Thursday, April 27, 2017

PechaKucha Presentation Style

In April 2017, we introduced the section to the PechaKucha presentation style through an online skills workshop.

PechaKucha is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds, for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.

In Session 1, we introduced the style, discussed several TEDx talks, did a quick on-the-fly demo/practice run, and finally brainstormed topics that could be done in this style. You can watch the replay of the full session here or just the SWE PNW PechaKucha demo deck here.

And here is the list of References & Resources that we discussed:

Looking for some ideas to help get you started on you first PechaKucha presentations? Here's the topic brainstorming from Session 1:
  • executive summary of technical topic
  • use the style to present a technical challenge to colleagues to start brainstorming
  • Event recap or report
  • ​Focus on an area of SWE PNW and give more info
  • Tell us your SWE Story
  • Conference recap (Society, Regional, WE Local, recent, flash back, non-swe)
  • ​my summer/holiday vacation
  • Family traditions
  • Hobby/interest
  • Where I Grew Up (Hometown)
  • Why I Like ______ (TV/Book/Movie/hobby/etc)
  • A day in the life _____ (of my pet, on the job, my kids, etc)
While we were able to have the second sessions (timing didn't work for some of our presenters), we hope to have an online session for PechaKucha presentations in the future. We encourage you to keep an eye out for these events and the replays!

Article By: Theresa Krack, FY17 Section Representative & Virtual Brand Coordinator

Thursday, March 9, 2017

An Intro to the Bearded Pineapples & Call for Mentors

Guest Contributor: The Bearded Pineapples

Hi! We are the Bearded Pineapples. We are an all-girls FTC robotics team. In FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge), teams of students in 7-12th grade build robots that are 18” by 18” by 18” to compete in a game that is different every season. (In the 2016/17 season, the game was Velocity Vortex:, and you can watch some matches played here: Additionally, teams can win judged awards, which are based off of the technical documentation in the team’s Engineering Notebook, or on what the team has done to grow the program.

FTC is part of a larger program, FIRST robotics. Over the last two years, we were part of FIRST LEGO League, the program for kids ages 9-14, and were one of 15 teams sponsored by Girl Scouts of Western Washington. One year ago, we outgrew this program. We were looking to continue on to FTC, but Girl Scouts of Western Washington did not sponsor teams at this level. We decided to help Girl Scouts of Western Washington explore what was needed to sponsor FTC teams, and now we are ready to create several more teams!

To do this, we would love to find more (preferably female) mentors who can help teams learn skills like programming, technical documentation, and mechanical engineering. Our team owes a lot to our female mentor, Toni Carlstrom. We submitted a video to nominate her for the Compass Award, an award given out to an outstanding mentor, which she won.

Mentors would ideally be working with teams around twice a week for around 2-4 hours each, though this number varies considerably from team to team and from mentor to mentor. The FTC season runs from September to mid-January, but can extend until March or April for teams that advance.

Students who participate in the program benefit greatly and learn many important life skills – and have tons of fun. Talulla, a member of our team, has discovered her love for mechanical engineering, and will attend Tesla STEM High School next year. She wouldn’t have known how much she enjoys mechanical engineering without FTC.

Are you interested in learning more about FTC? We are hosting an open house at the Girl Scout of Western Washington Bellevue Office (13029 NE 20th Street Bellevue, WA 98005). We will play some matches with some other teams and answer any questions. Please join us! Find the flyer on our website:
Interested in mentoring, either regularly or just occasionally? Please contact us at!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Call for FY18 SWE PNW Officer Nominations

Hello SWE PNW!

We hope that this note finds you well! As we are preparing for a great FY18, we are opening the nomination period for the SWE PNW elected officer positions. This is your chance to discuss your interest for any FY18 positions!

The elected officer positions are:

  • President
  • President-Elect
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Vice President of Career Guidance/Outreach
  • Vice President of Professional Development
  • Section Representative

Each position will have the following responsibilities:

  • All elected and non-elected officers will be asked to attend the summer and winter organizational planning sessions
  • All elected and non-elected officers will be invited to the monthly executive council meetings

Additional details of each elected position are included at the end of this blog entry.

