Elia 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.