitiveness. This request is $340 million, or 4.8 percent, above the FY 2012 appropriated amount of $7.033 billion.   

Highlights in the NSF FY 2013 budget include:

  • $876.3 million for Engineering Directorate programs, a 6.1 percent increase, with $165.2 million designated for NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs (an 8.2 percent increase)
  • $202.5 million for the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability portfolio, a 29 percent increase over last year’s $157 million total, which includes priority work on clean energy alternatives, sustainable chemical and manufacturing practices, water conservation, ocean acidification, natural disaster prediction and response and understanding the changes occurring in coastal and Arctic ecologies
  • $196 million, identical to FY 2012, for the continuation of construction of four large-scale facilities essential to discovery: the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, Ocean Observatories Initiative, National Ecological Observatory Network and Advanced Technology Solar Telescope
  • $110 million, a $2 million or 1.7 percent decrease from FY 2012, for cybersecurity research and education via the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace and the Federal Cyber Service
  • $106 million, a 36 percent increase from last year’s level of $78 million, for the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering initiative
  • $63 million, more than triple the FY 2012 funding level of $20 million, to support interdisciplinary work through the Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education initiative
  • $19 million, more than twice the FY 2012 funding level of $8 million, to the NSF Innovation Corps

The suite of educational investments in NSF's fiscal year 2013 budget request also builds on the recognition that science and engineering talent is the foundation for America's future. Areas of educational investments run the spectrum from early learning to college completion. NSF's educational investments include:

  • $876 million total for Education and Human Resources programs, an increase of 5.6 percent over the FY 2012 total of $829 million
  • $30 million to transform K-16 mathematics teaching and learning through a new partnership with the Department of Education
  • $20 million for the Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms program to move improved undergraduate STEM education instructional practices and curricular innovations to scale
  • $61 million for the Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program to reformulate undergraduate education by creating new learning materials, and improving teaching strategies, faculty development and evaluation approaches informed by the latest scientific research
  • $49 million to bring engaging science content, knowledge and applications to more learners via the new Expeditions in Education activity

Inaugural DiscoverE Summit Held during Engineers Week, Outreach for Change Highlighted

On February 22, ASME and the National Engineers Week Foundation hosted the inaugural DiscoverE Summit, an event that showcased the importance and successes of STEM educators with an emphasis on the “E” for engineering. The DiscoverE Summit was held at the Knight Studio at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and was one of many events scheduled during the national observance of Engineers Week 2012, Feb. 19-25. The proceedings were moderated by news veteran and Emmy award winner, Miles O’Brien, lead science reporter for PBS NewsHour.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Dr. Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Suresh discussed the importance of improving U.S. STEM education and NSF’s role and recent efforts, while Dr. Vest challenged the engineering community to ramp up its efforts to inspire the next generation of engineers.

The Summit also featured the winners of the inaugural DiscoverE Educator Awards, which celebrated the outstanding achievements of exceptional STEM educators who have helped their students discover engineering. The three winners, selected by a committee of distinguished national education, engineering and business leaders, were Shella Rivano Condino of Presidio High School, Presidio, Texas; Javaris Powell of Friendship Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.; and Derek Sale of Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy, Detroit, Michigan.   

The event also featured two panel sessions. The first panel, “Teachers and Educators,” featured the aforementioned STEM education change agents and allowed them an opportunity to share the stories behind their successes. The panel also included Dr. Linda Katehi, chancellor, University of California, Davis, who discussed her work on the new National Research Council K-12 science framework, which for the first time promotes the use of engineering concepts to teach STEM subjects. Corey S. Powell, editor-in-chief, DISCOVER magazine, and John Manahan, special assistant, Office of the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education also delivered remarks.

