Hey guys and gals!
A little bit of background before I begin: one of my favorite organizations on campus is the USC chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, or SWE. SWE is an international organization that aims to provide female engineers with a supportive community and a greater voice in the engineering industry. The USC SWE Chapter provides access to tons of exclusive networking events, community outreach opportunities, and the chance to bond with an amazing group of female (and a handful of male) engineers.
Something I quickly found out after getting more involved in SWE is that networking doesn’t just mean weird, stuffy interactions with adults and job fairs. Networking actually just means getting to know cool people from cool companies you would want to work for, and it can be really fun! Here are just a handful of very different, very fun SWE networking events I’ve attended recently:
1. Spring Evening with Industry (SEWI)
This past Thursday was one of SWE’s most fun annual networking opportunities, Spring Evening With Industry. The event is a formal sit down networking dinner with representatives from over 10 different companies (such as Boeing, IBM, Google, etc) in the Radisson Hotel across the street from campus. Each student gets to pick a company they want to sit with for dinner and then one for desert. It was an amazing way to form more personal connections with company reps, get my questions answered, and enjoy some delicious food. There was also a raffle for cool prizes and company swag, which was really cool (even if I didn’t win). This semester, as part of the SWE Corporate Affairs committee, I was able to help run the event which made it even more fun and rewarding!
2. Bowling Night with Intel
Two weeks ago a bunch of my fellow SWEsters and I went to a bowling networking night with company representatives from Intel. Although I really had no idea what to expect, the event was amazing! Rather than the traditional business-casual networking environment, we all came in casual clothes and just chatted, attempted to bowl, and ate unlimited pizza and fries for a couple hours. The representatives were so cool, very easy to talk to, and incredibly friendly. As well as discovering that bowling is really, really not my calling, I found out how fun and stress-free networking can be.
3. Guest Speakers at SWE General Meetings
Every month SWE hosts meetings for all of its members. At these meeting, you get caught up on all of the upcoming SWE events, get free food, and hear from company representatives. During one of my favorite meetings last semester, representatives from Medtronic came to speak to us and gave really valuable recruiting and interview advice.
If you couldn’t tell by now, joining SWE is a great way to prepare for professional life with an amazing group of people. Even if SWE doesn’t sound like your thing, don’t worry, USC has tons of professional and social diversity organizations that I would also highly recommend getting involved with! The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Queers in Engineering, Science and Technology (QuEST), are also really cool groups with really cool people, so if any of those sound more like your crew, make it a priority to get involved!!