SWE’s mission is both broad and deep, and our four strategic goals set the pathway toward fulfilling that mission. Let’s take a look at a few of our efforts and accomplishments, through both a personal lens and an organizational perspective. I am certain that one or more of these will resonate with you, just as they have with me (please see swe.org/about-swe for more information).
Professional Excellence. To expand and share our resources in new markets, we recognize shifting educational pathways, making community colleges of particular interest. Community colleges open opportunities to students who may not otherwise be able to pursue engineering degrees. This is especially relevant to me — I took the first steps toward my own engineering degree at Lansing Community College and am honored to be receiving LCC’s Distinguished Alumna Award this spring. I owe a debt of gratitude to the school for providing classes at reasonable costs that allowed me to earn an engineering degree and, in turn, launch a career that I previously couldn’t have imagined. SWE’s goal is to encourage a diverse and eager audience to pursue this same type of opportunity.
Globalization. Through my travels, I have personally experienced the immense respect and recognition that SWE has earned as a global organization empowering females in engineering and technology. It is so incredible to be a part of this!
Advocacy. SWE’s efforts were on full display in March when we hosted our annual congressional visits, with more than 170 SWE members and partners attending. We offered training and resources to prepare participants to meet with their elected officials and advocate policies that support the full inclusion of women engineers in the workforce. I was happy to see several people whom I had personally encouraged to attend, and witness their energy and excitement as they made their way around Capitol Hill. It’s great to know that SWE was able to provide them the tools to be effective.
Diversity and Inclusion. Two new affinity groups, including one for members over 40, have recently been established. I’m excited to be a part of this new group.
There are many other areas where we’re making progress and having an impact. We’re transforming our professional development learning center; adapting our SWENext programs so that participants can be more involved in SWE’s community; looking at how we can expand our scholarships and engage our members around the globe; and better defining leadership competencies and associated training to help our members and leaders serve as champions for diversity and promote an inclusive environment.