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You may have seen communications from us and from SWE HQ about FY17 Region Conferences and the new WE Local conferences, but you may be wondering what each of those programs is and why you would want to attend. Let’s set the record straight today!

rcconf2015A Brief Recent History of Region Conferences

For many years, SWE Regions have held conferences in various cities with the goal of bringing geographically nearby SWE members together (usually in the spring so as not to conflict with Society WE conferences), offering professional development and leadership training, conducting SWE business, holding career fairs, celebrating our successes, and sharing best practices with one another. Some Regions join together for one big event (Regions A, B, and J), some have professional sections do the bulk of the planning, and some don’t hold a conference at all due to lack of funding, strong leadership, or interest. SWE Region C (comprised of professional and collegiate section members and Members at Large from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi) has held Region C Conferences since the late 1990s. Our region leadership team put together a strategy for collegiate sections to be the main hosts for our conferences, with support of nearby professional sections, as a weekend event. The collegiate host section gains a lot of leadership experience (event planning, contract negotiation, budgeting, fundraising, volunteer recruiting, etc) and for their efforts a portion of any conference overage goes to their section to support their own events. The conference has been held in the DFW area three times in the past 15 years. Like any volunteer-run event, there have been ups and downs through the years, but this system has worked for Region C for a long time.

we_local_logoNew WE Local Program

Recently, SWE HQ has undertaken efforts to standardize the Society’s branding, image, and programming content to drive consistency in how people experience SWE across the United States and the world. Additionally, the volunteer burden of planning and executing the conference is substantial and the Society has initiatives to identify areas where volunteer resources can be used more efficiently. Towards these goals, the Board of Directors  decided to replace Region Conferences with WE Local Conferences starting in FY18. The two WE Local conferences being held in FY17 (in San Jose and Pittsburg) are pilot test cases for the new program. Sections can apply to be hosts for a WE Local conference, but their involvement in the planning process is greatly reduced since much of the work for fundraising, registration, program planning, logistics, and execution now fall to SWE HQ staff.

What does this mean to you?

It means that the Region C Conference in College Station, TX Feb 17-19, 2017 is the VERY LAST Region C Conference, so you should definitely consider going! You can view a tentative schedule of events here. There are the usual technical and social tours for you to choose from, keynote speakers, SWE business meetings, a variety of speaker topics for both professionals and collegiates, and an awards banquet celebrating the accomplishments of Region C members and sections. You’ll get to meet other collegiates and professionals from our region, see what other sections are up to, and maybe even find that new job you’ve been looking for at the career fair! SWE conferences are a great time to get recharged and inspired to be a great engineer, leader, and mentor no matter where you are in your career stage. Because this is the last conference, however, there will also be special celebrations specific to the conference’s history. There are so many reasons to join us there in February, especially if you didn’t get to attend WE16 in Philadelphia!

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If you’d like to attend the conference, visit the event website to register and secure your hotel room reservation. Early bird rates expire December 30! Our leadership team often carpools and shares hotel rooms to save on travel costs, especially if we’re paying our own way instead of being sponsored by our employers. If you’d like to participate as well, fill out our Region C Coordination Survey and we’ll try our best to accommodate anyone who wants to carpool or share accommodations!

How to Connect with Dallas SWEgroupmelogo

We’ve used an app called GroupMe in the past to connect with members at Society WE conferences. Email us at dallas.swe@gmail.com if you have questions, to let us know that you’re attending Region C Conference, and whether you’d like to be included in the GroupMe. We can’t wait to see you there!

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DYWlogoWe’ve posted a recap of our November 12 Design Your World STEM Conference for 4th and 5th grade girls on the DYW website. Check it out! Many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers who helped make the day a great success.

Our next DYW STEM Conference will be held Saturday, April 1, 2017 at SMU! If you’d like to help us plan the next event after the first of the year, please email us at designyourworld.swe@gmail.com to let us know.

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Lennox International is the generous sponsor for our Dallas SWE holiday party to close out 2016. Join us for a tour, networking, and socializing as we celebrate the holiday season. The facility tour will provide guests the opportunity to see validation and test labs from this leading manufacturer of heating and air-conditioning systems.

