Women in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have the opportunity to seize the resource of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The purpose of SWE is to bring women together in the field of engineering. “Since there is a lack of girls in most engineering majors, this is their chance to meet and network with other women in their field,” says Nafisah Ahmad, the current president of SWE, and a sophomore in mechanical engineering.
As a field that relies heavily on science and mathematics, many incoming female students may not consider engineering as their initial program of choice. SWE strives to raise awareness and excitement in the field of engineering in both ASU students and young grade school girls.
DESIGN IT is an event that SWE will be hosting this November as a community outreach project. The event is described as a pilot outreach program created to expose middle and high school students to the engineering design process. SWE members will work with the young students on redesigning engineering projects. Ahmad says the goals of the event are to teach young students how to, “design on a budget, learn to understand customer needs, and build and test prototypes.”
In the spring of 2012, SWE is organizing another outreach program called Gear Day. The focus of this event is on educating Brownies and Girl Scouts about the opportunities and fields of engineering. Ahmad explains, “This is a great and fun way for the young girls to have hands-on experience in engineering.” The projects that the girls work on are several kits that contain parts for a mini solar car, catapult and a small circuit board.
Through programs like DESIGN IT and Gear Day, SWE members expose young girls to engineering events and activities.
Ahmad explains that SWE strives to have its members “involved in various activities which encompass everything from volunteering to networking.” Opportunities are provided to benefit student members with both resume-enhancing volunteer work with community outreach projects, and connecting engineering students with engineering professionals.
SWE holds social events to engage members with other engineering students, professors and student organizations. Fundraising events that combine efforts with other organizations allow students to be involved with other clubs while promoting SWE.
The annual Dinner with the Professors is another exciting social event that SWE puts on to have students interact with faculty. The entire engineering society is invited to dine with their professors, giving students a chance to mingle amongst their peers and network with field experts.
The National and Regional conference is another event that SWE takes part in. This year, the organization selected seven SWE members to attend the event in Chicago in October. The conference was designed to bring together the members of SWE from across the country and to motivate them to continue their work in the university and the community.
Ahmad says, “We attended sessions about professionalism, outreach, membership and were able to share best practices with other SWE collegiate sections.”
A dinner was held where all the student and professional sections of SWE attended and mingled as awards were handed out for some of the excelling SWE groups in attendance. ASU’s SWE organization was awarded the Silver Award for Outstanding Section for the academic year 2010-2011, which Ahmad says “was the perfect ending to the trip.”
Another bonus to becoming a member of SWE is that students can apply for SWE National Scholarships. The National SWE has scholarships available for members all across the country.
By joining SWE, students have an opportunity to grasp each of these unique benefits.
For more information, visit http://sites.google.com/site/sweasu/.