The second panel, “Volunteers and Partners,” addressed the important role that volunteers and partnerships play in advancing STEM education. Dr. Michael Smith of the National GEM Consortium discussed the Outreach for Change initiative, the effort to build and deliver inclusive engineering outreach programs on which SWE is partnering with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Following Dr. Smith’s remarks, NASA Associate Administrator Leland Melvin provided an overview of the work of NASA employees to enhance the knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages and to inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors and scientists. Next, Dr. Rosemary Truglio of Sesame Workshop outlined Sesame Street’s efforts to incorporate STEM education lessons into the current season, as well as how the engineering community’s volunteer workforce could help. Finally, Diane Melley of IBM discussed IBM’s corporate citizenship efforts with specific mention of their global volunteer efforts.

Read This Month's Letter from President Melissa Tata

Aloha! I had the privilege of attending the Western region (ABJ) conference in Honolulu, HI. It was priceless to see my daughter experience sand and the ocean for the first time, and it seems she loves it as much as her mother—what a memory she will have of going to Hawaii at nine months old. The conference was amazing with over 300 attendees, and the highlight was when we Skyped with the region conference in Cincinnati, which seemed to be going well. I heard that the conference in Madison was also terrific and from what I can tell, there was similar success at the conferences in Charleston, Boston and Tulsa. Good luck to the remaining conference in New York City, and congratulations and Mahalo to all the region conference leaders. Region conferences are a great development tool for collegiate and professional members through the sessions and networking. I challenge everyone to share what you learned with those who did not have the opportunity to attend and encourage them to join you at the WE12 Annual Conference in Houston and/or next year’s region conferences.  

I also encourage you to consider applying for the individual awards for which nominations are due on March 31 and region/section awards that are due in the next few months. You have all achieved so much and deserve recognition for this. You should also showcase your SWE accomplishments as part of your self-assessments at work. The skills that you develop from leading outreach and/or networking events, attending a webinar, presenting at a conference and/or persuading someone to become a new member can bring great value to your workplace. To learn more about by your diverse strengths, visit http://www.assessmyskills.com.

What do you think of our updated website? I particularly appreciate the ease of navigation and new members getting to the “join” area quickly. I am so excited that we are at 19,016 members right now and this gives me confidence that with your continued commitment, we can exceed our 20,368 goal this year. We have more than 3,700 C2C members now and 759 transitions. I encourage all professional sections/MALs and members to find a way to interact with local collegiate sections whether it be a joint meeting or cross-generational mentoring 1-on-1.  

I enjoy seeing so many of you post on our SWE Facebook and LinkedIn pages as well as on your own Twitter and Facebook accounts. Sharing the value we obtain out of SWE enables others to understand the potential benefit they would have as members and SWEsters. As you attend SWE events, keep in mind the importance of being welcoming. We do not want to have SWE cliques, but rather embrace the unique perspectives that come from being inclusive of new ideas. We will continue to multiply our momentum by using the strengths and ideas that we all bring as unique SWE leaders.  

Only 11.5 percent of engineers in the workforce are women, and with the dearth of engineers to complete all the needed improvements to infrastructure, sustainability and many other areas, it’s critical that we encourage everyone with engineering aptitude to pursue a career in this area. Engineering is one of the professions that helps drives more parity in pay between women and men. Although women now make up 51 percent of the workforce, many of them are not in the highest paid professions such as engineering. SWE continues to obtain more visibility and collaborate with other engineering societies on this mission.

On March 11, I will present at the Engineers Week Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering and Technology Closing Ceremony. The other presenters include the ASME president, Women in Engineering Standing Committee and World Federation of Engineering Organizations Chair. We were also recently asked for quotes and outreach data for Civil Engineers magazine, for which I set up interviews with my local newspaper to talk about my SWE experiences. We have obtained some local interest in the organization, and I encourage you to do the same if the opportunity presents itself.

The end of winter is a time of building the SWE momentum with Engineers Week, region conferences, strategic planning and substantial committee and section accomplishments. Embrace the momentum and prepare for our spring membership drive. Our impact in public policy, outreach, professional development and recognition is multiplied with higher membership and we have momentum from our February membership strategy discussion to collaborate and be innovative to double our membership in the next several years.

melissaMelissa Tata
FY12 SWE President
president@swe.org

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