Important Tour Information: Open toed shoes, sandals, thin, ballet style flats, or high heeled shoes are not allowed. Substantial leather is recommended for all visits into the lab.

When: Tuesday, December 13, 6pm – 8pm

Where: Lennox International Lab, 1600 Metrocrest Dr. Carrollton, TX 75006

Cost: FREE for SWE Members, $5 for non-SWE members and guests
Eventbrite - Dallas SWE 2016 Holiday Party - Sponsored by Lennox

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hiddenfiguresAs a show of our appreciation for their loyal support, Dallas SWE members were offered the opportunity to attend a special pre-release screening of Hidden Figures last night at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas. We filled all 40 reserved seats within 48 hours! Everyone was really excited about this movie and it did not disappoint. This is the inspirational story of women computers who calculated trajectories for NASA to help put the first American in space and, eventually, on the Moon. This movie has math, engineering, computer programming, the epic Space Race, a love story, and the fight for civil rights all rolled up into one fantastic film!

We are so thankful that 20th Century Fox included us in this screening event and for the women who overcame past struggles so we don’t have to fight the same battles they did. We are continually inspired by how far we’ve come in just a single generation and are hopeful for all the things we can do TOGETHER in this generation!

Hidden Figures opens in Dallas on Christmas Day at the AMC North Park only, then releases everywhere January 6, 2017. We’ll plan another group viewing after the first of the year! Use #HiddenFiguresLive to share this film with your friends on social media.

If you just can’t wait that long, check out the film Top Secret Rosies, available for DVD rental on Netflix or for streaming / purchase via Amazon. This documentary tells the story of women computers who calculated ballistic trajectories for WWII soldiers and includes interviews with the Rosies themselves! It’s a moving film, and there’s a book app available on iPad that goes more in-depth into the historical records associated with these stories.

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We appreciate our Dallas SWE members!!

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On Saturday, Nov 19, Dallas SWE members volunteered with members of NSBE DFW and SHPE DFW at two Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations: Northwest Dallas and Lake Highlands. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Proceeds from ReStores are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world. We assembled office furniture and sorted home good items from recent large donations: if anyone could put those chairs and desks together, engineers can!

Afterwards, we met at Tacos and Tequila in Dallas for a group lunch sponsored by Axxess! We enjoyed delicious chips, dips, wraps, salad, and cookies while we visited with each other and talked about areas where our four organizations can help each other. We are invested in assisting our other local diversity organizations because so many of our goals and initiatives overlap with one another: STEM outreach, professional development, and advocacy. Stay tuned for more information on a late-January partnership event we’re planning with local collegiate organization leaders!

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usaa2Dallas SWE’s November 15 Professional Development meeting was sponsored by USAA in Plano. The evening was hosted by Hilary Waters, a project manager in Agency IT for USAA. The evening started with a meet-and-greet networking session. USAA employees met with Dallas SWE members and leaders in an informal setting with refreshments and music.

usaa-01Patti Hayden was the first speaker of the evening. She introduced USAA’s mission and culture of serving US military service men and women with insurance and financial products. Next, Stacy Huggar gave an overview of USAA’s collaboration space technologies which would later be demonstrated during the site tour. Hilary then moderated the panel discussion, “Women in the IT Workforce” with 2 USAA speakers (Ryan O’Leary, IT Technical Director and Lindsay Young, Technical Architect), and 2 SWE speakers (Shelley Stracener, Senior Electrical Engineer at St. Jude Medical and Molly Sing, Characterization Engineer at Texas Instruments). Common themes during the discussion included advocacy, leadership, and managing your brand. USAA highlighted several technical and leadership training programs available to interns and employees which enable those returning from military service or retraining from other careers succeed in USAA’s highly creative technical environment.

The tour of the two buildings on USAA’s campus included demonstrations of smart boards, virtual hallways, robot presence for remote employees, Skype-optimized conference rooms, and mobile desks. The tour finished up in the lobby’s demonstration center which featured tools developed by the USAA R&D group. Many thanks to USAA for their generous sponsorship of Design Your World and this professional development meeting!

