FY16 Region H Collegiate Team

Congrats to the newly elected FY16 Region H Collegiate Team:

Region Collegiate Representatives: Emily Matijevich (U-IL) & Elia Zanella (U-MN);
Region Collegiate Communications Editor: Elisa Hutchinson (IA St);
Region Collegiate Senator: Abigail Hedlin (Valpo)

Looking forward to working with you this next year!

And on a side note: There are many other volunteer roles that some of you collegians can get involved with in Region H! (See my August post.)

And for you Freshman and Sophomores – get nominated for the SWEFL program (See details below)!

Betty Leonard
SWE Region H Governor FY15 & FY16


The deadline for FY16 SWEFL (SWE Future Leaders) Program Nominations is Friday, May 1, 2015 . Please take this opportunity to nominate outstanding collegiate members.  Nominees should have no less than two years left of a current degree program (i.e. Freshmen and Sophomores for undergraduates or 1st/2nd year graduate students going for a doctorate) and shall have a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0.  Candidates for SWEFL nominations should be active collegiate members of the Society, exhibit strong leadership potential and interest in extended involvement in the Society beyond the collegiate experience. Candidates must have a current SWE membership and be in good standing. Nominees who have been selected as SWEFLs for a previous FY or have attended the Collegiate Leadership Institute or Forum as another function are precluded from being nominated. The nominee should not be on study abroad during her term as a SWEFL in order to be an active participant in her regional team.

SWEFLs will be given the opportunity to expand their leadership skills and SWE knowledge throughout the year via experiences such as exclusive webinars and mentoring opportunities and attending the Collegiate Leadership Institute in conjunction with the WE15 Annual Conference October 22-24, 2015 in Nashville, TN “Reach Out to Reach Up.” At the conference SWEFLs will join other regional collegiate leadership in professional development workshops and networking opportunities.

Nominators should have an established relationship with the nominee that permits detailed insight into the nominee’s leadership potential and interest in the Society.  The nominator cannot be the nominee herself, as one of the leadership metrics used for establishing future leadership is to establish networks and relationships.  Nominators are not required to be members of SWE, but should have some knowledge of the Society to understand the value of the program and the Society goals.  Examples of past nominators include professors, counselors, and SWE section presidents.

The nomination form asks for your contact information and the SWEFL nominee’s contact information. Additionally, the following questions are part of the nomination:

1. Current involvement in university section and/or other Society activities
2. Potential future involvement in university section and/or other Society activities
3. Activities and responsibilities in other organizations that show positive leadership skills and abilities
4. Traits and capabilities of the nominee that indicate her leadership potential
5. How the nominee would benefit from participating in the SWEFL program
6. How others would benefit from the nominee participating in the SWEFL program

The nominee will receive a request for follow up information after the nomination form is complete and submitted. Please make sure the nominee’s contact information is correct and monitored. We look forward to receiving your nominations.

FY15 SWEFL Coordinator, Andie Maret
FY16 SWEFL Coordinator, Libby Taylor

April Hot Topic: Tips to Transition Section Leadership

Image: cedarhome.org

Image: cedarhome.org

As the school year comes to a close and SWE sections elect their new leaders, proper transitioning of the leadership roles is vital to make sure the section continues to flourish in future years. Here are some tips for successful transitioning:


If possible, an in-person meeting between the outgoing and incoming leader is a great way to discuss the duties and tasks needed for the position. Whether or not an in-person meeting is possible, it’s important to have electronic documents that detail the information. There is usually a large amount of information to share, so having it available for later reference is useful. These documents will greatly help future officers, who can update them as needed. Here are some documents your section might benefit by utilizing:

  • Officer Reports – contain categories such as Timeline, Summary of Projects, Budget, Inventory, Sample Emails/Documents Prepared, Contact Information, Tips, Ideas for Improvement, etc. If the leadership role involves money, make sure all account information gets properly shared.
  • Committee Member Reports – similar reports written by committee members or other leadership roles within the section, if needed.
  • Event Archives – submitted via an online form within ~1 week of the event by the event planner, it details what the event was about, what went well, and what did not go well. Event archives from the current year should be shared with all officers for the upcoming year. They are also very useful for applying for awards for the section.

