Monday, February 20, 2017

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Today

Guest Contributor: Theresa Krack

In 2013, I was asked by my local Girl Scout council to help promote STEM as a part of “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” that year. They asked me to share my story on how I was introduced to STEM, what got me interested in STEM, and the importance of certain individuals in influencing my STEM education/career choice. I am happy to share this same story with my fellow SWEsters in PNW!

A long time ago, in a school not so far away… I learned that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) were topics that I was passionate about learning. When I was in grade school, I was the girl that always checked out the science books. My favorites were the books on the planets in the solar system –my mom has told me I would bring them home week after week, even if I had read them before. From that early age, I knew I loved things related to science.

As I grew older, I discovered that there were some pretty cool things you could do when applying science knowledge. In middle school, I did a research paper on the science behind Star Trek and looked at how the science in the show might actually become reality in the future. In sixth grade, I had the opportunity to attend Space Camp in Florida – possibly one of the best weeks ever! I got to miss a week of school (a pretty great thing as a kid) and spent a week learning about space sciences and applications.

When I got to high school, I took my first physics class. My teacher inspired me to not only learn what we needed for the test, but to also apply my critical thinking skills to the math and science that we were learning.

These experiences taught me about myself – that I wanted to not only know how and why things work (why I like physics and science), but to try and make them better (why I’m involved in engineering, Girl Scouts, and the Society of Women Engineers).

I went on to college, earning degrees in Physics (with a Math minor) and Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. Now I work as an aircraft certification engineer, reviewing design data packages and regulations to ensure that everything is in order and safe to fly. My first major project was to certify the use of cell phones on airplanes in Europe. I even made several trips to Europe to present our project plan and findings, all within the first two years on the job – how cool is that?

I have had some great mentors over the years, from teachers to my parents, who have made all the difference in my journey. They each helped me discover a different aspect of my passion for STEM-related topics and provided guidance and encouragement for the next steps of my trek to a STEM career. I have given back by volunteering with the SWE, teaming up with Girl Scouts, and evening helping with my company’s outreach events – I love to pay it forward and inspire today’s girls to explore STEM fields.

My challenge to the adults, whoever you are, is to be a mentor and encourage the girls in your life to find their passion. You don’t need to be an expert in the area where the girls have their passion – just stand beside them as they go on their journey. Being in a STEM field myself, I strongly encourage you to make science, technology, engineering, and math cool and encourage girls to explore these paths to hopefully find their passion.

My challenge to the girls out there, whatever your age, is to look for a mentor and ask them for advice – it is always an honor to be asked to be a mentor! If you aren’t sure where you want to go or what you want to do, check out the STEM fields. Keep your eyes open for opportunities that will spark your passion and give you the chance to shine. Ask questions and never give up on learning something new! And, when you are older, remember that you too can be a mentor, and pay it forward to the next generation, inspiring girls of the future on their journeys.


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. A version of this article was originally published on the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) blog as a part of Engineers Week 2013.

Monday, February 6, 2017

FY18 Region J Elections

Election season is upon us! If you are interested in getting involved at the region or society level of SWE, please let us know! There are many great opportunities to showcase your leadership skills. FY18 leadership position terms run from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

We are currently soliciting applicants for:
* Professional Senator
* Collegiate Senator
* Region Representative to the Society Nominating Committee
* Region Collegiate Representative
* Region Collegiate Communications Editor
* Lt. Governor
* Treasurer
* Secretary

The Senator positions and Representative to the Society Nominating Committee are normally 2-year terms, but the Society has a plan to dissolve SWE regions at the end of FY18, so these positions would serve 1 year and FY18 would be the last year for all region leadership positions! 

For more information about these positions, go to this link on the Region J website:

If you are a professional interested in running for any of these positions, please contact Coral Jean (  If you are a collegiate, please contact Nicole Woodman ( for more information ASAP.

Applications (which consist of your name, section, membership number, and a list of previous SWE experience-year & role) for Senator, RCR, and RCCE are requested by Friday, February 10th, 2017. These candidates approved by the nominating committee will also have to submit a photo and candidate statement (a short bio and explanation of why you are running/what you hope to accomplish in the role) to HQ for inclusion on the Society ballot. More details will be provided on this later. Note that you are welcome to go ahead and submit your photo and candidate statement with your application.

The requested due date for the other region positions, Lt. Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, and Society Nominating Committee, is March 1st, 2017.

Note that some travel funding is available for all of these roles.

This content was provided by:
Alice Orrell, Coral Jean Cotterell, & Stephanie Chin
Region J FY18 Nominating Committee

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Collegiate Section Spotlight: Washington State University North Puget Sound

Guest Contributors:  Tinneal Ching & Mariah Harvey (WSU-NPSE students)

The Washington State University North Puget Sound at Everett (WSU-NPSE) CIG was spearheaded by Mechanical Engineering students, Tinneal Ching and Mariah Harvey, to bring the benefits of SWE to the campus and promote professional development throughout student body while providing educational and career opportunities to women in STEM.

