Region A Blog

Society of Women Engineers, Golden West Region

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Welcome to FY15

Hello SWEsters,

I welcome you to the FY15 Region A blog! As you may already know, our region is comprised of SWE sections from Northern California, Hawaii, and Nevada. My name is Maribel Locsin and I am your Region A Collegiate Communications Editor (RCCE) for fiscal year 2015. My role is to inform the region and all its subscribers about any news or upcoming events that arise throughout the year as well as share best practices and maintain connections between the collegiate and professional sections. I am open to requests for articles such as coverage of significant events, resume blasts, networking tips, etc. so please feel free to email me at There is also a Region A Facebook group to connect with other SWE collegiate and professional members and keep in tune with what is happening on the region level.

Please subscribe and hope you enjoy reading about the great happenings of Region A!

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March Hot Topic: Networking

Networking is an important aspect of professional development. Starting early can help you find an appropriate mentor to guide you towards your overall goals and connect you to the right people that can push you further in your development. Looking for opportunities to network is beneficial in career development as you can learn about how broad the industry is and actually meet engineers in the field you plan on breaking through. Here are some essential pointers on how you can expand your network and its importance to your career:

Look for opportunities in your section. If your SWE section has great contacts with local engineering companies, try hosting a networking event, meet and greet, tech talk, or simply have them give a brief overview about their career development to your section. Having this connection with local companies can help leverage your section, build relationships, and advertise opportunities in the STEM field.

Break out of your shell at conference. Annual and regional conferences are also a great way to network as they have a larger demographic. You can speak to professionals outside of your local sections and learn more about career development from difference perspectives. Every professional has a different story on how they transitioned from a collegiate to professional, which has directly influenced their work ethic, career choice, and future development.

Be involved with other organizations. SWE is a wonderful society on its own, though you can build your resume by joining other organizations of interest. For example, it would be great to see involvement in both SWE and ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) on your resume, if that is the career path you plan on taking. It shows potential employers diversity and focus on your career goal since you are concentrating on the networks surrounding your degree.

Don’t be afraid to ask the simple questions. As we all know, people love to talk about themselves, so simply asking someone “What do you do?” is very appropriate and logical. The industry is very broad and not everyone may know the job description behind the title. It’s a great conversation starter as you get to learn about their role in the company and the journey to their career development. Don’t be shy to ask questions!

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Announcing the FY16 Collegiate Slate

Members of the Region A nominating committee have completed their evaluation of nominees for the FY16 Collegiate elected positions and have selected the following slate of candidates.  In making these selections, the committee evaluated information provided by the candidates and feedback received from SWE members and leaders. Please review the candidate statements and vote!

Region Collegiate Representative (RCR)

Name:     Jaclyn Bronner
Section:  University of California, Davis


SWE Resume:

  • 2011-2013     University of Buffalo Section President

After serving as the president of my collegiate section for almost 2 years I know how important it is to have a positive relationship with regional leaders for SWE. If able to serve as the Regional Collegiate Representative, I would strive to make sure all collegiate section leaders felt they could approach me with any questions they might have. I would make sure all sections are aware of when quarterly reports are due and help answer any questions they may have with these reports. I also hope to encourage and assist sections with any programs they were running, make sure all sections in our region are aware of events happening at other sections, and facilitate communications between all sections.

Name:     Kimberly Nguyen
Section:  San Jose State University


SWE Resume:

  • 2014-2015     San Jose State University Section Treasurer

As a Society of Women Engineers member for three years, I have been able to develop a deep connection with SWE. SWE has helped me succeed academically and develop professionally, and I believe it is now time for me to move forward and offer what I can to the organization outside of my own section. After serving as section treasurer at San Jose State University for the academic year 2014-2015, I am ready to take on the role to be the ears and voice for the collegiate sections in Region A as Region Collegiate Representative. I believe this is a perfect stepping stone to take before I further dedicate my active role in SWE as a professional member. I plan to ensure that the collegiate sections are fully aware of activities and opportunities provided by both the regional and national levels. I will also dedicate myself to ensure that the collegiate voices are being heard and properly voiced to the national leaders.

