Think of the first time you received an award. It might have been in elementary school. As the principal read announcements over the intercom one morning, your teacher shushed the class, saying “Quiet! This one’s important!” To your surprise, your name was called as “Student of the Month”. Or maybe, your first memorable award comes from sports. Your team gathered to celebrate a winning season, and you were shell-shocked when Coach announced that you were chosen as the “Most Valuable Player”.
Awards have special way of encouraging hard work and celebrating achievements. The full logo of the Society of Women Engineers features three words under the title: “Aspire, Advance, Achieve”. As such, SWE places a high value on recognizing engineers who have excelled in spheres ranging from technical expertise to mentoring, thus inspiring others to also achieve their full potential. Each year, the Society seeks nominations for a variety of awards open to individuals, sections, and affiliates.
Here are a few tricks for a successful award season:
1. Consider nominating yourself!
SWE is the perfect, friendly setting to practice being comfortable with stating your qualifications: it’s an extremely valuable skill that transferrable to all industries.
2. Reach out to a SWE friend to ask for a recommendation.
Most SWE awards require references from other SWE members who can share about what you’ve done either in SWE or at work. Give your letter writer plenty of lead time before the deadline and ask what information they’d like to have on hand while writing.
3. Prepare a SWE resume.
Just like any job application, tailor descriptions of your SWE activities to include words found in the award statement. Also, check out this more detailed post about SWE Resumes from GradSWE .
A few award deadlines to keep in mind:
- Individual awards – March 31, 2018
- SWE Mission awards – June 30, 2018
- Collegiate Competitions – January-September (deadlines vary by competition)
- SWE Future Leader (SWEFL) – April 2018 (no official date at time of writing)
- Society Scholarships (Sophomore to Graduate Students) – February 15, 2018
- Society Scholarships (Incoming Freshman) – May 1, 2018
- SWE Santa Clara Valley Section Scholarships – December
- SWE Golden Gate Section Scholarships – March 23, 2018
- SWE Sierra Foothills Section Scholarships – April
- SWE Sierra Nevada Section Scholarships – January
A special note for collegiate sections: With the spring semester/winter quarter in full swing, now is the time to think about using awards to aid in succession planning and the section’s leadership pipeline. Keep an eye open for freshman/ sophomore members who are showing key leadership interests—these students are perfect candidates for the SWE Future Leader (SWEFL) program.
After being selected through a nomination process, SWEFLs participate in a year-long leadership development program which introduces them to how SWE works on a society level. This understanding is extremely important for collegiate members who are interested in potentially continuing in SWE leadership roles for the duration of their professional career. Read more about the SWEFL program , and keep an eye out for emails in April for the nomination form.