#WE17: Planning Your Itinerary

Congratulations! You’ve registered for WE17, booked your plane ticket, and reserved your hotel room. Wait, you haven’t? It’s still not too late to register for the national conference – visit we17.swe.org to register and learn more about it. But for those SWEsters that did, this week’s blog is intended to help you pack, plan your schedule(s), what to expect, and to provide suggestions on how to enable you to experience the most out of the conference weekend.

Sample Itinerary: the great thing about Austin, TX is that it’s in the Midwest, so it’s a shorter distance for those of us from the Golden West. If you are flying out on Thursday morning, and departing Sunday morning, here’s a sample schedule:

  • Arrive Thursday afternoon in Austin – be sure to coordinate ahead of time if you’re going to the hotel together with your fellow SWEsters by researching hotel shuttle buses (that are free!), taxi services, or the local Uber/Lyft policies.
  • After refreshing yourself and settling in your hotel, don’t relax for too long! You can check in at the convention center and pick up your name tag and conference materials (hint: checking in earlier means you get free conference swag!). Companies also host hospitality suites where you can interact with industry representatives and sign up for interviews that may be held as early as Friday. Feel free to also explore the conference center and familiarize yourself on where important areas are: where to check-in, where the career fair will be held, conference room layouts, and where the map is in case you forget.
  • Grab dinner and go out on the town! The wonderful thing about conferences is that it’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect with old friends who may live further or meet new ones. It’s also a great time to meet your fellow SWEsters within Region A.
  • Before you get your beauty sleep for Friday, ensure your conference materials are ready to go: resume, portfolio/binders, some paper/pens to take notes, and don’t forget water and a snack!
  • In your conference materials, there’s typically a schedule of all the different events happening. On Friday, one of the main events is the illustrious career fair. One tactic is to attend the career fair first, take a break and attend a few talks, or go to a session while waiting for an interview. Be sure to use the conference planner that can also create reminders for when certain sessions will begin! Some recommended sessions/areas include:
    • Mother’s break room, in case you’re traveling with your children and need a little more privacy and attention with your little ones.
    • LCC Drop-In Coaching: Perfect opportunity for collegiate section leaders to ask questions regarding their section performance. Questions could range from fundraising, conflict resolution, connection assistance, to just how to be a better leader as well! Don’t know who’s your LCC? Email us!
    • Hidden Opportunities: Non-Traditional Roles for Engineers at NASA
    • Lightning Talks: on Friday, there are a few exploring innovation in technology and digital life, as well as advocacy for change and human life. Lightning talks are quick sessions (about 15 min.) that concisely present a topic. They’re perfect for those awkward gaps you have in between sessions or waiting for an interview.
    • I Have a Job, Why am I Still Poor? Money Matters as You Transition from collegiate to professional life.
    • And much, much more! The sessions are split into different categories such as K-12 Outreach, SWE Leadership, Career Management, Women in Academia, Diversity and Inclusion, and more! If you’re more interested in a general theme, search by categories first.
  • As busy as WE17 may be, feel free to step out of the conference to grab coffee or lunch at nearby. Yelp recommends these places right next to Austin Convention Center:
    • Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill: Southern Food/Breakfast & Brunch
    • Stella San Jac: American/Sandwiches
    • Cafe Blue (downtown): Seafood/Steakhouses/Cocktails & Bars
    • Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken: fried chicken, enough said
    • Austin Taco Project: Tapas/Small Plates/Tacos/Bars

The conference is such a unique experience, and not one experience is the same; WE17 is designed to be customized to each person’s preference.

Q&A: 

Should I pack for the whole day? If so, what should I pack and wear? 