Please note that FY18 is the LAST year for the Section Rep role as the regions will be dissolved at the end of FY18. For more information on this, please refer to our blog, FY18 SWE PNW Election & Section Rep Role Update.

If you have any questions about making a nomination for any of these positions, please feel free to reach out to the Nomination Committee. We are more than willing to help answer your questions to the best of our ability!

Your nomination at this point need only consist of your name and position(s) of interest. Please return all nominations by email to by March 19, 2017.

Thank you,
SWE PNW Nomination Committee
Tamaira Ross, Cary Kaczowka, Kimber Hinson, & Maria Barna



  • Represent the section before the public and preside at meetings of the section and its executive council
  • Appoint the chairs of all committees, with the approval of the executive council, except chair of nominating committee
  • Authorize the disbursement of section funds within the budget approved by the executive council
  • Coordinate activities and execute the business and policies of the section between meetings


  • Serve as president in the year following their term as president-elect
  • Assume the duties of the president if the president is temporarily unable to serve
  • Assist the current president with all duties


  • Maintain records of the section, record meeting minutes at all EC meetings, maintain and update bylaws as needed.
  • Support the virtual brand committee by maintaining connection between the virtual brand committee and the executive council.


  • The treasurer manages and reports on SWE PNW’s budget, bank accounts, grants/donations and performs financial audits. If needed, a committee will also lead fundraising drives.

VP of Career Guidance/Outreach

  • This position leads explore engineering workshops, the University mentoring program, certificate of merit (COM) and COM scholarships, collegiate scholarships.
  • The committee funds and manages relationships the following organizations: Kids in Science and Engineering (KISE), Expanding your Horizons (EYH), community outreach booths (PSEC, schools, etc.)

VP of Professional Development

  • This position leads and manages technical talks and tours, skills development events, social/networking events, and the book club.
Section Representative

  • Represent the section as a voting member on monthly region conference calls and inperson
  • region meetings. Act as a liaison between the section and the region.
  • Submit section reports to the region (3 per year).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

FY18 SWE PNW Election & Section Rep Role Update

Society Bylaws Update
As you may know, SWE is in the process of updating its governance structure. One of the changes that impacts us at a section level is the passing of society bylaws amendment S1704: Region Council.

This amendment changes the section representative determination from 1 representative per 100 members (no more than 4) to 1 section representative per section or MAL.

Impact to SWE PNW Bylaws
SWE PNW has previously had 4 section representative slots on the ballot based on our section's membership (we're one of the largest sections). Additionally, our section bylaws outlines that the President-elect shall serve as a section representative (Section 3, Article B, Item 4).

To support the society level bylaws amendment, the SWE PNW Executive Council (EC) met on Sunday, February 19, 2017 to discuss how we would approach the FY18 election cycle. Quorum was established as a majority of the members of the EC were present, two of whom were president, vice president, or section representative:

Grace Lefebure
VP, Outreach
Rosie Pham

VP, Professional Development
Katie Elliott
Suzanne Hakam
Connie Starr
Section Representative
Elaine Reeves
Section Representative
Kalyani Mallela

Section Representative
Sonia Hingorany
Section Representative
Theresa Krack

After discussion of our section Bylaws, Theresa Krack proposed the following motion:
  • For the FY18 election cycle, the President-elect position will not be considered as a Section Representative for the section;
  • For the FY18 election cycle, there will be one (1) Section Representative slot on the ballot; and
  • For FY18, the President-elect will not serve as section representative.
The motion was seconded by Grace Lefebure and opened for discussion.

After the discussion concluded, the vote was put to the EC. All those in attendance voted in favor of the amendment. Having establish quorum, the motion passed.