Region Collegiate Senator (RCS)

Name:     Heidi Otten
Section:  Humboldt State University


SWE Resume:

  • 2014-2015     Humboldt State University Section President
  • 2014-2015     SWE Future Leader

My name is Heidi Otten. I am an Environmental Resources Engineering student at Humboldt Sate University (HSU) in Northern California. I transferred to HSU from Santa Rosa Junior College in fall 2013. Soon after transferring to HSU I became involved with HSU’s SWE Section. Currently I am HSU SWE Section President as well as one of two SWE Future Leaders (SWEFL) for Region A. Both these positions have provided me the opportunity to practice my leadership and organization skills. I would like to continue to gain experience as a SWE leader in the Regional Collegiate Senator (RCS) position. I believe my experience both as a Section President and SWEFL have prepared me to serve as an RCS. Especially as a SWEFL I have had the opportunity to learn more about the societal level of SWE. These experiences will help me provide valuable input on the senate. If I were able to serve as Region A’s RCS next year I would like to work on informing all the sections, particularly the collegiate sections, of the goals and actions of the senate and the SWE organization as a whole.

Name:     Victoria Wee
Section:  Stanford University


SWE Resume:

  • 2013-2015     Vice President of External Affairs

Growing the Stanford Society of Women Engineers has been my top non-academic priority for the past three years. As an active leader in my collegiate chapter, I have observed first hand the incredible impact that a community dedicated to growing diversity in engineering can have on shaping the experiences of thousands of students. I joined my collegiate chapter in the autumn of my freshman year. Because my early exposure to SWE, I give a great deal of credit to the Society for shaping my decision to pursue a major in Computer Science, for providing the opportunities to meet incredible women in the field, and for motivating me to help pave the road for my peers and future generations. I have served as part of my section’s executive board for most of my collegiate years, and I feel ready to contribute to the governance of the Society of Women Engineers at a higher level. I am very interested in delving into the policy and strategic direction of national and regional SWE. I am excited to bring my experiences in facilitating conversations around strategy and long-term goal-setting from my time as engagement director of a Canadian NGO and from working with the United Nations on sustainability policy. I have an open mind and strong work ethic, and feel that I will be able to dialogue well with members of the Regional and National boards. I tend to set high personal standards, especially for activities or organizations I care deeply and personally about. SWE tops this list. I am ready to dedicate time and effort into ensuring that I meet and exceed expectations for what a Region Collegiate Senator or Regional Collegiate Representative should do.

Region Collegiate Communications  Editor (RCCE) 

Name:     Amanda Lagasca
Section:  Humboldt State University


SWE Resume:

  • 2014-2015     Section Publicist

Since joining SWE, I continue to look forward to having the opportunity to connect and work with other collegiate and professional SWE members. I recognize SWE as a resource and inspiration for other women to aspire, advance, and achieve in their work force. As Region A’s RCCE, I hope to expand this experience to other women in the engineering field by keeping them updated and inspired by what Region A and other SWE members have to showcase. In addition to Region A’s contribution to the growing SWE community, I wish to shine light on other individuals and groups who have helped pave the way for women in the engineering world. I believe that keeping SWE members informed and up to date is essential for each member’s success in the organization and the engineering community. By keeping members engaged and involved on a constant basis, I can maintain a connection between collegiate and professional members. I hope to be the social messenger and spokesperson for Region A because I believe that when people unite and communicate, inspiration becomes limitless.

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CLCC Blog Post – Six Tips for Successful SWE Officer Transitions

It may still be winter, but planning for next year’s officer team should already be happening! Here are a few tips to guide a successful transition.