If your hotel is close to the convention center, I’d recommend to pack for only the conference, and return to your hotel if you’d like to change for more personal exploring around Texas. For a conference-only packing, I’d recommend wearing stylish, professional, yet comfortable shoes; business casual for Friday, especially if you’re interacting with company representatives; resumes/portfolios (specifically, something hard to write on); pens/paper; water bottle; portable phone charger; hand sanitizing gel; breath mints; extra hair tie or safety pins or emergency sewing kit; and a tasteful purse or backpack or bag to put this all in. As we get closer to the conference, our blog will feature what kind of bags/outfits would work.

If your hotel is further and you want to avoid multiple trips, or planning to stay downtown all day, I’d recommend bringing a change of clothes and the above and leaving it at check-in.

Is the conference overwhelming? How will I know what to do first? 

Yes – it can definitely be overwhelming for a first-timer, or even a tenth-timer. I’d recommend just familiarizing yourself with the conference planner and starring which ones appeal to you the most. If you know that you definitely want a job or an internship, you might want to focus on the career fair and professional development sessions. If you’re trying to understand SWE at a higher-level and learn how to increase your involvement, the LCC Drop-In Coaching or organization-related sessions may be more appropriate. I’d also recommend arriving at the convention center at least an hour earlier to settle your nerves. Sometimes things seem more intimidating at face-value. And don’t stress if your perfect plan falls through – just wing it! Often, the best experiences or memories are the unplanned ones.

One tactic is to tag along with someone else who is interested in a session or company, or another tactic is to divide and conquer between yourself and conference attendees/friends/SWEsters if you can’t choose. Then, you can exchange notes!

Stay tuned – please keep submitting all your questions and best practices! We’ll be featuring topics like outfits, what to pack in your suitcase, what to do in Austin, and more as WE17 approaches!

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#WE17: What You Need to Know and do This Week

It’s October, and while for other people they’re swimming in pumpkin spice, leaves, and cozy sweaters, SWEsters know that WE17 will be here soon! But what’s WE17 you might ask…

  • Each year, the Society of Women Engineers organizes our national conference held at a different city. This year, WE17 will be held in Austin, TX. This year’s theme is Always Connecting, Always Engineering.
  • WE17 consists of one of the world’s largest career fairs with over 300 companies, grad schools, and programs for which you can apply.
  • Talks from industry leaders, peers, and senior SWE members on a variety of topics including unconventional paths to success, life advice, panels, and more!
  • Sessions to help collegiate sections improve their development with SWE coaches.
  • Tours offered by SWE to explore Austin and nearby sites to see.
  • Poster competitions!
  • Community outreach events geared towards encouraging young men and women to pursue STEM careers.
  • Everyone is welcome to register and attend: women, men, collegiates, industry-level employees, professors, teachers, aka all SWEsters.

Here’s What You Need to Do Now!

  • Register for WE17 – hurry before it is closed/sold out. There are different prices for your type of membership, so that’s an incentive to renew your memberships.
  • Once you register, you gotta find a way to get to Austin (or the surrounding areas). SWE provides a housing option where you can book a hotel room near to the convention center. SWE typically books out plenty of rooms that are available for reduced prices. For section presidents, there is also the option for presidential housing.
    • Book a flight! One of the best times to book your flight is on a Tuesday at 3 am. Make sure you have the necessary materials to book a flight. Many collegiate sections can help offset these travel costs through grants, or even company sponsorships.
    • Book a hotel room! Don’t be afraid to double up in rooms!
  • Start advertising. It’s no fun to travel alone – spread the word to your friends, fellow members (a great way to get to know one another), and family!
  • Fix up your resume. It’s much easier to gain access to those resources now and to have iterations of improvement versus last-minute edits.

Stay tuned – each week we’ll continue to help provide tips on how to prep. Please leave a comment for any questions/suggestions you may have!

 

Back to School – Part II

As I enter my last year of college, it is often a bittersweet time to reflect on how my naive, bright-eyed self has changed over these past few years. As some of you begin your first years, dreading the start of another rough year, or looking forward to the new challenges ahead of you, ask yourself – why did I choose this field?

