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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 243: Starting and Navigating Jobs as an Early Career Engineer

Join the SWE Early Career Professionals Affinity Group in this real-life mentoring session on navigating new engineering jobs on Diverse: a SWE podcast!

Early career engineers face a unique set of challenges, from navigating new jobs to approaching unfamiliar tasks to assessing whether a workplace is truly the right fit.

In this episode, sit in on a mentoring session with Jenni Johnson (she/her), co-lead of the SWE Early Career Professionals Affinity Group, and her real-life mentor Liz San Miguel (she/her) of the SWE Mid-Career Professionals Affinity Group where they discuss these topics.

Learn how to figure out if a company is the right place for your long-term growth, strategies to change sectors within engineering and why having a mentor can be life-changing for early career engineers.

Speaker: Jenni Johnson (she/her), SWE Early Career Professionals Affinity Group

Jenni Johnson headshotJenni Johnson, PE, is an Environmental Engineer at CDM Smith in Boston, Mass. and a New Mexico Tech alumna. At CDM Smith, she is responsible for designing and supporting a diverse range of water projects including stormwater management systems, treatment facilities, and water and sewer mains.

In her first four and a half years as a professional, Jenni has navigated through several challenges many early career professionals face such as switching career paths and industries and being a new hire in different workplace cultures. Jenni is grateful for the many opportunities SWE has provided to establish mentoring relationships through her involvement on committees as well as attending conferences. Her mentors helped encourage her to make a career switch and guided her through the process.

Jenni’s SWE involvement began as a collegiate in 2016, and she has since held multiple leadership roles. Her current roles include the Co-Lead for the Early Career Professionals AG, Community Outreach Co-Lead on the WE Local Advisory Board (LAB), and a member of the SWE Boston Membership Committee. In her free time, Jenni enjoys hiking, hockey and exploring her new home in New England.

Speaker: Liz San Miguel (she/her), SWE Mid-Career Professionals Affinity Group

Liz San Miguel square headshot

Liz San Miguel has worked in numerous capacities at Northrop Grumman, a multinational aerospace and defense technology company, for nearly 18 years. She currently serves as program director of vehicle engineering.

Liz was selected as a Northrop Grumman Corporate Technology Council Protege in 2017 for her technical accomplishments and leadership potential, and as an emerging leader in the field of engineering by the Sonora Region Society of Women Engineers in 2018. Previously, she was manager of specialty systems engineering for the corporation’s ground-based strategic deterrent weapon system replacement program.

Liz earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at the University of California, Irvine and a master’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Southern California. She continues to advocate for future engineering leaders through her active involvement in the Society of Women Engineers. She also is an advocate of STEM outreach, serving as a guest speaker at events for the Girl Scouts, Graduate Women in Science and Society of Women Engineers.


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