SWE members have been finding creative ways to encourage more future engineers to become SWENexters. In fact, Texas A&M University has created a SWENext Club through their collegiate SWE section! Texas A&M is a public university based in College Station, Texas, and they have one of the largest engineering programs in the country. The Texas A&M Collegiate SWE Section has developed a program that allows high school students to sign up for SWENext through their university! Their SWENext program was founded in 2019 by Gabi Hernandez and Alexis Degraff, the Outreach Officers at Texas A&M at that time. The program began with hosting in-person workshops for high school students on Texas A&M’s campus.
Because of the pandemic, the SWENext program was completely reinvented this year. The program was founded and designed to be an in-person workshop-style event held once a month for high school students on the campus of Texas A&M University. The Texas A&M SWE members decided that the program had to be reimagined as 100% virtual this year. They accomplished this by transforming the program into a virtual mentorship program. The goal for this program is for SWENext mentors and mentees to correspond on a bi-weekly basis to discuss college readiness and refine communication and professional skills. Texas A&M SWE hopes to eventually build up a program that encourages mentorship between high school mentees and college mentors in a way that is safe and helpful with proper boundaries in place. Even though being restricted to virtual events has not been ideal, Texas A&M SWE has found it beneficial in some aspects. For example, high school students from around the world can join the program, instead of the program being exclusive to just local students.
The Texas A&M Outreach Committee Chairs have found it helpful to utilize all of their committee members for this program. As officers, they are supervising the overall progress, but they’re finding that the program is successful because of all of the creative minds that have been included in this journey. They have been experimenting with the program quite a bit during this year; their goal is to establish the groundwork for this idea so that it can continue to grow in future years!
If you’d like to learn more about Texas A&M’s SWENext program, be sure to visit their website. Also, check to see if your local SWE section has a SWENext program like Texas A&M. Sections are currently looking for SWENexters in the FY21 SWENext Recruitment Challenge!