SWEet Wisdom October 2019

This month, two female engineers and two engineering undergrads share their advice on how SWENexters can encourage other high school students to join their SWENext club.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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Welcome to the SWEet Wisdom column! We know a lot of you might be wondering how to get involved in or start your own SWENext club! Keep reading for advice from collegiate and professional SWE members on the benefits of joining or starting a SWENext club. You can check out what other SWENext clubs have done in our High School Newsletter Archives to get ideas for activities! Happy reading!

What advice do you have for SWENexters who are looking to encourage other high school students to join their high school SWENext club?


SWEet Wisdom October 2019Valerie Kettering, Senior in Aerospace Engineering // Current Cal Poly SWE President

California Polytechnic State University

I strongly encourage SWENext Clubs to showcase all the cool projects, speakers from different STEM fields and tour/field trip opportunities they provide.  But I think the most important part is showing the community and social events that SWENext Clubs do.

In my experience, people come to club meetings initially because of the opportunities, but they stay because of the friendships they’ve made. If potential members know and like the members of your SWENext club, they will probably want to join and stay involved! So bring your friends, and make friends with potential members!

SWEet Wisdom October 2019Jenny Tsao, B.S. in Systems Engineering and Design

Senior Health Systems Engineer, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

Tell potential SWENexters that the club is a great opportunity to explore science and engineering with high schoolers who have the same interest. Why wait until college to start learning and understanding about the cool things you can do in engineering and technology? SWENext is a great resource that connects you to professional Society of Women Engineer members if you have questions, and helps you learn through the newsletters, field trips and activities in your club.


SWEet Wisdom October 2019Upekesha Ngugi, M.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Actuation Design Engineer, The Boeing Company

I visited the Houston Space Center in my junior year of high school and knew that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. Some students don’t get opportunities like that.

SWENext is an opportunity to try new STEM activities in an explorative environment. Maybe your club can learn how to design a website, a new programming language, computer aided design or 3D printing. You could take a trip to a space center near you or another tech center you are interested in learning about. Students can take advantage of interacting with mentors in STEM fields and find out about their careers. SWENext leadership roles are a good addition to your resume for college applications and scholarships.

SWEet Wisdom October 2019Haley Antoine, Senior in Biomedical Engineering // SWENext Workgroup Co-Lead, Student Programs Committee // Current Cornell SWE President

Cornell University

SWENext Clubs are an awesome opportunity to bring STEM to YOUR high school! Clubs can participate in the SWENext Clubs Challenge each year for the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the SWE Annual Conference!  Check out this year’s winners!

Starting up a club can sometimes be scary. Once you have a core group of friends or peers that want to start the club with you, figure out what you are interested in.  Odds are if you think something is cool, others will too! What do you want to learn outside the classroom? Do you have a neighbor or parent who works in a STEM field? Answering these questions may give you ideas for activities. Once you decide on a few things you want to do during the year, get on campus and advertise! You can ask the science and math teachers at your school to hand out flyers or make an announcement, you can put up posters (with your school administration’s permission) that list different activities you are going to do, and most importantly – go talk to other students at your high school!

The best way to bring students in is to show them that your SWENext Club is a community where they can grow, learn and have fun! If you have any questions about starting a club, feel free to contact me (hla37@cornell.edu) and the SWENext Workgroup will get you any resource you might need!


Do you have a question for our women engineers at SWE?  We’d love to hear from you!  Send your questions to swenext@swe.org.  We’ll answer you directly, and your question may become a future SWEet Wisdom column!

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