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SWE Community Spotlight: Public Policy Affinity Group Overview

Each month throughout the year, we'll be spotlighting our SWE Affinity Groups. This month, we are excited to highlight the Public Policy Affinity Group.
SWE Community Spotlight: Public Policy Affinity Group

The SWE AGs’ mission is to bring together communities that share similar interests and backgrounds that support the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) strategic goals of SWE.

SWE Affinity Group goals:

  • Develop a sense of community in the Affinity Groups fostering an inclusive environment where people discuss experiences in their engineering career, online and offline.
  • Provide professional development opportunities enabling and sponsoring leadership experiences, networking, and mentorship.
  • Empower members through highlighting accomplishments and supporting diversity in the SWE Leadership pipeline, Awards, and Scholarships.

SWE AGs are organized into DE&I AGs, Business & Interests AGs, and Career Stages AGs. DE&I AGs are focused on the needs of social minority populations and support initiatives tailored to serve these communities. Business & Interests AGs are loosely centered around the members’ business environment and career experiences.  Career Stages AGs focus on the time phases of AG members’ careers, from Early Career Professionals AG to Late Career and Retire AG. 

What are the overall goals of the Public Policy Affinity Group?

Our mission is to inspire members to get involved in public policy and support and to create a community and safe discussion around advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels to advance policy interests that align with SWE’s goals.


  • Better understand the proportion of membership who are interested in advocacy goals
  • Gain feedback and insight from members on what policies SWE should focus on, to drive a bottom-up policy focus
  • Partner with other advocacy groups outside of SWE to expand membership and reach on policy areas, engage and recruit those interested in STEM and women’s policy in SWE
  • Resonate with and capture the attention of an increasingly policy-aware voter population, starting with collegiate members
  • Re-engage longstanding SWE members with the strategic, impactful mission of changing policy

Does the Public Policy AG have regular meetings? If so, when and how often?  What takes place during a typical meeting?

We hope to build a schedule of regular events soon. Most of our communication happens through our Facebook Group, so stay tuned by following us there. Meeting topics can range from congressional overviews, to guest speakers, and opportunities to interact with other SWE members who are also interested in public policy. Our next general meeting will be on Tuesday, May 16th at 6pm EDT – register here for a reminder.

How is the Public Policy AG working to reach and include new members?

We work with SWE to reach those interested in public policy through AllTogether blogs, email blasts, and public policy events. We will also engage participants of the SWE Congressional Visit Days.

Why is the Public Policy AG important to its members?

The Public Policy AG aims to educate on their ability to impact policy, even if they do not live in the Washington, DC area.  We also want to better understand SWE members’ public policy questions and needs to help drive SWE conference sessions, training, and resources.  The AG is a space where we can connect those interested in policy advancement locally, state-wide, and federally and individuals who want to learn more about getting involved with those who have legislative experience.  We also want to recognize individual and group contributions to advocacy efforts and policy advancement that align to SWE goals and mission.

Where would you direct those interested in joining or learning more about the Public Policy AG?

Those who are interested in joining or learning more about the AG can join our Facebook group or email us at

Meet the Public Policy AG leaders

Jenny Tsao


Jenny Tsao (she/her)

Jenny is the Public Policy Affinity Group Lead, and joined SWE in 2007 as part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was recently the Government Relations and Public Policy Coordinator for SWE, and has completed a year-long fellowship in the Senate. She is also involved in the SWE Baltimore-Washington section.



Abby Shulte


Abby Shulte (she/her)

Abby is the programming coordinator for the Public Policy Affinity Group and joined SWE in 2016 when she attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She is currently a Sr. Security Analyst at Kin Insurance, a SWE-MN Outreach Lead, and a Girl Scout Leader.



Katelyn Lichte


Katelyn Lichte (she/her)

Katelyn is the Government Relations and Public Policy Coordinator for SWE and serves as a member of the leadership team for the Public Policy Affinity Group. She’s been involved in SWE since college and has held various leadership positions. Outside of SWE, Katelyn is a Senior Production Supervisor for Cargill. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in mechanical engineering.


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