“SWE helped me feel like I had a strong support system within engineering.”
Washington State University’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) encourages women to pursue a career in the STEM field. The club provides an inclusive environment that helps build individuals interpersonal skills and create connections.
“A lot of clubs on campus are usually focused on projects and more of the technical aspects, but SWE is all about networking. It’s about creating those connections with the college, engineering, and other people,” said SWE vice president Samantha Grindrod. “Technical skills can only get one so far – communication needs to be learned effectively in order to complete projects and work to one’s best ability.”
SWE provides networking opportunities through its industry and SWEsters mentoring programs. The industry mentoring program pairs a student with an industry representative, creating a connection for them to use in their future career. The SWEsters program joins upper- and underclass engineering students, providing new students with someone with experience that they can rely on for guidance.
“A lot of members enjoy SWE because it’s a way to de-stress as well. Club members can go to a haunted house, challenge themselves with the ropes course, or go to a potluck, which can be a nice social release,” said SWE president Rachel Johnson. “People have met really great friends with the mentoring program.”
Not only are relationships built in SWE, but leadership skills are developed as well. SWE helps create leaders within the college, showing that women are present and active throughout the WSU community, said Grindrod.
Each year, SWE hosts the WSU Kid’s Science and Engineering Day, where they invite WSU engineering and science clubs to perform demonstrations for children.
“It creates a good community within WSU as well,” said Johnson. “Bringing people together and having them talk about their different ideas and activities creates a lot of inspiration and sense of comradery within Voiland College.”
SWE also hosts Evening with Industry, a networking dinner and social hour for engineering students that takes place annually the day before the Voiland College Technical Career Fair. SWE invites company representatives and recruiters from over 30 different companies in the nation to meet with students.