Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month – A Tale of 2 Global Engineers

“Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month – A Tale of 2 Global Engineers” was written by SWE members Claudia Berdugo and Archana Suryawanshi.


October is Global Diversity Awareness Month—a month to celebrate and increase awareness about the diversity of cultures and ethnicities. Globalization and the advancement of technology have made it so easy to connect that borders have become elusive. Even language is no longer a barrier to communication.

Many factors motivate individuals to move across countries and get immersed in new cultures and traditions. Some of those reasons include enhancing career opportunities, getting a degree, volunteering, or learning new languages and skills, among others. According to the United Nations International Migration Report of 2019, nearly 272 million people live in a country other than their country of birth – an increase of 77% since 1990. Migration has then become a tool to carry new skills and perspectives into the engineering workforce. On the industrial side, companies extend beyond borders by expanding operations in other countries and offering services that meet each country’s population’s needs. This enterprise often involves finding skilled personnel in another country, training, and dynamic leadership to ensure that the company vision is aligned globally.

In celebration of Global Diversity Awareness Month, the SWE Global Women Engineers Affinity Group leaders Claudia Berdugo (lead) and Archana Suryawanshi (co-lead) share how embracing global diversity has been a critical factor in their engineering journey!

Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month - A Tale of 2 Global Engineers Global Diversity Awareness Month
Claudia Berdugo

Claudia Berdugo came to the USA from her native Colombia in 2017 to earn a Ph.D.  at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). UIUC welcomes the nation’s second-largest international population among public universities, with more than 11,000 international students and scholars from 110 countries. Her experience at UIUC has been a real journey into global diversity in several aspects. First, her research experience is influenced by scientists and engineers’ diverse backgrounds, including her colleagues and UIUC staff; put in perspective, UIUC embodies a space where brilliant minds from across the world come together to solve real and meaningful problems. She finds comfort in learning how diverse and welcoming the community is for her.

Second, the cultural diversity within UIUC has allowed her to meet people from different parts of the world, learn about new cultures, and share her culture and heritage. She is amazed at how strong the international community is in UIUC and finds it inspiring how easy it is to pursue a degree in a country outside your own nowadays.

Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month - A Tale of 2 Global Engineers Global Diversity Awareness Month
Archana Suryawanshi

Archana Suryawanshi is from India and has been working in Global company John Deere, India, since 2011. Being a part of a global company, she has worked with people from different parts of the world. She experienced diversity in the workplace in various aspects: gender, knowledge, skills, region, education, and culture-based diversity. At John Deere, Diversity and Inclusion is a culture where equal opportunity is given to all employees to grow, develop, and innovate.

During her journey, Archana has gotten the chance to explore various projects within John Deere. She is amazed by being part of an organization where people from different educational backgrounds and diversified experiences come together for a purpose. She witnessed her co-workers’ inclusion, which helped boost her capability to think outside of the box and put her ideas on the table to contribute equally to the global team. As she grew in the company, she came across various platforms where John Deere nurtures diversity through different forums like the Early Leadership Development Program and SWE. Her experience in the Early Leadership Development Program gave her a new perspective to look at technical problem statements out of her domain, work collaboratively with cross-functional teams, and learn from great leaders at John Deere.

SWE for Archana is another podium for diversified network growth. She leverages the opportunity to be part of the SWE Global Women Engineer Affinity Group to connect with emerging leaders worldwide, learn a new culture, and consider new viewpoints on engineering.

Want to stay in the loop?

The Global Women Engineers Affinity Group (AG) brings together SWE’s global members, including ex-pats and Friends of SWE. A unique value is placed on the purpose of mutually supporting each other through social media. We aim to increase empowerment through the leadership pipeline, highlighting our members’ accomplishments from around the globe. We are committed to the value of diversity and inclusion as an integral part of the SWE culture. Some of the events and activities hosted by the AG include:

  • Professional development webinars
  • Empowerment workshops: #IamRemarkable
  • Mentoring, meet-ups, and more

Learn more about the Global Women Engineers Affinity Group.


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Author(s) Information

  • Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month - A Tale of 2 Global Engineers Global Diversity Awareness Month Claudia Berdugo

    Claudia E. Berdugo Díaz received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. After graduation, she worked for a year at Process Solutions and Equipment supporting the design, construction, and commissioning of process equipment. She is currently a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She joined SWE in 2018 while serving as Treasurer of the GradSWE section of SWE-UIUC. She is currently the lead of the SWE Global Women Engineers Affinity Group. Claudia is passionate about STEM and has been a volunteer for scientific outreach.

  • Celebrating Global Diversity Awareness Month - A Tale of 2 Global Engineers Global Diversity Awareness Month Archana Suryawanshi

    Archana A Suryawanshi received a postgraduate degree in Embedded Systems from BITS Pillani institute. She holds 13 years of experience in the automotive domain. Before John Deere, she worked at Behr Hella Thermo Control and Thuse Electronics as a software tester in the automotive domain. She is currently working at John Deere as Lead Engineer in the embedded software test and quality domain. She is co-lead of the SWE Global Women Engineers Affinity Group. Archana is passionate about networking with women from different technology backgrounds, encouraging her to build community goals for the affinity group.

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