Officially established in January 2016, the CIG began with only 13 members. WSU’s Everett campus consists of a diverse demographic of non-traditional transfer students from local community colleges and universities.  A few members have attended the National Conference in Los Angeles, Nashville, and Philadelphia and attended the Regional ABJ Conference.

The CIG was officially approved on November 30th, 2016 and it continues to focus on organizing their “Women in Engineering” networking event, professional development workshops, local company tours, community outreach for K-12 students, Cougar Career Week, and hosting their annual Dinner with Industry with their sister chapter at Everett Community College.

Thank you to those who have supported us this past year and to both Dr. Ciera Graham, our organization’s advisor, and Mrs. Catherine Thomas, for her advocacy of our student organization.

For more information about WSU-NPSE’s SWE, please email us at and visit us on our website [] and our Facebook []

(Updated 01/31/17: A previous version of this blog listed the Guest Contributor as Ciera Gaham)


This guest article is part of SWE PNW's Collegiate Section Spotlight series, where we ask the local collegiate sections to showcase their section so we can share information up at the professional section level. These guest articles are coordinated by Elaine Reeves, Section Representative and College Relations focal for SWE PNW.

SWE PNW Bylaws Review - Call for Participation!

Greeting SWE PNW Members!

Recent changes in SWE's governance structure has necessitated change for our Section's bylaws. This specifically relates changes made to how Section Representatives are allocated per section.

If you would like to be involved in reviewing and making changes to SWE PNW's bylaws alongside our leadership team, please attend our bylaws review meeting.

This will occur from 9:00 - 10:00 am at the Redmond Panera Bread (private room) on February 19th

Please RSVP at the link below:

For more information on the Society level bylaws & governance changes, please check the following:



Grace Lefebure
Pacific Northwest Section

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Collegiate Section Spotlight: University of Washington - Seattle

Guest Contributor: Emily Johanning (BS Civil Engineering, University of Washington, UW Society of Women Engineers President)

As one of 300 collegiate sections of SWE, the University of Washington (UW) section provides hundreds of unique opportunities for its members, including professional and academic development, social and professional networking, and community outreach. UW SWE has grown over 1500% in the past two years. What started as a group of 30 individuals has blossomed into an organization of over 450 students passionate about diversity in engineering. This increase in membership allows our section to have a huge reach, and gives us the opportunity to pursue our mission to its fullest.

However, with this many members, it can be hard to provide equally enriching opportunities to everyone. We have members from over 20 different majors who stay in UW SWE their entire collegiate career and expect different events every year, quarter, and month. Through the creation of ten new officer positions to bring our leadership team to a total of 28 officers (effectively increasing the officer team over 300% in the past two years), we now have the (wo)manpower to hold more events that enhance our organization.

Contact info for UW SWE:
email (main point of contact):
website (currently in progress):


This guest article is part of SWE PNW's Collegiate Section Spotlight series, where we ask the local collegiate sections to showcase their section so we can share information up at the professional section level. These guest articles are coordinated by Elaine Reeves, Section Representative and College Relations focal for SWE PNW.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Looking for Guest Contributors

New in 2017, SWE PNW will be launching several series of themed blog posts - and we need your help!

The Virtual Brand Team has been busy brainstorming series and topics. Now we are looking for SWE members from the Puget Sound area (PNW, SPS, MALs) that would be will to be a guest contributor to our blog, Rainy Day Reads.

Don't worry, you'll be working with the Virtual Brand Team and we'll be helping to coordinate topics, editing, and posting. We'll even help provide prompts and starting points for the series as we can.

Without further ado (and maybe a little bit of a drum roll), here are just a couple of topics/series the Virtual Brand Team is looking for authors for:

SWE Perspectives
This series of blog posts highlights our members experiences with SWE, from why they joined to what they do now and why they find value in being a SWE member. It's a chance for our section members to share their unique perspective on SWE with other section members.

Everyday Engineering
This series is about seeing engineering in our everyday lives. It can capture and share your experiences while working, traveling, or even just exploring locally.

Contributor's Choice
Do you have a topic that you'd like to share with the section? This is the space for you. Send us your topic idea and we'll work to help get it shared out on our blog.

If you are interested in becoming a guest contributor, contact us at

We hope that you'll consider becoming a guest contributor and we look forward to sharing your stories!

~The Virtual Brand Team

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

SWE Individual Awards (FY17)

The Society of Women Engineers strives to advance and honor the contributions of women at all stages of their careers as well as recognize the successes of SWE members and individuals who enhance the engineering profession through contributions to industry, education and the community.

More information is located on SWE's Website, and the deadline is March 31, 2017

If you would like us to help you prepare a packet for one of these awards or would like to nominate someone else in our section, please contact us at