What Need Improving?

I have often heard statements such as, “It will take most of the fall semester to get the hang of the position.” The problem with this learning curve is that it leaves less time for making improvements or introducing new ideas. Make sure during transitions that the outgoing officer clearly communicates (and documents) what the current biggest challenges with the role are, what ideas they had but did not have time to implement, and other advice to keep the section continuously improving.


The incoming president and other executive officers need to come together to agree on expectations for the section leaders. These expectations could involve event attendance, office hours, communicating within the officer board, section goals, resources for help, etc. It’s important that these rules and expectations  are clearly communicated.


The new leadership should have opportunities to get to know each other on a personal level, have fun together, and get excited for the next year that they will be working together!


Cathy Pieronek

We regret to inform you of unfortunate news. Cathy Pieronek, Region H Senator, Region Conference Advisor, and Notre Dame SWE advisor, passed away suddenly on April 9th. Cathy was an inspiration to many and will be missed by all of us in SWE. Our condolences go out to her family and loved ones. Click here for her obituary. Here are news articles in her honor: Notre Dame NewsND Observer.

Cathy Pieronek, middle, at Region H Conference 2015 at Notre Dame

Cathy Pieronek, middle, at Region H Conference 2015 at Notre Dame

Job Posting: Manufacturing Engineer in WI

A job opportunity for newer engineering graduates has been posted by a no-cost recruiting firm specializing in Manufacturing and Engineering careers, Markent Personnel, Inc. This and other opportunities are posted on the Career & Scholarship Opportunities page of the blog. See details below:

Manufacturing Engineer – Entry Level

A Tier 1 supplier to the Automotive Industry is looking at adding up to 5 Manufacturing Engineers.  Location is in Northern Wisconsin.

RESPONSIBILITIES: On the floor machining optimization of precision engine parts manufacturing. Work on plant layout of equipment and work space for maximum efficiency of production processes, while ensuring the safety of personnel, equipment, machinery and the facility. Help research and justify capital equipment expenditures for efficient and economical manufacture of products.


  • Must have obtained a BS in Engineering (Experience candidates Manufacturing, Industrial , Mechanical, etc…); (Non-experience Mechanical only)
  • At least a co-op in a machining environment (automotive would be a plus)
  • Extra pluses: Lean, Six Sigma, QS9000, TS16949 and CNC

Get to Know Kaitlyn Sullivan, Your Region SWE Future Leader (SWEFL)!

Kaitlyn_SullivanKaitlyn Sullivan is a junior studying chemical engineering at Iowa State University and the upcoming president of the Iowa State SWE section.  She has been involved in SWE since the beginning of her freshmen year and held several positions in the fundraising committee. She is also a member of Alpha Sigma Kappa sorority. She interned with Dow Chemical in Hahnville, LA during summer 2014.

Why did you apply for SWEFL?

As many members do, I fell in love with everything SWE when I first got involved. As I started taking on more leadership roles, a mentor of mine told me that SWE is great for collegiate years but encouraged me to get more involved in a major-specific professional organization once I graduate. After being nominated by another mentor, I applied to be a SWEFL because I wanted to determine if that was true. Did I need to leave SWE behind after college? Spoiler: I determined that to be false.

What will you take away from the experience of being SWEFL?

During this past year, I have learned so much about the workings of SWE beyond the collegiate sections. The collegiate sections are important – do not get me wrong. However, the regional and national branches of SWE are just as impactful as far as providing professional development resources, leadership opportunities, etc.  SWEFL’s participate in the Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI) at the WE2014 conference. At CLI and throughout the year, I learned so much about being a member of Society of Women Engineers and the benefits that come with that. I would strongly encourage any engineering student to somehow get involved as a SWEFL, CLI, or any  of the other opportunities that SWE has. In essence, I have learned that SWE is an organization dedicated to providing resources to create a more prepared work-force starting with an engineering education.

