Hey guys, I hope the beginning of the school year is treating you well. My semester has been CRAZY busy, so I’ve been narrowing the amount of things I’m involved in and I’ve been taking more leadership roles in my favorite orgs! Recently I became an Ambassador for Society of Women Engineers (SWE), so I’m going to be spending a lot of time organizing events and bonding with other female engineers! I chose a leadership position in SWE because it’s my favorite organization in Viterbi and one of my favorites in all of SC.
SWE is the largest student-run organization in Viterbi, and its focus is to “stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.” SWE is a universally recognized organization that people all over the country will notice when they see your resume. USC’s SWE is exceptional because it is so well run and has great networking opportunities that a lot of other universities don’t capitalize on.
One of the reasons SWE is my favorite Viterbi org is that it is an organization that fosters collaboration and connections between female engineers at USC; the officers and ambassadors work hard to put on a lot of social events. I was a part of the SWE Mentorship program last year and I had an awesome experience. My mentor was a senior civil engineering major who had switched out of environmental, so she was able to help me out with my environmental classes while also giving me some insight into the civil/construction world. She had also been involved in lots of other Viterbi related things like CMAA, ASCE, and she was even a VSA! She gave me networking tips and encouraged me to go to the spring Viterbi career fair, even though I was a freshman, because she knew it would be a great networking opportunity (she was stoked when I got my construction internship through the career fair).
I also love SWE because it allows me to volunteer with young girls in elementary through high school. Through our community service events, we encourage girls from local schools to pursue science and engineering by bringing them to USC, touring labs, answering their questions, and doing some engineering-related activities to tap into that side of them. I like to show girls that there is no cookie-cutter image of what an engineer should look like and that ANYONE can be an engineer if they have a passion for it. I never even considered STEM until I was a senior in high school, and I wish that I had been exposed to it at a younger age so that’s why I love working with these girls.
Engineering is obviously a male-dominated field, but in Viterbi, where the number of female engineering students is almost double the national average, I feel empowered as a female engineer and through SWE I am able to connect with other women who feel the same way. If you have any questions about SWE or anything else I mentioned, feel free to ask! You can find out more details about SWE on their Facebook page and website.