SWE Chennai Affiliate Hosts Virtual Caterpillar Industrial Visit

The pandemic has taught us many tough lessons and together we coped faster than expected. The one-of-a-kind virtual industrial visit for students, organized by Caterpillar Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) Chennai and powered by Society of Women Engineers (SWE), was a perfect example of how the power of teamwork can defeat any odds.

Pre- Event Hype

From a week before the event, handpicked Caterpillar YouTube videos were circulated through social media to create excitement and motivation to join the sessions. Students were also encouraged to ask questions related to the event and Caterpillar. Daily count downs and proper guidance were given to join the virtual meet.

The Event Day

The agenda started with an introduction to SWE & Caterpillar, stressing the importance of gender diversity at Caterpillar and our work culture, Caterpillar’s affiliation with SWE, and opportunities and benefits within SWE.

The main session with 200 students got split into two technical breakout sessions: Group1 focused on computer engineering, IT & instrumentation; and Group 2 focused on mechanical, manufacturing, production and others streams of engineering. Both the parallel sessions started off with an ice breaker quiz that received good responses from the students.

Next on the agenda were leadership talks; our Caterpillar women leaders motivated the students by explaining their career path, how they overcame difficulties and how to grab opportunities, in a way that was relatable for the students.

Each leadership talk was followed by a technical session for the focused streams. CAT digital leaders explained about the IOT platform, web/mobile applications development, and career opportunities with Caterpillar. The CAT electronics team enlightened the students with onboard systems and the importance of autonomy with examples. CAT mechanical spoke about mechanical design solutions, design tools and the power of CAT engines. CAT manufacturing leaders motivated students showcasing the presence of women in manufacturing, assembly and fabrication processes. The presenters helped students to understand how to relate “what they learned in college” to “what we do at Caterpillar.” Guidance was provided on what additional skillsets are needed to work with an engineering company like Caterpillar. The SMEs and organizers showcased Caterpillar’s values by patiently listening and humbly responding to student’s queries.

Bansi Phansalkar (Caterpillar India country manager),  exemplified these ideas as he provided real life examples by stepping into students’ shoes during the closing address, asking them to do better every single day. He suggested students pick an aspect of engineering of their interest and specialize in it.

Mentor – Mentee Program

A mentor-mentee program was announced and 120 enthusiastic mentors from different streams signed up from Caterpillar India.

When 200 students signed out of the session gaining confidence to face the competitive world, organizers and presenters reflected with pride and joy of giving back to the society.


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