May Hot Topic: Transition to Professional SWE Membership

It’s finally that time of year when school terms are ending and summer is arriving. Before you get too distracted by the nice weather and much-needed break, all SWE members should make sure to renew their membership! Even members with C2C (Collegiate to Career) memberships must login to to renew as “Collegiate to Career (continuing college)” if they will be students (undergraduate or graduate) next year.

Congratulations to all our collegiate members who are soon to graduate and enter the workforce! Have you been a C2C member? If so, remember that your first year of professional membership is already paid for! Simply renew as “Collegiate to Career – Professional Year 1″ and specify what professional section you will be part of. I highly encourage you to stay involved in SWE as a professional for its many benefits, including networking opportunities, professional development, supportive community, outreach involvement, and free online webinars, to name a few. Don’t know what professional section will be in your area? Check out the Sections page on Most of the websites for the specific regions also include a list and map of professional sections. If there is no professional section in your area, you can register as a MAL (Member at Large).



Thoughts on Transitioning

Once you join a professional section, then what? Get in contact with the section and get added to their mailing list. How does SWE as a professional differ from SWE as a collegiate? Here are some thoughts about the transition:

  • Just like collegiate sections, there are varying levels of activity and size for professional sections. If you’re eager to be active, don’t be afraid to jump in and start planning programs. You may be new to the section and how it operates, but you can be a valuable set of fresh eyes with previous SWE experiences under your belt.
  • Unless your employer happens to have a large number of SWE members at your workplace, getting your professional section together in person may occur less frequently. Some sections cover large geographical areas.
  • Free food is a great incentive for college students, but you may need to be more creative about getting attendance from professionals. Professionals often have busy work and personal lives, and they are interested in learning different skills and information than collegiates.
  • You can still be involved in SWE committees and/or leadership roles at the regional and society level! This may be especially useful for MALs without a nearby section to be involved in.
  • If your employer sends people to SWE conferences, ask if you can attend. Conferences are fantastic experiences both as a collegiate and as a professional. You may even apply to be a presenter, or attend workshops for continuing education credits.
  • SWE has a different set of individual awards and section awards for professionals than for collegiates. Be sure to apply so that your achievements can be recognized by SWE!
  • You have the opportunity to interact with collegiate sections in a mentoring or alumni relationship. Keep in touch with your college section. Your experiences as you start your career can be very beneficial to share. In the future you may even consider being a SWE counselor for a collegiate section.


I hope this helps with transitioning smoothly. Good luck to everyone!

Iowa State University: SWE University

This past March, the Iowa State University chapter of Society of Women Engineers held their first annual SWE University event. This event was geared towards junior and senior women in high school who are interested in engineering, but have not necessarily decided on it. The students are given the opportunity to experience both engineering and the Iowa State campus in order to see what college is actually like. They also get introduced to some of the recourses for women in STEM fields, such as Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), which is the campus’s learning community for women in STEM fields.
Iowa_State_SWE_UOver the course of the two days on campus, these young women got to explore all of the different disciplines of engineering offered at Iowa State, sit in on a college level engineering lecture, participate in school sponsored Friday night events, as well as spend the night in a residence hall with a host, who participates in Iowa State’s chapter of SWE. In the conclusion survey that the students took after the weekend was over, the students showed that they had really enjoyed their unique experiences with being on campus, and were more interested in going into engineering.

This program was also greatly beneficial to the SWE students who volunteered. In addition to having a lot of fun, they got the opportunity to act as mentors to younger students. This was especially beneficial to freshmen SWE members who may not have gotten this opportunity yet, being the newest group to campus. It was refreshing to see the younger students so excited about engineering, and it helped revitalize the college students in the middle of the semester.

This event was an enormous success with 55 high school students attending, 75 students volunteering, and all of the faculty and staff who got involved. It really brought the different engineering disciplines together, and Iowa State is excited to see where this program will go and expand in the future.

