Society of Women Engineers: Recognizing Women Achievements

By Courtney Hibler

The Society of Women Engineers hosted an event at Youngstown State University for Women’s International Day on March 6 that included food, activities and a lecture about engineering.

SWE was formed in 1950 and is a nonprofit educational and service organization. The organization has over 37,000 members in 100 professional sections.

Holly Martin, assistant professor in chemical engineering and faculty advisor for SWE, said the organization focuses on women from all engineering disciplines to come together and talk about the similarities and differences between their majors and internship experiences.

“I like that it isn’t focused on just one major,” she said. “Talking about the differences from one area to another will help people in other sections of a business to support their co-workers.”

Martin said the SWE holds two main events at YSU, including one for Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

“It’s a ‘Women in Engineering’ event where girls in grades four [through] six come to campus to learn about the five different engineering disciplines through hands-on activities,” she said.

SWE also holds a “Dinner with Industry” event every spring where local companies employing engineers purchase a table and send two representatives to sit with six students having selected that specific company as one of their top three choices of employment.

Rana Abu-Hashim, a senior chemical engineering major and president of SWE, said this event allows a large number of networking opportunities for engineering students.

“I think that’s the best thing about SWE,” she said. “The opportunities that are available are endless.”

The event SWE hosted last week was designed to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

“This was the first event we hosted,” Abu-Hashim said. “It was great to see everyone show up and have an interest in what the event was about.”

The event included a lecture from a representative of an aluminum rolling company, Novelis, speaking on what their company is about and how students can one day work for them.

Julie Harman, human resource leader for Novelis, said the company is a great opportunity for those in the engineering field to start their career.

“We provide internships as well as some outstanding opportunities for our employees to travel outside of the United States,” she said. “It’s a wonderful start to get your foot in the door for a future career.”

Chloe Chow, a junior industrial engineering major and vice president of SWE, said Novelis provided a welcoming and genuine network of people who want to see people succeed in their career.

In her opinion, SWE is similar to Novelis in wanting to provide opportunities to meet students and become part of something greater than just academics.

“Being able to recognize these achievements of women helps celebrate our significance as women,” she said. “SWE has allowed me to showcase my leadership abilities, meet amazing schoolmates and give back to the community.”

Any engineer interested in joining or learning more about SWE is encouraged to contact the organization at swe@ysu.edu.

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