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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 260: The SWE Collegiate Experience With Vidhya Thiyagarajan

Vidhya Thiyagarajan shares about her SWE collegiate experience and reflects on what it was like to start a SWENext Club at her high school in this episode of Diverse: a SWE podcast.
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Vidhya Thiyagarajan, FY24 SWE collegiate director and an associate scientist in chemical commercialization technology at Merck, joins us on this episode of Diverse to shine a light on the SWE collegiate experience.

Interviewed by Karen Horting, CEO and executive director of SWE, Thiyagarajan reflects on starting a SWENext Club at her high school and getting involved with SWE at the University of Pittsburgh.

Hear her tips for making the most of SWE during college and her advice for women and girls who are thinking about pursuing engineering.

Listen to the episode on SWE’s websiteSpotifyApple Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker: Vidhya Thiyagarajan, Associate Scientist in Chemical Commercialization Technology, Merck

SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 260: The SWE Collegiate Experience With Vidhya Thiyagarajan

Vidhya Thiyagarajan is an Associate Scientist within Chemical Commercialization Technology at Merck. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Thiyagarajan joined the Society of Women Engineers in 2017 as a SWENexter. Over the last six years, she has held various leadership roles within SWE, both within her collegiate section (PittSWE) and on several Society-level committees.

Within PittSWE, she has served as high school outreach chair, vice president of outreach, and section vice president. At the Society level, Thiyagarajan has served on the awards and recognition and bylaws committees as well as the SWENext Committee, where she was the lead for the SWENext Clubs and publications workgroups. For her efforts and dedication to SWE, Thiyagarajan was awarded the Rising Star, Guiding Star, and Outstanding Collegiate Member awards.

Outside of SWE, Thiyagarajan was involved in Pitt’s American Institute of Chemical Engineers chapter, where she was the external vice president for the past year. She was also a leader within the school’s first-year engineering program and has served as a peer mentor and undergraduate teaching assistant. In her free time, Thiyagarajan enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.

Host: Karen Horting, Executive Director and CEO, Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

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Karen Horting, CAE, is the executive director and CEO for the Society of Women Engineers, a position she has held since Dec. 31, 2013.

With more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and fund development, Horting was most recently the SWE deputy executive director.

In this capacity, she was responsible for all fund development activities for the organization, including corporate membership and SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council and more traditional philanthropy such as foundation and government grants, individual gifts, and bequests.

She also oversaw many of the Society’s programs and services, including professional development, K-12 outreach, the annual conference, and SWE’s international expansion.

She currently serves on the Leadership Circle of the 50K Coalition, the FIRST Robotics Board of Directors, the STEM Ed Coalition Board of Directors, Engineering CAS Diversity Advisory Board, and the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board (DAAB).


Diverse: a SWE podcast has been recognized as a top women in STEM podcast and a top engineering podcast!

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