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A huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated to support your community during North Texas Giving Day on September 22! Even though our $1,136 is a small percentage of the total amount raised (Over $37 MILLION!), we are extremely grateful for each and every cent from the 11 generous donors who contributed to further the mission of Dallas SWE! Your donations help us support local K-12 outreach events, sponsor scholarships to local high school students, and fund professional development programs throughout the year. Thanks so much for your generosity and continued support!

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With our Member of the Month program, Dallas SWE seeks to recognize some of our non-officer members whose technical contributions, leadership accomplishments, or SWE volunteer service are particularly noteworthy. If you would like to nominate a Dallas SWE member for his/her contributions, please email us.


This November, we feature Alicia M. Morgan as our Member of the Month! Alicia is a graduate of Tuskegee University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Aerospace Science Engineering and New Mexico State University with a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. Her professional engineering experience includes working at Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Company, and Raytheon. After thirteen years in engineering, Alicia followed her passion working with youth in the nonprofit sector. Among her accomplishments, she’s been the Advisory Board Chair of the Academy of Engineering and Biomedical Sciences at Bryan Adams High School, promoting and impacting programs and National Academy Foundation certification, focusing on education, culture and student achievement. As a Program Leader at Heart House, she facilitated STEM learning centers for K-8th grade students. She is currently the STEM 2.0 Insight Project Researcher for the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) which provides an online website portal for STEM Education and resources for middle through high school students. Additionally, she is a facilitator for the North Central Texas Region Degree Accelerator Project to support college and workforce readiness through DCCCD.

In October 2016, she was the honoree for the K-12 Promotion of Education Award at the Women of Color in STEM Conference. To learn more about Alicia and her recent award check out this video!

women-of-color-recognition-dinner-087-x3“I have enjoyed being surrounded by a network of women who support each other.  The Dallas SWE community has helped me find ways to advocate for other women and girls in the STEM Community.  I have equally enjoyed being a part of the programming committee and helping to bring in engaging speakers to speak about topics that help members develop themselves personally and professionally.”

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fallBelow are a few reminders for our November activities. Don’t miss out on your chance to spend some time with Dallas SWE! Click the links for more info.

Nov 12 – Design Your World STEM Conference for Girls

This Saturday we’ll be at Eastfield College 9:00am – 3:30pm with 150 students and their parents for another exciting day of learning and fun! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for live updates on our activities.

Nov 15 – Panel Talk and Collaboration Spaces Tour

Join us at USAA in Plano on Tuesday 6:00pm-8:00pm for a tour and panel talk on “Navigating Your Career.”

Nov 19 – Habitat for Humanity Community Service with NSBE and SHPE

We are excited to partner with two other local diversity organizations to give back to our community. Only a few spots reserved for SWE are left so don’t miss this opportunity!


Mark your calendars for these other upcoming events!

Dec 13 – Dallas SWE Holiday Social at Lennox International

Stay tuned for details on  our annual holiday social, sponsored by Lennox!

Feb 17-19, 2017 – SWE Region C Conference

Registration and hotel blocks are now open for the last ever SWE Region C Conference which will be held in College Station, TX! Visit the event website for details and to register. Email us at dallas.swe@gmail.com to let us know you’re coming! If you are interested in being a speaker during one of the conference sessions, please view the speaker information document here and submit your session abstract by December 16!

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we16group2Last week, sixteen Dallas SWE members experienced SWE’s WE16 Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA! A record-breaking 11,000+ registrants were in attendance at the conference’s professional development speaker sessions, career fair, and Saturday outreach event, Invent It, Build It. See the sections below to read more about our experiences at the conference! You can also view all of our photos at our Facebook album here.

The conference theme was, “LIfe’s Variable, SWE’s Your Constant.” Many of the attendees personally identified with that statement, as their involvement with and friends in SWE span multiple jobs, locales, and years! Read below for their personal reflections on the conference.

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Awards

Dallas SWE brought home four large professional section awards! Kudos to our FY16 leadership team and Awards Committee for securing every section award for which we applied: amazing!

