The Monthly SWE Newsletter
August 2014
SWE News

Call for FY15 Committee Chairs and Coordinators

We are pleased to announce the call for FY15 Committee Chair, Coordinator and Chair/Coordinator Elect applications. The application process will allow all SWE members the opportunity to express an interest in these types of leadership roles within the Society. It will also allow us the opportunity to better match our members' strengths and interests to the needs of the Society.

Please review the open leadership positions for FY15 on the application form. The description of each leadership position can be found here .  Please fill out the Chair / Chair Elect application form with the requested information and return it in Word or PDF format along with a photo (headshot at 300 dpi resolution) in a .jpg file to hq@swe.org by April 1, 2014.

All applications will then be reviewed and applicants will be notified by June 1. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact headquarters at 312.596.5237.

The Bylaws and Leadership Coaching Committees both need a chair and chair-elect. The SWE Future Leaders coordinator and coordinator-elect positions are both open also. On behalf of the Nominating Committee and Senate, we are canvassing for Nominating and Strategic Initiatives Committee chairs. And of course there are several coordinator-elect and chair-elect positions open as well.

As we continue implementing our new strategic plan, there may be changes to some of the committees. I appreciate everyone's flexibility as we continue moving the Society forward. Thank you for your interest.

Elizabeth Bierman
FY14 President-Elect

Creative and Collaborative: A Typical Day in Engineering

An important part of Women’s History Month is delving into the numerous contributions women make to society. It’s no surprise to our members that women engineers are changing the face of the future every day. With innovative approaches to the challenges facing our society, our contributions have never been more critical.

We asked SWE Collegiate Director Ellen McIsaac to let us follow her through a typical day to help us get a better understanding of the responsibilities and the multifaceted projects she tackles daily. She is a structures engineer in the Composite Structures Part Family at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown, Conn. While each day is certainly different, this is representative of a typical work day. 

What’s your typical day in engineering like? Let us know in the comments section.

7:45 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Pick up phone and read and respond to emails. Get dressed and brush teeth.

8:15 a.m.: Go outside and scrape ice off car.

8:20 a.m.: Drive to work.

8:30 a.m.: Arrive at work. Check email to see what was received since I left work yesterday and send responses. 

8:45 a.m.: Check to see whether analysis jobs submitted yesterday for Project A have finished running— they haven’t. Start working on building finite element analysis models for Project B.

9:45 a.m.: Breakfast and tea while continuing to work on Project B models.

10:45 a.m.: Impromptu discussion with boss and co-workers about training requirements for the upcoming year.

11 a.m.: Back to work on Project B models. Troubleshooting errors with combining data from different FE programs.

12:20 p.m.: Help coworker find materials property data. 

12:30 p.m.: Call into phone meeting with composites supplier for Project C. Discuss good results from last week’s testing on their hardware and plans for going forward.

1 p.m.: Lunch while reading/responding to emails.

1:15 p.m.: Back to work on Project B models.

3 p.m.: Meeting to discuss process controls for Project D.

4:10 p.m.: Back to work on Project B models.

5:30 p.m.: Record hours for the day. Drive home.

5:45 p.m.: Arrive at home. Pack for SWE Senate Meeting.

6:30 p.m.: Dinner.

7 p.m.: Call into FIRST Robotics competition planning meeting.

8 p.m.: Volunteer work for SWE and FIRST.

9 p.m.: Relax at home.

11:30 p.m.: Shower and get ready for bed.

Midnight: Go to sleep.

Celebrate Women’s History Month on SWE’s Facebook Page

This month, SWE members gathered together on Facebook to celebrate Women's History month. SWE asked the following: "This year's theme is Women of Character, Courage and Commitment. Who in your life embodies these virtues?"

Here are some of the most popular responses:

Tony S. "Kate Gleason. The first female to join the society of mechanical engineers. And the only woman to have a engineering college named after her."

Stacey DelVecchio "Our past executive director, Betty Shanahan."

Renita B. " My daughter ... she's such an inspiration ... and a joy! Female engineering students with lots of courage, character, and total commitment ... I love her!"