  1. Identify Candidates – Have you noticed certain members that are very involved? Encourage them to run for a specific position. Often encouraging them to run for a specific position will encourage them to run, or at least think about becoming an officer. Nothing works better than telling people personally that they should run.
  2. Elections Packet — Create an elections packet that details the duties of each position, and suggested SWE experience level. This will help ensure that people are running for a position that actually interests them, and they know upfront what duties are required.
  3. Early Elections – Have elections six weeks before school is dismissed if you are a collegiate section. This may seem too soon, but this allows the existing officers to transition the new officer before they’ve already checked out mentally. Transitioning right before finals is difficult because everyone is focused on school.
  4. Officer Transition Meetings — Actually having everyone in the same room is a great way to ensure that each officer knows who held the previous position, and who they should contact if they have any questions. Most important documents are cloud-based (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) so have everyone bring their laptop so they can share all these documents.
  5. Officer Contracts – Having a contract to sign after elections can be very useful to remind people of the commitment they have made. It should be generic for every position, but should list out certain duties that each officer will be held too. Some examples include: Attending every officer meeting, attending every general meeting, answering emails within 48 hours of receiving them, attending a SWE office hour, maintaining good standing as a student (no academic probation), volunteering at two SWE events that year, and promoting a positive image of SWE. This will help people realize that being an officer is not just something to put on a resume, it is a commitment.
  6. Strategical and Tactical Planning Module — Have your Leadership Coach visit to present the Strategic and Tactical Planning module to the new officers! This will help your section start planning for the next year while everyone is excited and has some free time to do SWE work over the summer!

By: Lindsay Kammeier, Region A CLCC Coach

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Region A RCT Event – Wine Tasting

The Region A Collegiate Team is happy to announce our upcoming spring event that will take place at McConnell Estates Winery in Elk Grove, California! This event will be held on Saturday, March 28th, 2015 from 12:30pm to 3:30pm. This winery is located in the Sacramento area about 20 minutes away from Sacramento State University. We will spend Saturday enjoying the company of SWE friends while tasting the McConnell wines, followed by a potluck picnic outside.

Ticket sales end on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 11:59pm. Please note that this event is for members who are 21 years or older. Tickets are non-refundable and the event will take place rain or shine. We hope to see you there!

Link to register:

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Madam Mars News – Dr. Erika Rodriguez


Region A is proud to announce that our very own Dr. Erika Rodriguez, a member of the SWE Santa Clara Professional section, has done extraordinary work at NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Rodriguez was involved with the launch of the Orion EFT-1 on December 5th, 2014, NASA’s first test flight of the space capsule designed to eventually take humans to Mars. She was the only hispanic female at NASA Ames working on material physical response via non-destructive and destructive material testing for the EFT-1 heatshield.

Dr. Rodriguez is a full time staff research scientist in the thermal protection system (TPS) division at NASA Ames Research Center. Recently celebrating her two year anniversary at NASA, she is learning of the challenges of characterizing TPS material performance during re-entry. Dr. Rodriguez is currently developing strategies and non-destructive evaluations (NDE) for analyzing TPS performance. She attended the Orion EFT-1 launch at Kennedy Space Center and then traveled to San Diego following the capsule splashdown. Dr. Rodriguez is part of a research team that is directly involved in evaluating the TPS performance during Orion EFT-1 Earth’s re-entry. She had the task of extracting material from the actual heatshield flown on Orion EFT-1 and study its material response post-flight.

Region A congratulates Dr. Rodriguez on her tremendous and innovative achievements to the STEM field!

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February Hot Topic: Region Collegiate Team Elections

This is a update from the Nominating Committee regarding the FY16 Region Collegiate Team. The members of the Nominating Committee are finalizing their decisions on the slate and will be announced very soon! Upon receiving the email blast, please review the most qualified candidates for our next fiscal years RCT and place your vote. This is a friendly reminder to be on the lookout for your upcoming leadership team.

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NASA Internship Opportunity

A wonderful and innovative internship opportunity with NASA is open and accepting applicants! The Academy is the premier internship, which has a main goal of training future leaders of the space industry. The summer research program attracts undergraduate and graduate students of various backgrounds, mostly in STEM fields. More detailed information about the internship can be found here. SWE members are great examples of leaders whose interests may very well align with the opportunities provided by NASA. Applications are opened on NASA OSSI and can be found by going to the Search Opportunities window and searching for the keyword Academy. The application deadline is February 15th, 2015 so please spread the word and apply!

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