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.pnw.section.reps@gmail.com.

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 swepnw.president@gmail.com.

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: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/swe-pnw-book-club-11856813751

Looking forward to meeting you!  

Jessica Mak√§e - Book Club Chair. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Collegiate Section Spotlight: Seattle University

Guest Contributor: Linda Karout (BS Electrical Engineering, Seattle University, SU Society of Women Engineers Vice President)

Seattle University’s SWE section provides myriad of opportunities for its members. At a school with roughly 4.7k undergrad students, SU SWE is able to connect to each of its members intimately and provide resources for life as a professional or grad student when the time comes. So, currently with 31 members, the SU SWE section is able to establish a connection between all of the engineering disciplines (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, and Computer Science) and provide numerous networking and professional events throughout the year.

The SU SWE section’s most successful event is Resume Night where professionals from various engineering careers volunteer their time for a night to review the resumes of any student who is seeking help. This event is not only held for the members of SWE, but for the entire engineering department which helps SWE to pursue the SU mission of “educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”

SU’s SWE also provides the opportunity for many of its members to attend the national SWE conference every year. This past year in Philadelphia, SU SWE was able to send 10 of its members to experience the enriching opportunities from various panels, networking, and one of the largest career fairs any of us have had the pleasure to attend!

In addition, SU SWE holds bake sales to raise funds and holds fun events such as movie nights and study sessions for bonding between fellow members. In the picture below, a group of SWE members participated in a trip to watch the critically acclaimed movie Hidden Figures in theatres; a movie about the great contributions that African American women made to the space program.

Thank you to those who have provided support to this program and our faculty advisor Dr. Agnieszka Miguel and her undying passion for her students.

For more information about SU SWE you can contact our section’s president Ashley White at whitea10@seattleu.edu or our sections vice president Linda Karout at karoutl@seattleu.edu


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.

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 (https://www.mindtools.com/page6.html

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 (http://arianebenefit.com/blog/2013/02/28/rethinking-smart-goals-agile-goal-setting-vs-conventional-goals/)

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. (http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/forget-smart-goals-try-clear-goals-instead.html)

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 (http://www.leadershipiq.com/blogs/leadershipiq/35353793-are-smart-goals-dumb)

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.

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 13, 2017

Collegiate Section Spotlight: Montana Tech

Guest Contributor: Alexis Brandon, President, Society of Women Engineers, Montana Tech SWE

As a small school of only about 2,250 students, Montana Tech SWE is still able to offer many events to support our women on campus as well as create networking opportunities both with members and industry events. Over the past years, we have also raised thousands of dollars to donate to breast cancer research. Our attendance at the national conferences has risen exponentially due to the great support system it provides for women in STEM fields.

Montana Tech SWE is currently working on increasing our membership. Due to our school size, our membership tends to be low, but our officers this year are working very hard to provide worthwhile events that members are eager to attend.

Montana Tech SWE Contact Info: swe@mtech.edu


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, 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: http://regionj.swe.org/uploads/2/0/3/7/20375581/region_officer_position_descriptions-042214-aco.pdf

If you are a professional interested in running for any of these positions, please contact Coral Jean (coraljean.cotterell@swe.org).  If you are a collegiate, please contact Nicole Woodman (nicole.p.woodman@gmail.com) 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