By Nikita Thakkar
President, SWE CCEW Affiliate
Department of Information Technology
Cummins College of Engineering for Women, Pune, India.
As a girl in engineering, I experienced an insufficiency of exposure and encouragement. There were very few people who encouraged me to hustle in the field of engineering. Although my parents believed in me and my dreams, Indian society does not look to provide equal opportunities to both men and women. Girls are made to focus more on family activities. I was euphoric the moment I heard about the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and swiftly decided to join the organization. SWE has worn off my fear of failure in life and accorded an assured way towards a successful career.
The journey began with the establishment of a SWE affiliate in early 2016 at the Cummins College of Engineering for Women, Pune. The significance of SWE CCEW is the fact that it is the country’s first ever affiliate to have been founded on an all women’s engineering campus. I along with a few members of the affiliate and our faculty advisor, Dr. Anagha Kulkarni, organized the inaugural event at our campus on 23rd June 2016. The attendees were addressed by the distinguished speakers from various industries as well as the Director of CCEW. In the first year of the affiliate, I was honoured to be the Secretary in the panel of SWE CCEW Affiliate for the year 2016 - 2017. I am privileged to be the President of the affiliate for the upcoming academic year.
Besides the inaugural event, the SWE Panel organized a talk on career opportunities in the Indian Air Force for women engineers by Wg Cdr Kanchan Singh (Rtd) from Cummins India Ltd. The affiliate also organized a ‘Career Day’ for the students of CCEW where women leaders in technology from various career backgrounds traced their academic and professional paths in a presentation for the audience. The second half of the event was a one-on-one session with each speaker open to all.
I was fortunate enough to attend WE Local Pune, the SWE conference for women in India held at the Hyatt Regency, Pune between 22-24 th March 2017. The inspirational talks, admirable keynote speakers and the opportunity to network with professionals from the industry made this conference a memorable one. The SWE CCEW affiliate was recognized at the conference for their commendable efforts towards realizing the vision of the organization and awarded with a certificate as a token of appreciation.
SWE has provided me great opportunities to develop my skills and immense exposure to connect with the experts and leaders in technology. I must say the journey of a complete year with SWE was amazing and inspiring.