SWE Senate Update – Discussion on Proposed Logo

Jamie Sanderson (
FY15 Region H Collegiate Senator

As noted earlier, rebranding was one of the agenda items for the FY15 Annual SWE Senate meeting. Following the meeting, the results and recommendations were presented and discussed at all the region conferences, including the Region H Conference held March 6th –7th at the University of Notre Dame. We thought we’d use the conference video tape to ensure all points brought up during the collegiate meeting were covered, but it turned out the collegiate meeting wasn’t included so please feel free to contact me if the following information does not answer your questions or if you have additional comments you’d like to share. I definitely want to represent our region as well as possible!

The David James Group (DJG), SWE’s in-house marketing agency for the last eight years, conducted a survey during the spring of 2014. 58% of the 2000+ respondents were members of a professional SWE section, 27% were members of a collegiate SWE section, and 15% were non-members. DJG’s recommendations were based on the results from this survey as well as some additional benchmarking efforts.

DJG explained that the gear is less literal which is meant to remove any limitations about the gear not representing all of the engineering disciplines; that the three sections of the logo visually tie to the tagline, Aspire / Advance / Achieve; that the acronym is featured because it is how most members and supporters refer to SWE; and that the acronym approach will make the logo more easily understood on a global basis.

Lower case letters were selected because they are perceived as being more welcoming. DJG also showed examples where other large corporations use lower case, e.g., UPS:

(Image retrieved from

The words Aspire / Advance / Achieve were included in the logo because more than two-thirds of the DJG survey respondents fell into the category that said they “really liked” them. However, for logo usage under 1.5 inches, the logo would appear without the full name or tagline:


The increased cost associated with screen printing three vs. two colors, as in the current logo, was discussed. A single color or a “reverse” version of the logo that requires only one color could be used to reduce costs.

Example of reversed image of logo less than 1.5 inches:


DJG indicated that the current logo is challenging to accurately reproduce because of the way theletters are contained within the gear. We were told the colors chosen for the proposed logo work well on the web.

Proposed logo with Aspire/Advance/Achieve tag line:


When used for collegiate sections, the collegiate section information would replace the Aspire / Advance / Achieve tagline.

The ballot for voting on the proposed logo is now open for Senate members. It will remain open until May 7th so, again, please feel free to contact me if you have additional comments or questions or simply want to let me know how you feel. I appreciate your input!


SWE Senate Updates

Jamie Sanderson (
FY15 Region H Collegiate Senator

I hope the end of the school year is going well for you! The SWE Senate has been busy, and I have a few updates to share.

Cathy Pieronek
I’m sure most of you have already seen and/or heard that Cathy Pieronek, Region H Senator, Region Conference Advisor, and Notre Dame SWE Advisor, passed away on April 9th. I had the opportunity to serve with Cathy this past year. I enjoyed working with her and respected her a great deal. We will all really miss her.

FY15 Annual SWE Senate Meeting
The agenda for the FY15 Annual SWE Senate Meeting included, among other things, Motion S-1501 (Member Removal), an update from the Strategic Initiatives Committee, and a presentation on and discussion about rebranding efforts.

Motion S-1501
Motion S-1501 proposed a bylaws amendment to clarify that SWE membership can be revoked not only for failure to pay dues, but also if a member is found by the Ethics Committee to have violated the Code of Conduct. The motion passed, and the bylaw now reads as follows:

Section 4.B.
Any member who fails to pay dues according to the established schedule shall be dropped from the Society’s membership register. A member may be disciplined or removed in accordance with the procedures outlined in the “Procedures for Review of SWE Member Conduct,” which shall be kept updated on the SWE website. Amendments to these procedures may be proposed by the board of directors or the ethics committee, for approval by the Senate.

Strategic Initiatives
The FY15 Strategic Initiative focused on how SWE can better support small business members and improve its relationship with small businesses. Members employed by companies with less than 500 employees (which is the small business size standard established by the U.S. Small Business Administration) were surveyed regarding membership, professional development, awards, and networking. The results will be used to try to develop new tools and programs that will be helpful to small business members. It was also specifically noted that the needs of entrepreneurs may not be identical to the needs of small businesses.

The Strategic Initiatives Committee has been soliciting ideas for FY16 and will select the next topic in late May.