  • Outreach Parent and Educator Program Award: for the third year in a row, we were recognized for the excellence of the adult sessions at our signature STEM Outreach event, Design Your World.
  • Outreach MOU Partnership Award: for our FY16 series of Design Your World events at SMU and UNT with support from Girl Scouts of North Texas.
  • Membership Recruitment Program Award: for our professional development and social program offerings, membership recruitment events with local companies and universities, and online communication best practices.
  • Motorola Foundation Multicultural Award: for the diversity of our membership in culture, age, career stage, and engineering discipline, and for program partnerships with other local diversity organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Dallas SWE member Stephanie Watts Butler, Ph.D from Texas Instruments received SWE’s Achievement Award, the highest honor SWE bestows each year. She gave a very insightful and inspirational keynote speech at Friday’s award banquet. You can find more about her in our October Member of the Month post.

Professional Development

Four of our members took the stage as speakers or panel moderators during the following WE16 professional development sessions:

  • Cherrie Fisher – Epic Careers in Big Data and Analytics
  • Nandika D’Souza, Ph.D – Strategies for TRUE Inclusion in Engineering: the World is in Your Workplace.
  • Kate Van Dellen – Confronting Workplace Sexism
  • Stephanie Watts Butler, Ph.D –  Stand out! How to Pitch Yourself and Own the Career Fair

SWE Governance Updates

Dallas SWE Leaders were also in attendance at each of the SWE business meetings (Membership, Town Hall, and Senate meetings) to ensure we have the latest available information on SWE’s Governance change initiatives. At a high level, the Regions have been instructed to create and approve a plan to dissolve their finances and leadership structure by the end of FY17 (June 2017), with the goal of implementing the approved plan during FY18. In FY18, we will no longer

For the great majority of our members, your relationship with SWE as a whole will remain unchanged. However, for your SWE section leaders, these changes will require us to make major changes to the ways we interact with SWE headquarters and how your interests are represented to the Society’s top leadership and governance bodies. We will also need to maintain closer, more frequent contact with our local collegiate sister sections to ensure they are getting the support they need to develop mentor relationships with professionals, enhance their professional development skills, and host successful events.

While not everyone was enthusiastic about the information shared at WE16, our section leadership team is optimistic that those in charge of planning and executing these changes have the best interest of SWE at heart and that our feedback is being heard and considered during this process. SWE has set up a special website to share documentation on these concerns. The information presented at WE16 should be available there soon. If you have questions or concerns on this topic, you may email us at dallas.swe@gmail.com or contact HQ directly at governance@swe.org.

WE17 Location Announcementaustinmosaic

Next year’s SWE Annual Conference (WE17)will be held in Austin, TX Oct 26-28, 2017! Mark your calendars now: this is so close to home we expect a big showing from our Lone Star State!!

Personal Reflections

Seeing all the awards that the Dallas SWE section won makes me want to get more involved at the local level. With the effort to sun-set Regions, reaching out to our local sister sections (both professional and collegiate) will be more important. I also got to participate in my first senate meeting. It was amazing and powerful to be part of the group that can impact organizational change.
~ Kate Van Dellen
I was impressed with the large attendance at this year’s conference, I think this is a testament to the quality of the sessions and opportunities at the career fair. I enjoyed being able to return as a recruiter for Texas Instruments and give back to the conference that taught me so much as a student! It was energizing to talk to students and professionals at various stages of life and to know that I had a connection (SWE) with each of them. Finally, the Awards banquet was very motivating and inspiring. It was yet another reminder of SWE’s legacy and the impact it’s had on so many people.
~ Amber Scheurer, Dallas SWE FY17 Secretary
As a first time SWE Annual Conference attendee, I was blown away by the incredible networking and career development opportunities at WE16. The seminars and key note speakers were very useful and relevant to me. Chevron’s Presentation on Data Analytics was eye-opening as I did not expect to see data analytics so widely used in the Oil & Gas Industry. I took advantage of the career connections sessions with a leadership coach, Barbara Taylor, who provided a unique perspective on the strategic networking, mentor programs, executive presence, communication etc.
~Shilpa Nagaraj, Counselor for Collin College SWE

