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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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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Scholarship Opportunity: 2015 SVEC Education Award

There is a wonderful scholarship opportunity for undergrads studying engineering can apply who goes to school in any of the following 12 bay area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma. The Silicon Valley Engineering Council (SVEC) Engineering Education awards recognize young engineering and technology students for their dedication, focus, and commitment to engineering. Please see link for more details and the application. Deadline is February 7th, 2015 so please spread the word and apply!

2015 SVEC Education Award

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FY15 Region A Collegiate Representative: Leabeth Peterson

My name is Leabeth Peterson, I’m a senior level Environmental Resources Engineering student at Humboldt State University in northern California. I served as section president for FY14 and I serve as Humboldt State’s vice-president this year. I also serve as the Region Collegiate Representative (RCR). As RCR I help manage 14 collegiate sections from northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii. I answer questions and provide the right resources to collegiate members. I am available to answer questions about the Region and the Society, if I do not know the answers, I will help you find them!

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SWE Leadership Opportunity: FY16 Collegiate Director

Are you interested in becoming SWE’s FY16 Collegiate Director?


Nicole Woon (FY15 Collegiate Director) with past Collegiate Directors (clockwise from top): Ellen McIsaac, Kaitlyn Bunker, and Brittney Elko.


You may have seen the call for applicants from SWE HQ. With the application due on February 1, I wanted to share my experience so far as the FY15 Collegiate Director to provide you with a better sense of what the role is all about… or rather, the “Five Ws” of the role.


The Collegiate Director serves on SWE’s Board of Directors in a one-year term. The Collegiate Director acts as a liaison to collegiate leaders, contributes collegiate knowledge and interests to the board, and performs other duties as requested.


Responsibilities depend on the year’s strategic plan, bylaws proposals, and other timely projects and task forces. For example, I focused on opportunities for collegiate members that are part of SWE’s global affiliates and further developed the Counselor/Faculty Advisor Coordinator role. You interact closely with collegiate members and leaders, and participate in several in-person meetings and teleconferences throughout the year with the Board of Directors. The Collegiate Director also serves as a member of the Senate. You have the opportunity to reach a greater audience by becoming active on social media, including writing a monthly column for SWE’s All Together newsletter and running the Collegiate Director Twitter account.


The FY16 Collegiate Director term lasts from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. The Board of Directors have monthly meetings, six of which are in-person and the remainder conducted via teleconference. The in-person meetings generally take place in June for orientation, August for installation, October for the SWE Annual Conference, January/February for annual strategic plan review, March/April, and the following June. You also have the opportunity to attend two region conferences. Additional responsibilities may arise on an as-needed basis.


Being the FY15 Collegiate Director has been a formative experience. First, the didactic opportunities with SWE members are endless. I’ve delved into the Society’s rich history and its various facets, from advocacy initiatives to our impact on public policy to professional excellence programs. I continue to meet countless people from across the globe who share fascinating perspectives on SWE and engineering. I now hold an even greater appreciation for the hard work that goes into maintaining the success of such a respected organization and charting the Society’s future direction. Everyone brings a unique point-of-view to the table—with your fresh viewpoint as a collegiate/first-year professional, you play a significant part in shaping SWE.

Second, my leadership abilities are growing at light speed. There was so much to absorb when I first assumed the role; I’m still learning today! Despite the steep learning curve, people are willing to help every step of the way and connect you with the right individuals. Moreover, they support your plans as you determine your next steps in the SWE leadership pipeline. I’ve enhanced my abilities to communicate effectively, set long-term strategic plans, and empower others. The skills I’ve gained reach outside my SWE experience into other areas of my life and bring me recognition at school and in the workplace.

With the deadline to apply coming up on February 1, don’t wait to start your application. Please note that a new component requested in the application this year is a Collegiate Director Nominee Video. Please find more information below:

Each Collegiate Director application shall include a short video posted privately on  The purpose of this three minutes maximum video is to allow you a chance to use your creativity to tell the SWE nominating committee why you are the right candidate for the Collegiate Director. Possible talking points could include highlights of your SWE experiences, your vision for Collegiate Members within SWE, and any unique experiences you would bring to this role. This video may also be provided to SWE collegiate section presidents as part of the candidate statement package when voting occurs.

Happy to answer any questions you may have; send me an email at Good luck!

Warm wishes,
Nicole Woon
FY15 Collegiate Director


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