Claudia G. "My mother! She moved to the U.S. from Costa Rica when she was 25 to marry my father, even though she didn't speak English. When I asked about how she could make such as drastic change in her life she just smiled and said 'I had nothing to lose, I was already an MD.' Even though she had just finished medical school in Costa Rica she was not licensed to practice in the U.S. She spent the next three years learning English and moving through the licensing process. She never gave up and is now a practicing physician."

Bernice B. "My SWE-sters! Martha, Marge and Helen come to mind first but so many running through my brain. Motivation through the years!"

Nandika D. "My Mum ... courage to face a seemingly endless amount of challenges, character to pray for those who wronged her and commitment to ensure I had a 'professional' degree like engineer."

We're still celebrating Women's History Month and we'd love for you to join us. Add your voice to our conversations on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Summary of the Latest Board of Director’s Meeting

This month, the board of directors (BOD) meeting summary is for the BOD meeting that took place on Jan. 31, 2014.

  • WE18 location: Karen Horting presented the options for WE18's location. An announcement regarding further details will be made after the BOD approves the locations and the contracts are in place.
  • SWE Values: Stacey led a discussion on how to approach a friendly reminder to SWE sections. The main message to the Sections is “Remember that a SWE Section represents SWE as a whole in anything that is done in the name of SWE.” The CLCC and LCC Officer training will include some content on this subject. Also, a slide covering this subject has been added to the State of SWE presentation.

As has been our practice, the minutes from the formal meeting can always be found on the governance section of the SWE website after you log in.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you find this information helpful. Thanks.

Wendy Schauer LandwehrWendy Schauer Landwehr, F.SWE
Secretary, Society of Women Engineers

WIA Committee News

The Women In Academia (WIA) Committee's primary responsibility is to effectively engage, support and communicate with academic members and affiliates in SWE. Below are new updates and requests.

Academic Mentoring
WIA is working toward establishing a network specifically for engaging academic and academic affiliate members in mentoring relationships. It would like to establish mentoring relationships for grad students to faculty, faculty to faculty (junior to senior, tenure-track to tenured) and faculty to Academic leaders. WIA would greatly value participation in the program as a mentor, mentee or both. More details on the program itself as well as a mentoring event at WE14 to follow.

Judges for SWE Distinguished Engineering Educator Award
WIA is looking for academic members to serve as volunteer judges for evaluating the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award applications. The time commitment will be during late spring to early summer months. You do not need to be a past DEE awardee. Please consider volunteering to support your fellow academic members in SWE.

Poster Judging at WE14
Will you be attending WE14? Interested in getting involved with the collegiate poster competition? The Awards Committee is looking for academic members to judge a handful of posters at the conference. The time commitment will be about an hour, at your leisure, during the time the posters are on display during the career fair hours on Friday. Please consider volunteering to support the graduate student members in SWE.

Looking for Webinar Speaker
WIA is looking for a second speaker for the webinar: Writing Your Tenure Package: Research. The committee is looking for someone that has submitted a successful tenure package within the last three years to share their experience and advice. If you or someone you know would be a good fit for this webinar, please e-mail the WIA Committee Chair with your availability for the months of May and June.

If you have any questions regarding any of the items or would like to participate in any of them please contact the WIA Committee Chair.

Join the WIA LinkedIn group: SWE Women In Academia.

FY14 Second Quarter Scorecard

The SWE Scorecard provides quarterly updates on the progress toward achieving our strategic goals. The FY14 Second Quarter Scorecard displays the accomplishments of our Section, Region and Society leaders and members in FY14. Goals include:

  • Professional Excellence: SWE will develop women engineers at all stages of their personal and professional lives.
  • Globalization: SWE will be recognized as a global, inclusive organization, promoting diversity and inclusion and serving women engineers wherever they are.
  • Advocacy: SWE will advocate for the inclusion and success of women, present and prospective, in engineering and technology.

The FY14 Second Quarter Scorecard is now available.

Women’s History Month: A Q&A with the President of the National Women’s Hall of Fame

Jill S. Tietjen, P.E., served as SWE’s president in 1991-1992 and is currently the president of the Board of Directors of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In honor of Women’s History Month, the licensed professional engineer in Colorado took a few minutes to share with us words of inspiration and character to look up to for aspiring engineers. This year’s theme of Women of Character, Courage and Commitment is especially relevant to Tietjen, who is a life member of SWE and earned her B.S. in mathematics from the University of Virginia at a time when very few women pursued college degrees, let alone advanced degrees in engineering.