The Award Banquet was great: everyone was so kind and it felt wonderful to share the night with all in attendance. However, my biggest memory of WE16 was meeting SWElebrity Alma Kuppinger Forman, a SWE founder from Pennsylvania! I felt like the technological innovation we need most for conference is to clone ourselves so we can see all the fantastic talks going on simultaneously!
~ Stephanie Watts Butler, Ph.D, SWE Achievement Award recipient

As a veteran SWE Annual Conference attendee, I am always energized and inspired by seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and generally being surrounded by the best and brightest women engineers and mentors there are! WE16 was no exception. This year I was particularly inspired by the concern and attention being given to our Society’s Governance structure. In a time where society at large behaves poorly when confronted by conflict and controversy, SWE is a great example of an organization where differing voices are heard, acknowledged, and considered with respect and deliberate review. I look forward to being a part of SWE’s future: one reason I became a Life Member this year!
~Shelley Stracener, Dallas SWE FY17 President

Being the only female in male-dominated industries for many years makes it hard sometimes to have the sense of belonging in spite of your achievements. Attending the SWE conference this year gave me the opportunity, for the first time in my career, to get to know accomplished women in technical and leadership roles similar to mine. Although I love my career, the one thing I missed was having the support of women who share my same experiences and ambition.  Each one had their unique perspective and were all willing to share, connect and support one another. This conference  made me more proud to be part of an international women engineers community.
~ Amani Maurice

I love attending SWE conferences as it allows me to spend a few days focusing on my own professional development. Many of the sessions cover more basic material that serve as excellent reminders, but every so often you learn something totally new. One such session was “Teamwork 101: How to Play Nice with your Teammates and Create Better Results”. In that session, I learned that an absence of trust is the foundation of a dysfunctional team. To build up that trust, the leader of the team must be the first to demonstrate vulnerability. Another way in which teams struggle is when there is a lack of commitment from those at the table. On this point I learned one of my new favorite phrases: “There is a difference between buy-in and consensus.”. Everyone doesn’t have to agree, but everyone must buy-in to the decision. The takeaways from this session are extremely applicable to my work in cross-functional teams and put me on a path to success.
~Pam Duffy, Dallas SWE FY17 Section Representative

I wish all our section membership could have been at Celebrate SWE with us to see Dallas SWE winning four section awards. We all know Dallas SWE is awesome and the awards recognize how special a team we have. It is a testimony to the great leadership team and committees we had in place in FY16, Thank you to all the members who made this possible! I volunteered at the WE16 Information Desk and received a substantial discount on conference registration. Anyone wanting to reduce their attendance costs should consider volunteering at WE17. There are lots of volunteer opportunities and it is a great way to connect with other attendees.
~ Barbara Read, Dallas SWE FY17 Section Representative

With an aim of bridging communication between immigrant and non-immigrant engineers, I presented a workshop focused on the central human need for people and their contributions to be accepted. We examined the impact of socialization during teen years on the 6 Hoffstede dimensions. I also supervised the Undergraduate Rapid Fire Sessions. Other than that I attended workshops, my favorite of which was on male advocates and importance and pragmatism of being politically savvy while raising gender-based issues at meetings.  From a Dallas SWE perspective, having transitioned out of managing the Design Your World conferences, it was validating to see the significant national impact the effort has made validated through recognition for our Dallas section.
~ Nandika D’Souza, Dallas SWE FY17 Executive Vice President 
 Since the end of WE15, I waited anxiously for WE16 in Philadelphia and it did not disappoint! Other than the conference being in such a fun and historic city, it was jammed packed with sessions and I enjoyed several, with topics ranging from leadership to conflict management to technical talks to personal and professional development to SWE business. As usual, catching up with SWEsters from various sections, regions, and even my alma maters is a blast. WE16 proved to be another amazing opportunity to recharge and get motivated to be a better version of myself, professionally, personally, and in SWE! Until WE17 in Austin, TX…
~ Zaineb Ahmad, Dallas SWE FY17 VP of Membership

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