It’s conference season! From SHPE to AIChE, engineering students are leaving campus to attend national conferences featuring workshops, award ceremonies, and career fairs. Last week was the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) turn, and the national conference was held in Anaheim, California, boasting over 16,000 attendees, a gigantic career fair, and hundreds of workshops, all jam packed within the three day conference.
On Thursday, I arrived at the conference around noon, and was surprised to find there was already a line for the career fair that was set to open at 2 pm. Hundreds of engineers were lined up in the convention center, eager to talk to representatives. With some other first-time conference attendees from USC SWE, including fellow Viterbi student Alice, we spent an hour exploring the convention center and schedule before getting ready for the career fair.
As soon as the career fair opened, it was a mad rush to get in and talk to recruiters. Hundreds of companies were in attendance, including Apple, Boeing, Ford, Microsoft, and many, many others. It was surprising to see the size of the career fair, but what was most surprising was talking to recruiters. So many company representatives were in attendance and eager to hire interns and full-time engineers, and after a short conversation at a booth with a recruiter, I already found myself scheduling an interview with the company for the next morning.
Since the conference was only thirty minutes south of USC, there were dozens of USC SWE members in attendance. Throughout convention, we spent our evenings getting dinner with each other, spending time in hotel rooms doing homework, and even going to Disneyland together!
Friday morning, the second day of the conference, was full of more career fair experiences, interesting workshops, and meeting people. I was able to attend several workshops on self-care for engineers, learning a great deal about wellness in the workplace, imposter syndrome, and other interesting topics. Friday flew by faster than Thursday, and by the evening, I could check off attending workshops, recruiting for internships, and networking with companies and graduate schools off of my list of expectations.
Saturday was a much shorter conference day, and with most of my to-do items already completed, I left around noon to make it back to campus and catch up on homework. SWE conference was definitely an incredible experience, and I learned a great deal about being a more successful woman in engineering. My favorite part of the conference was the workshops, where women in industry were able to present to large crowds about topics they were passionate about. I learned a great deal through attending SWE conference, and am so grateful that the USC SWE chapter funded my attendance!
If you want to hear more about the SWE conference, keep an eye out for a podcast coming out soon, featuring more USC SWE members and their experiences. I’ll SWE you in the next blog!