The Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI) is a year-round program dedicated to identifying, supporting, and better preparing female collegiate engineering students to become the leaders of tomorrow in STEM.
CLI hosts 150 women students in engineering from September to April for virtual speaker sessions with industry and leadership experts, access to exclusive curated content on SWE’s Advance Learning Center, and participation in SWE’s annual WE conference.
Read on for Grace Peterson’s experience with CLI this year! Applications for the upcoming CLI program will be open starting Tuesday, June 20th until Wednesday, July 5th, 2023. Check the CLI page for more info and to apply.
SWE is grateful for the support of the Danaher Foundation, ARDC, Keysight, and GM to make this program possible.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has provided me with many valuable opportunities to develop my leadership skills, connect with other women in engineering, and grow personally and professionally.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the FY23 Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI). As a CLI participant, I attended monthly professional development sessions along with a cohort of fellow collegiate SWE members.
In these sessions, we heard from excellent speakers on a variety of relevant topics. Dr. Korie Grayson encouraged us to practice self-advocacy by learning when and how to say “no.” We learned that providing an explanation is unnecessary, and that while saying “no” can be difficult, saying “yes” can be even more so if it leads to overcommitment.
Melissa Marshall shared techniques for presenting technical topics in a way that is accessible to audiences without a technical background. She explained the importance of showing listeners how the information matters to them by interpreting the results rather than simply reporting them.
Mimi Brown offered tips on navigating difficult interpersonal situations by taking responsibility for our responses and addressing the behaviors through clear communication. Katie Donovan spoke to us about negotiating pay by doing market research and having a collaborative conversation with the employer.
Our program coordinator, Rachel Porcelli of SWE, discussed several approaches to leadership and encouraged us to reflect on the future of our leadership journeys.
In addition to these inspiring sessions, CLI gave me the opportunity to attend SWE’s annual conference, where I benefited from listening to even more great presentations.
CLI also offered a career coaching program, through which I was paired with Veronica Thomas, a mentor in the industry. I appreciated the insights she shared in our conversations on career paths, productivity and efficiency, conflict management, and more. Throughout the program, I have enjoyed connecting with my fellow CLI participants and reflecting on all that we’ve learned.
What I appreciated most about CLI was that I left each session with a clear understanding of practical ways to implement the key points. This gave me confidence in applying what I learned. I have already found this knowledge useful, and I look forward to continuing to grow in these areas.