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Reflecting on SWE’s ‘Unleash Your Inner STEM’ Event Series

Earlier this year, SWE hosted a series of three virtual networking events titled Unleash Your Inner STEM. Each event featured a panel discussion and the opportunity for students to discuss themes of identity with professionals in STEM fields. Keep reading to learn more about these events and how you can attend future events!
Reflecting On Swe’s ‘unleash Your Inner Stem’ Event Series

The purpose of the Unleash Your Inner STEM event series was first to help STEM students—with an emphasis on non-traditional and community college students—discover, develop and learn to convey their own identities; and second, to research the impact of networking events on these students. SWE, with funding from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, is exploring how events like these impact how students on the community college pathway choose majors, career paths and internships, and equip them to succeed in male-dominated fields.

Prasha Dutra, engineer, career coach and creator of the Her STEM Story podcast, moderated the panel for all three events, facilitating conversation and connection amongst women in STEM from all walks of life. Her passion for helping women develop a fulfilling and successful life in STEM guided robust panel discussions that highlighted the diversity of experiences. 

At our most recent panel on April 8th, Prasha spoke with three inspiring women:

  • Courtney Cunningham, NSBE Houston’s 2020-2021 Young Engineer of the Year, Transportation Design at Freese and Nichols
  • Elizabeth Rivera, former Information Technology Specialist and Professional Development Lead for SWE’s African American Affinity Group
  • Cleo Weber, propulsion engineer for JUNO and MAVEN, SWE Rocky Mountain Member

Check out the panel recording below to learn about Courtney, Elizabeth, and Cleo’s journeys towards finding their identities as women in STEM:

You can also view previous panel recordings in these additional All Together posts spotlighting Unleash Your Inner STEM:

During each event following the panel presentation, attendees had the opportunity to join small group discussions on topics related to STEM and identity, such as mentoring, jobs and networking, STEM & the LGBTQ community and being a first-generation college student. Many exchanged LinkedIn profiles to keep in touch. 

After each event, we asked those who attended what the highlight of the event was for them. Here are some of the responses:

“The opening panel was exceptional. The broad range of experiences, both personal and professional, allowed for a comprehensive look at the realities of being a woman in STEM.”

“I loved being able to hear many women from diverse backgrounds and professions share their passion for their jobs.”

“Hearing the stories of women engineers/scientists who have succeeded through trying times. It gives me hope and pushes out the negative thinking cycle.”

Thank you the Northrop Grumman Foundation for funding Unleash Your Inner STEM and enabling SWE to provide these learning and networking opportunities. SWE will be hosting a similar event series this fall; submit this interest form to ensure that you don’t miss out, and possibly help us shape future events!

If you can’t wait until the fall, consider attending Prasha’s conference, Wonder Women in STEM, this summer (July 24-25, 2021) to learn from the best in STEM fields from around the world, meet your new STEM besties, and grow your career and network from the comfort of your home!


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