What does SWE mean to you?

SWE means social, professional, and academic growth. When I started college, I was told to find a club for my major and a club for fun.  SWE has filled both of those roles. From the satisfaction of helping out with an outreach event to the inspiration of hearing someone speak about doing something insanely cool with an engineering degree at at conference, SWE brings together all of the components I could hope to find in an organization. My section and Region H has provided so many opportunities to feel welcome, empowered, and capable.

Get to Know Elia Zanella, Your Region SWE Future Leader (SWEFL)!

Elia_ZanellaElia Zanella is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities planning to complete the five-year bachelor’s and master’s program. She is heavily involved in the Society of Women Engineers where this year she serves as the Lead Outreach Director at UMN, was selected for the National Future Leaders Program and is the Region H Colligate Membership Coordinator. She is also involved in the College of Science and Engineering Ambassadors, where she conducts tours for high school students and mentors two freshmen. She is employed at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory where she is responsible for constructing experiments, assisting with data collection, and this summer was conducting research for the Fargo Moorhead Diversion Project. Recently, Elia was published for her contribution at the Mayo Clinic Biomechanics Lab. In her free time, Elia is also training for a marathon in October with hopes to run Disney’s Dopey Challenge some day. Elia is very close to her family as well and usually sees them every other week even while she is in school!

Why did you apply for SWEFL?

I applied to become a SWEFL because I wanted to learn different communication and leadership strategies, which the Colligate Leadership Institute taught me at WE14. I also wanted to learn the overall structure and regulations of SWE! I am grateful that a few of my section, one our current president Erin, showed me this amazing program because without it I wouldn’t be where I am today!

What will you take away from the experience of being a SWEFL?

I will take away an amazing experience from being a SWEFL! I now have the knowledge of not only how to be a better SWE leader, but a better leader in every aspect of my life. I came away with some amazing new friends from all over the nation including Ohio, New York and other places! I was also able to take away a new leadership role within Region H (Region H Membership Coordinator) and I hope to continue in Region H leadership for years to come.

What does SWE mean to you?

SWE means everything to me! SWE means the collaboration of fantastic, powerful women to help advance each other in STEM fields and in our daily lives. Without SWE, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I wouldn’t be putting so much effort in to encourage girls every single day to follow their dreams in STEM fields. SWE is, as “cheesy” as it sounds, my life. I have learned how to be a leader, how to communicate with others, and how to work hard for my goals both in and outside of SWE.

Get to Know Kathryn Curtis, Your Region SWE Future Leader (SWEFL)!

kathryn curtisKathryn Curtis is a sophomore in Industrial Engineering at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She has been involved in the Bradley SWE section since her freshman year, including currently being the webmaster for her section. She is also involved in APICS, the Bradley Symphonic Winds, and the Bradley Percussion Ensemble. For engineering internships, she has worked at Caterpillar Inc. located in Morton, IL.

Why did you apply to be SWEFL?

I applied to be a SWEFL because I wanted to get more involved in SWE and enhance my leadership skills.  I am very involved in my section, and getting the chance to meet women from other universities who share the same passion as me was an opportunity I could not pass up!  I did not realize that being a SWEFL would provide me with so many opportunities.  I was able to go to the National Conference in L.A. and participate in the Collegiate Leadership Institute where I had the chance to network and learn from professionals in the field.

What will you take away from the experience of being a SWEFL?

I will be able to be a more aware and active member in my university SWE section as well as the regional section.  I have learned so much during this year such as how to run effective meetings, how to be a proud female engineer, and how to overcome adversity in the workplace and life in general.  With these skills, I am a better-rounded person and have grown in my confidence and pride.

What does SWE mean to you?

SWE to me is a group of people who share a common passion for advocating women in engineering.  I get to enrich my skills and grow as a person every time I attend a SWE event all while being surrounded by my best friends and colleagues.  I am comfortable voicing my opinion and challenging myself in a positive environment where I know I am respected.