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Five Dallas SWE members made their way to Tulsa, OK January 26-28 to experience the first WE Local conference of FY18! Registration was a breeze through the SWE membership portal, and the refreshed WE Event App was the best way to plan our experience in Tulsa. About a 4 hour drive away from the Dallas area, the trip was just as accessible as WE17 was in Austin, but offered a more intimate and more affordable experience.

The formal program began with breakfast on Friday and opening keynote speaker Kate Van Dellen, a Dallas SWE member and one of our Region C Senators! She gave a wonderful presentation that inspired us to call out discrimination when we experience it and to mentor the next generation of engineers to solve problems and speak out to support equality in our workplaces.

FY18 SWE President Jonna Gerkin delivered the State of SWE address at lunch and, along with other Society leaders in attendance, presided over the SWE Town Hall session. SWE members asked many questions concerning governance structure updates, SWE website updates in progress and the new Advance Learning Center 2.0, changes to future conference programming and career fair logistics, and the need for SWE Committee accountability as they become our only pathway to Society leadership opportunities. It was a great opportunity to voice our concerns and get real-time responses: a sincere thank-you to all the Society leadership representatives who attended!

Dallas SWE Members at WE Local Tulsa 2018!

Dallas SWE members Kate Van Dellen and Shelley Stracener presented professional development sessions during the conference on the topics of Finding Your Catch Phrase and Engineering Your Financial Future, respectively. WE Local conferences are an excellent way to practice your public speaking skills while sharing your passion for teaching and mentoring others: we encourage you to use them as a stepping stone to presenting at annual Society conferences! Rebecca Tom attended to recruit for her company, Texas Instruments, at the career fair, and Nancy Jennings attended the career fair as a job seeker and new transplant to Dallas. Tripat Baweja drove eight of her Colin College students to the conference for the weekend: what a trooper!

WE Local differed from our past Region conferences in that it included a Design Lab K-12 Outreach program and Parent & Educator program for local families. This is a great benefit of having SWE headquarters help in planning and executing WE Local conferences going forward and a wonderful opportunity to introduce SWE to each WE Local host city! We definitely took some notes on things we can use to improve our Design Your World Outreach series.

The closing event of the conference Saturday evening was an Award banquet with guest speaker Dima Ghawi,. Her transformative life story escaping an abusive culture and marriage to emancipating herself and her family members was so inspiring to those of us who struggle with shattering expectations and becoming courageous leaders.

As with all SWE conferences, attendees came home energized and motivated to make changes in our lives, our workplaces, and our communities! If you want to experience a WE Local conference this year, there are four more in the United States and two WE Locals overseas in 2018! Visit weloacl.swe.org for more details. The WE Local schedule for 2019 has also been announced, so mark your calendars and join your SWEsters where and when you are able!

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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. Our February Member of the Month is Rana Karimi!

Rana Karimi is an Engineering Project Manager for PepsiCo, working on the Packaging Automation team at the Frito-Lay North America headquarters in Plano, TX. As a Project Manager, she is responsible for leading the deployment of automation projects for Frito-Lay plants nationwide, providing technical input on capital allocation and expenditures, and unifying cross-functional teams from around the world. In this role, Rana is a change agent in leveraging technology and robotics to improve packaging productivity for America’s largest food and beverage company.

Rana joined PepsiCo in August 2017. She previously worked in Houston for Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil and gas service company. At Schlumberger, she gained experience in operations and held engineering roles in manufacturing, quality, and production planning in which she was largely responsible for optimizing manufacturing processes in a highly engineered, make to order environment. In her last role, she leveraged her manufacturing experience as a SAP business system trainer during the company’s global IT Transformation.

Rana is passionate about promoting women in engineering and STEM. As a SWE Professional, she has served as a volunteer or coordinator at dozens of outreach events in Houston and Dallas. After joining PepsiCo, she supported the Engineering department’s Women in Engineering Retention Initiative by raising awareness of the benefits and resources of SWE. This advocacy led to gaining management’s support of SWE memberships. Before relocating to the DFW Area, Rana was a math tutor for high school girls for four years. She worked with students on Algebra I & II, Geometry, and Pre-Calc. Rana enjoyed seeing her students develop confidence and proficiency in math.