Growing up, I wanted to be an artist; my parent were super supportive in my quest to be the master of the arts and music to emerge as the modern Renaissance woman. It was about in middle school when I realized that I wanted a career that was more challenging and in polite terms, more financially stable. I figured hey, architecture combines design and is more practical so why not? Years later, that shot-in-the-dark to choose architecture as a career evolved into engineering. Ask yourself now: do you really know what is engineering? You can Google engineering; you’ll find vague terms such as “solving real-world problems” or “applying your skills” which is technically true, but doesn’t everyone solve a real-world problem in their respective fields? I chose engineering because I felt it was one of the rare careers where you can still create something brand-new. It’s a dynamic art with which I believe I can change the world. I really do. When we chose our majors, there was something incredibly pure in our intention that was (hopefully) decided upon regardless of society. So I remember as I walked out of my Intro to Civil Engineering class on the first day of school, and I felt bliss. I felt a confirmation that this was indeed my calling; as students in STEM-fields, we often face incredibly daunting obstacles, yet these moments, so few and rare, are what drive us to obtain our goals.

Then there’s life. Why, as women, did we choose to enter a field where there is a lot of talk of pipeline, bias, and a wage gap? While these issues are crucial parts of the picture, our stories in STEM cannot be accurately told without discussing inclusion. 

There are often a lot of buzzwords and it can be easy to say that SWE supports diversity and inclusion; I’d like to ensure we understand these terms.

Diversity isn’t simply a difference in our race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity; it also refers to our personalities and working styles. It is still an ongoing effort to increase diversity – especially as it relates the participation of women, minority groups, and people with disabilities. In order to truly capture the benefits that diversity can bring to an organization, we must include these groups in ways that cultivates their talent, promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social spectrum. Inclusion simply isn’t about meeting a quota; it is about learning how to change yourself, change your leadership style, and being open-minded.

Back to School – Part 1

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year SWEsters! Whether you’re just starting off as a freshman, in the midst of your undergrad career, or even embarking towards a higher degree, hopefully this blog will get you on the right foot.

Resources:

-SWE Engagement Team: an online, interactive overview of SWE services. During this presentation, the SWE engagement team will briefly introduce programs and benefits available to our members to make the most of your membership based on your personal interests. If you’d like to participate, register here. Even if you can’t make the live webinar, you can still watch the recording at your convenience!

For Freshmen:

Fall quarter can be an overwhelming time when trying to balance a new lifestyle, classes, and getting involved on campus. Find your local SWE section – anyone can be a SWEster regardless of gender or major!

For New Officers:

Congrats on taking on an exciting new challenge with SWE! Here are some tips for starting off your new terms:

  • Write down all your goals, both personally and professionally for your new roles. Trust me, it’ll help down the road as a reminder of why you started this position. In addition, it’s a great exercise to brainstorm new events and ideas.
  • Work with your leadership to help identify your best working style. Diversity and inclusion also means knowing how to integrate our various working methodologies and personalities towards a viable product. By realizing how each person works, we can best collaborate on common ground.
  • Update your LinkedIn! For those of you looking for internships or jobs, your title can help bring your profile up when recruiters go to look for candidates.
  • Get on top of your training – and continue it! We have many resources, webinars, and your fabulous Regional officers to help guide you (while we can).

 

Upcoming Events:

 

  • WE17: Austin, Texas. Early-bird registration is still in effect so be sure to buy your conference tickets ASAP. Check back in the coming weeks on how you can prep for the Annual Conference.
  • SWE San Jose State University 3rd Annual Conference for Engineering Diversity: Sat. 9/16/17. Register here.

Have a happy first day of schools, recruiting weeks, and enjoy the beginning of school for you Semester SWEsters! Check out our Back to School Part II blog for the Quarter SWEsters. 😉

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

 

Women's Equality Day v1

For many of us, these national holidays are usually recognized in the moment, be it remembered because of social media or it becomes the hot topic of the day. With many of the current affairs happening today, it’s because of these conversations that help us reflect on why Women’s Equality Day is relevant to our lives as SWEsters.

