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From Congressional Visits to the “New Normal” Brought by COVID-19

From Congressional Visits to the “New Normal” Brought by COVID-19
Dismantling the Glass Ceiling SWE Magazine cover
The State of Women in Engineering issue of SWE Magazine, released during congressional visits.

Springtime in SWE is typically filled with the buzz and enthusiasm generated by WE Locals, which begin in January and continue through May. Spring also sharpens the sense of purpose, commitment to mission, and data-driven public policy that is demonstrated at the March congressional outreach event. Women’s History Month, also in March, provides a backdrop to increase awareness and appreciation for pioneering women engineers who opened the path before us. And there is the excitement of approaching graduations and end-of-the-year activities.

All of this was disrupted in various ways with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Participants in SWE’s 2020 congressional “Diversity and Inclusion Fuels Innovation in STEM” outreach found themselves in a rapidly evolving situation, with breaking news of the global pandemic. Some meetings quickly changed from in person at legislators’ offices to phone calls; other meetings still took place as planned. Persisting either way, they conveyed the Society’s message to legislators despite the challenges.

Events — from the remaining WE Locals to FIRST® robotics competitions, to end-of-the-school-year activities — were canceled or postponed. For many people, work became remote, and shelter-in-place orders were issued from state to state in the United States, and countries throughout the world.

As noted on SWE’s Twitter feed: Voicing your concerns to your elected officials is so important, and I am happy I got to practice my civic duty this week with @SWEtalk support! #SWEAdvocacy @sweumich

Thanks to @SenatorDurbin Legislative Assistant Samantha Dybas for meeting with us for @SWEtalk #SWEAdvocacy. It’s our favorite topic.

Meetings turned into calls, so we’re squatting in a corner of the Library of Congress. #SWEAdvocacy @CoryBooker @SWEtalk

Demonstrating adaptability, on SWE’s All Together site members posted a number of blogs on “engineering in crisis.” These covered aspects ranging from “Strategizing and Finding Consistency” to “Creating Your Environment,” to “How You Can Help in a Global Crisis.” Other channels, from Facebook to Twitter, offered tips, advice, and perspective on coping with the new reality and challenges facing all of us.

From Congressional Visits to the “New Normal” Brought by COVID-19


“SWE Forum: From Congressional Visits to the “New Normal” Brought by COVID-19” appears in the 2020 spring issue of SWE Magazine.


Read more from the 2020 spring issue of SWE Magazine:

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