The Society of Women Engineers officially installed our FY17 Board of Directors and Board of Trustees as well as Jessica Rannow, project manager at AmerisourceBergen, as FY17 president of the Society in Columbus, Ohio Thursday, August 4, 2016. Rannow’s impressive career as a woman engineer spans 15 years. Throughout the different phases in her career, one thing that has always remained constant is SWE and the Society’s perpetual support.
“I’ve worked for eight different companies during my career in engineering and have been a SWE member the entire time,” said Rannow. “As I moved around the country for my career, SWE provided me the opportunity to meet new people and learn valuable professional development skills. As president, one of the things I hope to do is continue showing young engineers that SWE can be their constant during their evolving careers in engineering.”
Rannow has been a SWE member since before she even set foot on her college campus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has held many different positions within the Society including president of her college’s section, Region Student Coordinator and Director of Professional Excellence. Just like her roles at SWE, her role as an engineer was ever-changing. Rannow’s career has taken her from retail distribution centers to supply chain logistics to consulting to software. One of Rannow’s most notable projects during her career as an industrial engineer was facilitating a new distribution center for Limited Brands’ Victoria’s Secret. The building opened in 2007 and has since remained one of the most advanced distribution centers in the U.S.
Rannow’s path to becoming a successful woman engineer wasn’t necessarily a smooth one. While studying industrial engineering in college, Rannow became discouraged by the challenging coursework, rethinking her major altogether. This is a common sentiment shared by engineering undergrads, and particularly women. About half of bachelor’s degree candidates in STEM leave the field before completing a college degree, according to a report from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics. What’s more; women tend to leave engineering with a higher grade point average than their male counterparts.
Rannow turned to her fellow SWE members when she became discouraged by her challenging coursework and considered dropping out. “SWE got me through when I had a lot of doubts,” she explained. “If I didn’t have SWE my freshman year, who knows what I would be doing now. Because of this, I am now passionate about working with students.”
Rannow’s experience in college has since made her a mentor and advocate for young women engineers. To provide encouragement for more girls pursuing engineering, Rannow has immersed herself in various initiatives to promote integration of professional and collegiate members. Rannow will use her presidency at SWE to continue pushing these programs and showing girls that they can be whatever they want.
SWE officially welcomed Rannow as president at an installation ceremony Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 at The Ohio State House in Columbus, Ohio.
“Jessica is an exemplary model of what SWE represents – mentorship and encouragement for women to achieve their full potential as engineers, as leaders and as women,” said Karen Horting, CEO and executive director of SWE, who joined Rannow at Thursday’s installment ceremony. “She knows the Society as well as its membership and partners inside and out, making her role as FY17 president a natural fit. We look forward to what’s to come under her leadership.”