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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Humboldt State University: Annual Girl Scout Day Event

HSU Girl Scout Day

On Sunday, March 29th Humboldt State University (HSU) held their annual Girl Scout Day Event from 9:00am-2:00pm. The event outreached to approximately 46 Girl Scouts with the help of 14 engineering student volunteers. HSU SWE leaders wrote a grant to the university Diversity Office to have the girls on campus. The Diversity Office awarded HSU SWE $900 dollars for the event and, with the award money, HSU SWE purchased all new outreach materials including six solar robot kits, six water filtration kits, six squishy circuit kits and six pulley kits. With the leftover award money SWE members then purchased materials to provide the Girl Scouts with “goodie folders” which included information about SWENext, post-its, mechanical pencils, rulers and SWE stickers. The event was a huge success as both Girl Scouts and Troop Leaders were pleased with the number of engineering activities and information provided by engineering students. The outreach materials will also be used to further the section’s outreach efforts in upcoming years.

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Congratulations to our Region A Award Winners (Pt. 1)

Region A is honored to announce our Society and Region level award winners. This week will be highlighting our Region A Emerging Leader Award winner and our Region A Outstanding Collegiate Leader Award winners. Next week we are highlighting our Society level award winner, Jessica Teachworth, and our Region A Distinguished Leader Award Winners, Claudia Galvan and Debra Jacobs.

Erika Rodriguez – SWE Region A Emerging Leader Award


Erika Rodriguez is a Materials Research Scientist with ERC, Inc. at the NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) where she is analyzing materials and components post-spaceflight, has published seven papers and has a patent pending. Erika has been a SWE member since 2002 in which she has volunteered for outreach programs throughout undergrad and graduate school. Erika thinks outside–the-box when helping the next generation of engineers and scientists and her drive to educate them is critical in her community outreach. Her humanitarian work includes volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose, organizing the building of a handicap accessible playhouse, raising $2,500 for Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering for Orphanages without Boarders. Making an international impact, Dr. Rodriguez was selected as a cultural mentor for an Emerging Leader from the Gaza Strip throughout the TechWomen program.

Leabeth Peterson – SWE Region A Outstanding Collegiate Member Award

Leabeth Peterson

Leabeth Peterson is an extraordinary role model for women engineers throughout her collegiate career and now transitioning into her professional career. Leabeth is completing her senior year at Humboldt State University (HSU) in Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE). Upon graduation she will be starting her professional career as an Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) with General Electric. Leabeth has endeavored a fulfilling and successful collegiate career with industry experience. She has acted as a Special Projects Intern at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, and worked as a Project Manager for HEIF just to name a few achievements. Leabeth became more involved in SWE leadership in 2013 when she was highly motivated to make improvements within her HSU SWE section. She served as the HSU SWE president during FY14 and became the Region A Collegiate Representative (RCR) for FY15. With her many achievements, Leabeth has been recognized with the Marty Lay Leadership Award from the ERE program, American Society of Engineer chapter, and an Excellence in Service from Engineers Without Borders. She is a highly motivated and inspiring individual to young women in engineering, which has been shown in her collegiate and professional achievements.

Jocelyn Tan  – SWE Region A Outstanding Collegiate Member Award

JocelynpicJocelyn Tan is an outstanding collegiate leader as she is active in both SWE and non-SWE organizations while maintaining a strong academic record. Jocelyn started her SWE career her freshmen year as she attended general meetings and regularly volunteered to lead SWE-sponsored outreach programs. Her junior year, Jocelyn was elected as the Santa Clara University (SCU) SWE section’s first Corporate Sponsorship Chair in which she successfully solicited $5500 and coordinates professional development sessions with companies like Google, Lockheed Martin, and Cisco. Her achievements and devotion to SWE lead to her role as Section President. Jocelyn is a strong proponent of interclub collaboration initiatives and his an active member of the Engineering Leadership Council, a committee consisting of Presidents from all SCU engineering organizations. She is majoring in Electrical Engineering and has taken several PhD level graduate classes. Jocelyn’s academic achievements have been honored by receiving a Dean’s Scholarship from SCU and a Power and Energy Scholarship from IEEE. Her experiences, enthusiasm, and willingness to further the goals of SWE have made Jocelyn the outstanding leader she is today.


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Popsicle Bridge Competition at Local Math Festival Organized with the Help of Humboldt State’s SWE & SHPE

Humboldt State students have been hard at work coordinating with the local middle school to develop a successful outreach program. This semester, students from both organizations on the Humboldt State campus have spent time presenting bridge concepts to students and working on giving them ideas to compete with at the Math Festival.

The Humboldt County Math Festival is an annual event that allows students to engage and compete with STEM activities, this year Zane Middle School is adding a new engineering challenge to the event.  The Popsicle Stick Bridge Contest challenges builders to construct a 27 to 30 inch freestanding bridge with just 99 popsicle sticks.  Bridges will be tested for strength, aesthetics and design. Festival coordinator, Zane Middle School teacher Ken Pinkerton and students from Humboldt State University Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) are organizing the contest. North Coast Branch of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and SHN Consulting Engineers are sponsoring materials including glue and popsicle sticks for the bridges.

The Humboldt State University Section of the Society of Women Engineers is excited to partner with SHPE and is looking forward to the upcoming festival and relationship they are building with the local middle school. Both organizations are working hard to develop a strong relationship that can maintain outreach opportunities in upcoming years.

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CLCC Blog Post – March/April Stats & News

Region A Collegiate Leadership Coaching Committee (CLCC) has done a great job this year! Five coaches have presented 10 of the 15 modules at least once, reaching an audience of well over 220 Region A SWE members and over 75% of our collegiate sections! While these number are impressive, the school year isn’t done yet, and CLCC is looking to present even more modules!

Two modules yet to be presented, but featured at this year’s Region A Leadership Summit are:

Active Listening: This module will allow participants to recognize what may affect their ability to successfully be an active listener, and learn how to be a good active listener. This skill is essential to succeed as a leader and as a student.

Leadership: This module contains a brief overview of different leadership theories, leadership types and situations where leadership can be effectively applied. It is best given to a group of young leaders or students who are thinking of assuming larger roles in SWE.

There are very few spots left for the Region A Leadership Summit on Saturday, April 18th at Santa Clara University, so register soon at this link!

For those who can’t make it to the leadership summit, please contact your local coach or email the CLCC Team Lead, Cassi Janakos at for a module presentation! Coaches are available in person and via virtual broadcast, so there is every reason to have some leadership training before summer.

By: Lindsay Kammeier
Region A CLCC Coach

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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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