1. How were you introduced to engineering?

My father was an engineer who loved his job. He spent his entire career at NASA—at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. However, no one, not even my father, suggested I study engineering, so I started as a mathematics major at the University of Virginia and transferred into engineering after my first year. No one told me that applied mathematics was not an accredited degree; I didn’t know that until after I had graduated. I got licensed as a professional engineer as soon as I was eligible.

2.  When did you join SWE?

I joined SWE in 1979. Because I was in the third class that admitted women as undergraduate students to the University of Virginia, there was no SWE Section there when I was a student (I graduated in 1976). My first employer, Duke Power Company, sent me around to various universities doing on-campus recruiting. At a career fair in a gymnasium at North Carolina State University was a card table staffed by SWE. I visited the table, took an application, and immediately filled it out. I helped charter the Charlotte-Metrolina Section while I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. I became very active in SWE when I moved to Denver in 1981.

3.  What has been your most rewarding experience with SWE?

This is such a hard question as there have been so many rewarding experiences. Serving as national president certainly ranks up there. Being at the White House twice to see my nominees receive the National Medal of Technology was very rewarding. Nominating SWE members to the National Women’s Hall of Fame and seeing them inducted has been and continues to be wonderful. And, very importantly, my friends—really my best friends—who I’ve met through SWE.

4.  In one sentence, why is engineering an excellent career for women?

Engineers make the world work and provide value in every facet of our lives.

5.  What three women of character, courage and commitment inspire you?

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who said it is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.  Admiral Hopper developed the first computer compiler, the computer program that allows humans to speak in our language to a computer and then translates our languages into the zeroes and ones that a computer understands. She was my first successful nomination for the National Medal of Technology and my first successful nomination to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Maria Goeppert-Mayer so loved physics that she worked for many years in labs that she made out of broom closets as a 'volunteer.' Her husband was employed; nepotism rules forbade hiring her.  Goeppert-Mayer worked on the Manhattan Project (the project that developed the atomic bomb) and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

Gertrude Elion decided to make pharmaceutical drugs after she watched her beloved grandfather die a slow and painful death from stomach cancer. A rarity in that she didn’t have a Ph.D. (economic circumstances prevented her from obtaining that degree), Elion developed the first effective childhood leukemia drug. She developed the first immunosuppressant drug, thus allowing organ transplants  She also worked on developing the drug AZT, for the treatment of AIDS. Elion received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1988.

AAES - Survey: What Makes for a Great Engineering Workplace?

Dr. Nadya Faoud and Dr. Romila Singh, the researchers behind the 2011 groundbreaking study Why Women Leave Engineering, approached SWE to ask for our help as they embark on an extension of that study by asking What Makes for a Great Engineering Workplace? In an effort to ensure that a diversity of engineering disciplines and professionals are represented in the study, SWE encourages your participation.

Dr. Faoud and Dr. Singh will be debuting their results during the AAES workforce session during the April 2014 NAE Convocation.

FY14 First Quarter Scorecard

The SWE Scorecard provides quarterly updates on the progress toward achieving our strategic goals. The FY14 First Quarter Scorecard displays the accomplishments of our section, region and Society leaders and members. The FY14, goals include:

  • Professional Excellence: SWE will develop women engineers at all stages of their personal and professional live.
  • Globalization: SWE will be recognized as a global, inclusive organization, promoting diversity and inclusion and serving women engineers wherever they are.
  • Advocacy: SWE will advocate for the inclusion and success of women, present and prospective, in engineering and technology.

The FY14 First Quarter Scored is now available.

Celebrating Black History Month: Unearthing Alyce Hall's WWII Story

February is Black History Month and the Society of Women Engineers is proud to celebrate the contributions of black women in STEM disciplines. This edition of SWE Magazine features Alyce Hall, the only black woman to participate in the secret ballistics calculations program during World War II, and her younger sister, Alma. Their work helped the war effort and usher in the computer age. Learn more about the journey to free the sisters' tale from obscurity and recognize their roles during this critical era in American history.

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