Rana received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2013. From a young age, Rana enjoyed her math and science classes and always sought to be challenged. The opportunity to use her strength in math and the broad career prospects are what drew her to pursue engineering. At UT, she was involved in SWE as Community Affairs Director and led many outreach events held on and off campus. She was also active in the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) as a mentor for first-year female students in mechanical engineering and helped organize the flagship event, “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.” She balanced her engineering workload with playing the French horn in the Longhorn Band, and performed at each UT football game for four years.

On a personal note, Rana enjoys traveling and photographing different parts of the world. Her goal is to visit at least two new countries every year.  She is also an avid cyclist. As a rider and fundraiser for the MS150, she made the 180-mile bike ride from Houston to Austin every year since her junior year of college. As an engineer at heart, Rana enjoys making her own personal care products and experimenting with natural ingredients in cooking and baking. Rana also enjoys language classes and has professional working proficiency in Spanish and Farsi.

“I strongly identify with SWE’s mission of advancing the careers of women engineers. A well-balanced, diverse workforce is more successful at innovation than a homogeneous workforce. Yet, women are still underrepresented in engineering and technology. In recent years, while women earned more bachelor’s degrees than men, fewer than one-fourth of engineering degrees were earned by women. We need to improve these figures and close the gender gap. SWE does a great job of working toward closing the gap by providing a strong network of support, tools, and mentorship to empower women engineers to overcome challenges, bond together, and build our professional skills and confidence.”

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Join us for an evening social hour as we network and socialize over some great food! Friends and partners are welcome! Food is available for purchase by the individual.

When: Thursday, February 22, 2018, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Where: Union Bear Brewing Co., 5880 Texas 121 #101, Plano, TX 75024
Cost: FREE to SWE Members and Non-Members. Food is available for purchase by the individual.



The new year is a great time to meet new people or reach out to someone you work with! Consider bringing a colleague or someone that might be interested in SWE. To find out more about becoming a member, visit our About Us webpage.

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Dallas SWE encourages young women to pursue mathematics, sciences and engineering programs and get engaged early in technical fields. To recognize women early on and motivate them to stay and continually learn, Dallas SWE offers scholarships and certificates. Applications are now being accepted for the Society of Women Engineers Certificate and High School and Collegiate Scholarship programs! Some of the program highlights are below. We encourage you to visit dallaswe.org/scholarships to obtain Scholarship and Certificate information and forms.

High school scholarships are awarded to female high school seniors who will be majoring in engineering. Applications are due by April 15th. Scholarships vary from $500 to $1000.

Collegiate scholarships are awarded to SWE collegiate section members who have demonstrated leadership skills by organizing or leading activities for their section that will be sustained after their graduation. Scholarships are awarded to the member and the SWE collegiate section. Applications are due by April 30th.

Certificates are awarded to middle or high school students who excel in science and mathematics with distinction or for an engineering related activity, such as a science fair project or a technical paper competition. Nominated students also should be active citizens in their school and community. We hope that this program will encourage the recipients to consider a future engineering career.

Please share this information with your students and educators through information found on http://www.dallaswe.org/scholarships/.  For additional information, please send an email to dallas.swe@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support. We look forward to recognizing your talented students!

~ Lynn Mortensen, Dallas SWE Outreach Awards Committee 2018

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The DISD STEM expo was out of this world! Dallas’ largest STEM expo certainly did not disappoint. The Dallas SWE chapter was in full force, electrifying attendees with our circuit building activity. We had the opportunity to interact with several hundred attendees over the course of the full day event. With over 100 vendors present, the outreach event was certainly a success. Thanks to all of the SWEsters that showed up to support running the booth we had a blast!
~Terriekka Cardenas, Dallas SWE FY18 VP of Outreach

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We are pleased to announce that our next Design Your World STEM Conference will be held  April 14, 2018 at Seagoville High School P-Tech Academy! The age range will be 9th-10th grade girls.

Details on activities, volunteers, registration, partner organizations, and sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks as we plan for another exciting day of learning and fun!