Update from WE Local San Jose Region J Meeting
Following the SWE PNW bylaws meeting, there was clarification given on the future of the Section Representative role as a part of the Region J meeting at WE Local San Jose on Sunday, February 26, 2017. The following information and clarification was provided:
  • The restructuring to take focus off geography is to be in place by the end of FY18.
  • Regions shall be dissolved by the end of FY18.
  • At the end of FY17, Sections will elect their last Section Representative.
  • The elected Section Representative will serve the FY18 term.
  • After FY18, the Section Representative role will no longer exist as it was a role tied to reporting to and interfacing with the Region level.
If you have any questions about this motion or the impact to the FY18 SWE PNW election cycle, please contact your section representatives at

SWE Society Governance Updates
For additional information on the item related to the governance updates, please refer to the following:

Ongoing SWE PNW Bylaws Review
The SWE PNW EC is continuing the process of reviewing our complete bylaws to ensure that they are updated to support this change as well as any other necessary changes to align with the society level bylaws changes. This also includes looking at the roles and responsibilities for our elected officers.

If you are interested in learning more about our review process or helping, please contact our section president at

Article By: Theresa Krack, FY17 Section Representative

SWE PNW Spring Book Club Selections FY17

Book selection for a Book Club can be tricky business, but I've put a lot of thought into curating our reading list for the next few months.  Here is some of the reasoning behind it. 

On March 19 we'll be discussing Margot Lee Shetterly's book (now a movie) Hidden Figures.  This one is not just of-the moment because the movie's out, it's also got us reading about segregation and the experiences of barrier-breaking African American women in Virginia during Black History month.  We'll be discussing it in March, which is Women's History Month.  We're sort of getting triple-value on this one.  

On April 30 we'll be discussing Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.  Most of us will be reading it in March (Women's History), and it feels like a good time to learn more about a woman who's out there fighting for equality and justice, protecting them in the highest court.  

On May 21 we'll discuss Mary Roach's Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Mary is a noted scientific journalist, and she'll be telling us all about the experiments humans have done on the earth to simulate problems they expect to have in space, and solutions to make space life more tenable. This ties in pretty directly with our June Selection.  

On June 25 we'll be reading a futurist science fiction book, Expanse 1 - Leviathan Wakes by James Corey.  A mystery adventure book that takes place in a solar system that has been colonized by humanity.  Will the things we learned from Packing For Mars show up in Corey's fiction?  This is a good warm-up to summer fun reading. 

Look for the Summer Book Club selections in an upcoming blog post / newsletter. 

As ever, everyone is welcome to SWE PNW Book Club meetings.  Haven't finished the book?  No problem.  Haven't read the book?  No problem.  Come join a bunch of literate ladies to talk books over beers at Growler USA in Redmond.  We meet one Sunday a month from about 3-5.  It's a great networking opportunity, and a lot of fun.  

The dates above link to the Eventbrite invitations, which include Amazon and King County Library Service links for each book.  Most books are available in paper, audio, and ebook versions.  All of the SWE PNW Book Club Events are find-able at Eventbrite, RSVP is free:

Looking forward to meeting you!  

Jessica Mak√§e - Book Club Chair. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Managing Change: New Job, Same Company

Guest Contributor: Kat Morrill

A lot of us reach a point in our careers where we realize that we love the company we’re at, but maybe not the job we’re currently in. We’re left in the position of finding a new role within our current company. The day comes and you sign your offer on a new position, but now you’ve got to find some way to smoothly transition out of your current role and into your new role.

There are two things to consider when doing this. First, you don’t want to burn any bridges with your current group or manager. You might still be working with that group or need their good graces in the future. You want to make sure that they don’t feel like you’re just dumping your old workload and moving on without looking back. Second, you want to make sure that your new team and manager know that you’re excited about working in your new position and aren’t dragging your feet leaving your current role. A great way to accomplish both of these goals is to write a transition plan. List out your current responsibilities and how you think these can best be transitioned to either a new employee or existing coworkers. Establish a timeline for this transition of your tasks. Give a comfortable enough time for the transition to occur, but be reasonable. Things to consider are:
  • Does the person just need a quick rundown of what you’ve been doing?
  • Will the person need additional training that might take a few months? 
  • Does a completely new person need to be hired?
This timeline could be as simple as 2 weeks or could be as long as several months, depending on the complexity of the job and the amount of work you’re transitioning away from.

