Kaitlyn 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.