Brand Messaging and Identity
SWE chose to work with the David James Group (SWE’s in-house marketing agency for the last eight years) for its rebranding efforts. Results include a revised brand positioning statement and a proposed new logo:

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology. To ensure SWE members reach their full potential as engineers and leaders, the Society offers unique opportunities to network, provides professional development and shapes public policy. SWE champions the value of diversity and inspires girls to become engineers in order to expand the engineering profession’s ability to improve the quality of life for billions of people worldwide.


Pictured from left to right: Cathy Pieronek, Kalyani Mallela, and Jamie Sanderson.

The David James Group explained that the gear has been re-imagined and is more stylized and less literal which removes any limitations about the gear not representing all of the engineering disciplines; that the three sections of the logo visually tie to the tagline, Aspire / Advance / Achieve; that the acronym is featured because it is how most of the members and supporters refer to SWE; and that the acronym approach will make the logo more easily understood globally.

Additional discussion about rebranding and the proposed new logo will follow in another post.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions about any of these updates.

Good luck to everyone finishing up the semester!

Get to Know Your Region H Professional Section: Chicago Regional Section

Section Number/Name: Chicago Regional – H001

Section President: Jessica Jennings

Section Representative(s): Heather Mayes, Katie Byczek, Kate Lyons, Denise Dougherty, Stephanie Foege (alternate), and Dayna Johnson (alternate)

The Chicago Regional Section is home to 400+ members spread throughout the city and suburbs and hosts a variety of events throughout the year.  Our Vice Presidents each oversee a specific area of events to better cater to our membership, both in terms of interest and geography.  Below is a sampling of recent events in each of our three areas of focus: Membership (VP – Kristine Barnes), Outreach (VP – Sainab Taiwo Ninalowo), and Professional Development (VP – April Bledsoe).

Outreach: Proviso Science & Math Awards Night – SWE Certificates of Merit

SWE recognizes up to three female students in each high school for outstanding achievement over three years in both mathematics and science. On March 9th 2015, SWE-CRS partnered with Proviso Township High Schools to present awards to 49 female students who excel in STEM studies from Proviso West, Proviso East, and Proviso Math and Science Academy.

The guest speaker, SWE-CRS’ High School Liaison, Kristin Shumake gave a brief speech about the importance of STEM studies and mentorship to young girls. Kristin also advised the girls to use the resources SWE has to offer to students. SWE members in attendance networked with the students, teachers, and parents at the end of the event.

SWE-CRS awarded 49 girls at the Proviso Science & Math Award Night.

SWE-CRS awarded 49 girls at the Proviso Science & Math Award Night.

Two of the SWE Certificates of Merit Award recipients and their teachers

Two of the SWE Certificates of Merit Award recipients and their teachers

Professional Development: Conference in partnership with Navistar, It Starts with You

SWE CRS held a professional development conference at the Navistar, Inc. campus in Lisle, Illinois on Saturday, March 21st.  The core theme of the event was to encourage participants who want to move to the next level in their careers by taking personal accountability.  Individuals were coached and provided tools to look at what they can do as an individual to manage their own thinking, drive improvement in their skills and then make it visible to others.

starts with youThe day’s activities included interactive sessions, lunch and a tour of the Navistar facility.  Norah Blackaller of Argonne, facilitated a networking activity over the lunch hour. Additionally, to encourage collegiates in the job hunt, a session involving coaching on their resumes, interviewing, and personal appearance was made available.  This also included a photographer taking profile pictures.

The first speaker, Dennis Mooney, Navistar’s Sr. VP of Global Product Development shared career experience, industry trends for women in engineering and tips to get out of the “frozen” zone.   Also, speakers Nadine Haupt of FAST,  Euridice Oware – PhD,  Dayna Johnson of GE and Kate Jakubus of Meliora K, covered topics from identifying your leadership qualities, speaking powerfully, managing the opposite sex and social entrepreneurship. All speakers who generously shared their experiences are also SWE members.  Attendees were made up of women and men, mostly SWE members, but also included other professionals from the area.

Dennis Mooney, Sr. Vice President Global Product Development, Navistar, Inc.

Dennis Mooney, Sr. Vice President Global Product Development, Navistar, Inc.


Article submitted by Dayna Johnson

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