When you’ve got this down on paper (electronic or physical), set up a meeting with both your current manager and your new manager. Go through the transition plan with them, explaining that as you shift away from your current job, you can start ramping up on training and new tasks with your new job. The transition plan might shift a little bit during this meeting depending on how your managers see the transition occurring. Work with them, but be firm on a timeline in which you think this transition can occur. No one knows your job as well as you do. Depending on how long your transition is planned for, you can also agree to revisit the plan after a certain period of time has passed and re-negotiate as necessary.

Once you’ve obtained an agreement between the three of you, stick with the plan. It’s sometimes hard to move away from your current role, as you’ve comfortable with those responsibilities and new positions mean the challenge of stepping out of your comfort zone. Use your transition plan to make that transition smooth but also firm. The next thing you’ll know, you’ll look back months later and you’ll be integrated in with a great new team and a new job that you love.

This guest article is part of SWE PNW's Contributor's Choice series, where section members submit a topic/article that they'd like to share with the section. This contribution was originally featured in our Notes from the Northwest (NftN) newsletter, Volume 01, Issue 04. Find past issues of NftN here.

Goal Setting Models

We often find ourselves going through goal setting, whether as a part of kicking off a new calendar year or a new review cycle at work. In FY16, SWE PNW collected a few short blurbs on different goal setting models in the Notes from the Northwest newsletter (Volume 01, Issue 02). What better time to re-share this information than as a part of Engineers Week 2017?

You'll find each blurb below, along with a link back to the source article if you want to read more about a particular model. Enjoy!

The ‘Original’ SMART Goals
Adapted from “Personal Goal Setting, Planning to Live Your Life Your Way” on MindTools (

One of the first models we are often introduced to is the SMART goals model. This useful mnemonic typically stands for:

Specific (or Significant)
Measurable (or Meaningful)
Attainable (or Action-Oriented)
Relevant (or Rewarding)
Time-bound (or Trackable)

Using this model can help you construct goals that are attainable and often fit more eloquently into the employee review process. It can be used for setting both life goals and those smaller, to-do list types of goals.

The Agile Take on SMART Goals
Adapted from “The Agile Approach to S.M.A.R.T. Goals” on AgiliZen (

A different take on the standard model of SMART goals is to look at it from an agile perspective. Here, SMART is redefined in a way to help energize you into action and make the goals more user friendly. Here, SMART becomes:

Small, simple, specific and sustainable actions
Meaningful, memorable, and magnetic outcomes
Aims for the agile zone of expectations, standard
Relevant to emergent outcome goals and to satisfying multiple needs simultaneously (e.g. sensory, emotional, mental, creative, practical and functional needs)
Tweakable targets, time-boxed checkins

While it may not be a significant change from the normal SMART definitions, it can help you look at goal setting in a different way.

Making CLEAR Goals
Adapted from “Forget SMART Goals -- Try CLEAR Goals Instead” on Inc. (

Another take on make SMART goals more agile in today’ fast-paced business environments is to look at an alternate mnemonic, CLEAR:


This model helps to drive towards the idea of looking after yourself, after you team, and your equipment. The idea of the emotional level within this model is where a connection is made and the goal (and achievement of the goal) feeds off of your energy and passion.
It stills follows the approach of taking larger goals and breaking them down into smaller goals that can be accomplished more quickly.

Getting HARD Goals Set
Adapted from “Are SMART Goals Dumb?” on Leadership IQ (

In looking at SMART goals, that methodology can often feel like it is impeding bold action that may be needed. To switch up a goal setting model and drive towards enabling that kind of action, there is HARD:


This model can also help drive engagement and visualization of success, including a drive towards learning new skills needed to achieve the goal.