Society of Women Engineers recognized at national conference

Jayci Blake

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Texas A&M University was recently recognized with three awards at the national conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

The chapter won the Gold Level Outstanding Collegiate Section Award for its ability to recruit and retain members, offer diverse programs and for overall excellence. It also received the second place award for communications, and the Outreach Award for its high school conferences.

President Jayci Blake, a senior chemical engineering major, said she was thrilled with their success.

 SWE

 

SWE at Texas A&M

SWE currently has more than 700 members on campus, with more than 230 playing an active roll. Blake has been involved with SWE since her freshman year, and she can personally attest to the benefits of being a part of the organization.

“The goal with SWE is to be a professional development student-run organization for females in the college of engineering,” she said. “We also want to help develop this community of female engineering students.”

For Blake, SWE is about finding mentors.  The organization’s SWElites program pairs freshmen with upperclassmen. There are currently about 35 mentees in the program.

When Blake joined the organization, she found a mentor in an upperclassman who is now working as a chemical engineer.

“She was a junior at the time, and I was able to ask her about classes and professors, study habits, how to balance having fun and having a social life and doing well (in school),” she said. “As I’ve gone through my four years, I still talk to her.”

SWE members also have opportunities to meet women who are working in industry.

“That’s something that has kept me striving in school, to see how they’ve been through school and exceled, and now they have awesome jobs,” she said.

Blake became heavily involved with SWE her sophomore year when she became an officer for the High School Conference program. During these conferences, about 100 high school students from around the state stay on campus for two days, tour engineering labs, compete in design competitions and learn about all of the departments in the Dwight Look College of Engineering.

“We really just encourage them to consider engineering, and of course, we want them to come to A&M,” she said.

The conferences also host a scholarship and admissions session to prepare the students to apply.

Long-term goals

Blake said the organization is comprised of a really amazing group of women and men.

“We’re all in really challenging classes, but we all want to develop lifelong friendships,” she said. “We all want to make connections that will help us get through school and help us succeed in industry.”

Blake said it’s important for men to be a part of the group, too.

“I think we do have different questions about what life looks like when we enter industry,” she said. “So maybe it can help them understand some of the questions and thoughts and perspectives we have.”

In the end, Blake would like to see a cultural shift in the way female engineers are perceived.

“One day, I would love to see, in the lifetime of my career, that you’re an engineer, you’re not a female engineer,” she said.

To find out more about SWE, visit the SWE website