This national holiday celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote on August 26, 1920. It was figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass that used their courage and voice to power their activism. However, with the equality that many of our role models have fought for, there comes an increased amount of responsibility. There is a sense of duty to sustain the rewards that we earned; in order to respect the right to vote achieved by women and people of color, we must continue to vote and represent our best interests. Never take your voice for granted – vote, speak out, and take action.

In addition, part of gaining equality means gaining equity. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. The purpose of striving for equality is to create a level playing field, but this only works if everyone starts at the same place. Those who were historically disadvantaged are staring at different barriers to achieve the same goals. Although women and POC are granted equality in the right to vote, the right to run for leadership positions, or pursue their dreams, that does not necessarily ensure that their paths are any easier. The beauty of SWE is one that provides the tools and resources to those who need access to it in order to achieve their dreams.

At the end of the day, we want to make the biggest impact we can to increase equity for ALL, and the most impactful place to do that is no longer just starting a conversation, it’s starting an action plan. We must be more intentional, more critical, and more invested.

Our featured quote is by Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols; this quote is not to be interpreted as for readers to ignore race, gender, sexuality, etc. The quote is to empower us to look past these characteristics, celebrate our diversity, and use our qualities to build a brighter future!

Welcome the Region A Team – RCR!

Hey SWEsters! As we prep to launch for the 2017-2018 SWE-year, we’ll be introducing you to your regional officers…starting with Rachel Lucas!

Rachel Lucas is a senior honors undergraduate at the University of Nevada, Reno seeking a degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis in renewable energy. She has been involved with Society of Women Engineers since she came to the University of Nevada; serving as Vice President, President, and currently involved as the section’s Secretary. Rachel is passionate about being involved on campus and is currently involved in multiple clubs and organizations. When she’s not on campus, she loves watching reruns of Friends, being active outdoors, and going on new hikes. Some of her professional goals this year include: -Engaging in RCT meetings and serve as a collegiate voice for Region A -Actively reach out to collegiate section presidents at least quarterly -Serve as an open resource to all collegiates in Region A and reach out to support them from a regional level. Her main personal goal is to improve networking: at WE17 and helping to connect fellow SWEsters at UNR to other sections.

11209649_10204478969393545_2121977709303862799_nPlease welcome Rachel!

Welcome to FY18!

Hey SWEsters!

Welcome to another wonderful year with SWE Region A! As you may already know, our region includes sections from Northern California and Nevada all the way to Hawaii.

As your new Regional Collegiate Communications Editor (RCCE), my goal is to best represent our members at not only the local level, but at the national level.

This blog facilitates communication between collegiate and professional various sections to share best practices, section successes, relevant information to support your development, and more! We welcome any information that sections wish to share, whether it is about a significant event that is occurring, outreach best practices, or a networking or social opportunity. Please feel free to email me at lahassen@ucdavis.edu. The Region A Facebook group also serves as an excellent way to keep in touch with region events, contact the leadership team, and to communicate with other SWE members.

 

The Region A Website is updated!

The Region A Website is updated, http://regiona.swe.org/! A big thank you to Lauren Adabie, our FY18 Webmaster!

Get to know Lauren: Lauren is currently a Data Analyst at Zynga working on Zynga Poker. She has been part of SWE since her freshman year of college at Humboldt State University, and after a short break, is excited to be involved again! She loves running half-marathons, hiking, backpacking, reading, and spending time with her partner and two awesome dogs. http://ow.ly/i/wUgKH

FY18 Region ABJ Leadership Summit!

The website is live and registration is open for the FY18 ABJ Leadership Summit in Santa Monica, California! The summit will be held on August 19-20, 2017. See the links for more information.

Website: http://regiona.swe.org/abj-summit-in-santa-monica-ca.html

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/abj-leadership-summit-tickets-36044576298?aff=ebdsorderfblightbox

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