Please sign up for DYW email updates or follow our Facebook or Twitter accounts to get the latest information on our events. We’ll be posting more details and a call for volunteers in the coming weeks!

Sponsor information:
If you or your employer would like to donate to this event, sponsor an activity, or contribute materials / give-aways, please visit the DYW Sponsor page. Thanks for helping make Design Your World an award-winning outreach event for girls and adults alike! Please review the sponsorship letter and form and follow the instructions.


Once again we are pleased to invite you to She Networks, She Wins, hosted by Southern Methodist University SWE! We’ve supported this event for over a decade and it’s become one of our favorite traditions to meet with collegiate women engineers, enjoy an industry panel talk, and make connections with our sister SWE section.

When: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 6:00pm-7:30pm

Where: SMU, Lyle School of Engineering, Caruth Hall, 3145 Dyer Street, Dallas TX 75225

RSVP: Click here to RSVP for this event! 

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We’ve got a couple of Outreach opportunities coming up: please see contact info below if you’re interested in participating!

Hebron High School Career Week Volunteers

The Hebron High School Career and Technology Education Department will be hosting a Career Fair during the week of March 19-23, 2018. They have invited professionals from various fields to attend the fair on one or more of the days during the student lunch hour which is 11:27-12:27 each day.  If you can help support a SWE table at this event, please email us at dallas.swe@gmail.com.

Speakers Needed for ANWEP-USA Event

ANWEP-USA (Association of Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals in the US) is having an Inaugural Fundraising Gala and Silent Auction, on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Garland, Texas. The theme is: “Help Challenge the sySTEM.” All proceeds will benefit our “Empower Girls in STEM " program, so that underprivileged young girls in Dallas County can receive scholarships, S.T.E.M. skills, job shadowing opportunities and internships. They are looking for sponsors and guest speakers at this event. If you are interested in participating, please contact ANWEP-USA President and Founder Ogechi Ugwulebo at ogechi@anwep-usa.org.

Mentors and Speakers for Jewish Schools

One of our members, Kate Van Dellen, is looking for engineers of any fields to be role models, speakers, and possibly mentors to private Jewish schools in Dallas. Please contact her for more information: kvd@thecije.org.


On Saturday, January 13, the Membership Committee hosted our first social brunch of 2018 at Sixty Vines in Plano. It was one of the largest social event turnouts with 21 attendees including several new faces. It was a very engaging and lively group. Our president made announcements on open committee positions, the upcoming WE Local Tulsa, and Dallas SWE merchandise. If you missed this event, check out our other upcoming professional development and social events on our website calendar!

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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.

Our January Member of the Month is Rebecca Tom! Rebecca received her Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. While there, she was deeply involved with the collegiate SWE section by leading various volunteering events, speaking on panels, and coordinating society and regional events for members and officers to attend. For the past three years, She has been at Texas Instruments (TI) as an Account Manager, finding solutions through semiconductor chips for the technical challenges industrial customers face in their designs.

Since moving to Dallas, Rebecca has continued to volunteer and promote women in engineering through events like UTD’s annual “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day”, Design Your World, and Vex Robotics Girl Powered Flagship Workshop. In addition to staying active in the community, she is Co-Chair and Coffee Chat Coordinator for the Women’s Initiative at TI, connecting and collaborating among all functional groups and management levels (up to COO) to develop and positively influence the retention, recruitment, and advancement of women. Within TI, Rebecca is also an active member of the Chinese Initiative.

Outside of Dallas, Rebecca is Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board (CAB) for the UT SWE collegiate section. CAB is a 15-member team consisting of past officers assisting the current UT SWE section to increase and retain the number of women pursuing technical degrees and help prepare them for successful careers. As a professional SWE member, Rebecca enjoys helping others achieve their goals and meeting individuals who have the same passion and energy as she does in advocating for diversity and change.

“Since college, SWE has been a dependable constant wherever I am. This organization has enabled me to find lifelong friends, grow comfortable with a new city, and network with global leaders while still allowing me to have a local impact through outreach opportunities. The benefits of joining SWE are endless, from professional and leadership development to mentoring others. SWE provides us the tools needed to succeed and hit the ground running; all we have to do is take advantage of them!”
~Rebecca Tom


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