Last weekend, twelve Dallas SWE members kicked off Engineers Week by attending the final Region C Conference! Texas A&M University in College Station hosted over 300 collegiates and professionals from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi for a busy weekend of networking, professional development, career coaching, and celebrating the history of SWE Region C!
Friday evening attendees were welcomed at a networking social with prizes for filling in networking bingo cards and performances by A&M’s Aggie Wrangler dance team and the Apotheosis a cappella singing group. Later, the group separated into socials for smaller groups including graduate students and past section presidents and region governors.
Saturday’s activities kicked off with breakfast and keynote speaker Polly Bessel from AT&T who shared perspectives from her long and varied career experiences. Our joint region business meeting was led by Region C Governor Hope Toole Schwalls and the FY17 Region C leadership team, giving updates on SWE governance changes, region finances, K-12 outreach initiatives, SWE Senate updates, SWE branding tips for social media use, and LCC program updates. Then we split up into separate professional / collegiate meetings to discuss further region business.
During the professional Region C Council meeting, the main point of discussion was how to dispense our healthy region finances as SWE governance changes force the dissolution of our current region structure. A proposal was presented to fund an endowed scholarship to be managed by the SWE Finance Committee, with the remainder of region funds being disbursed equally to all professional and collegiate Region C sections and MAL accounts in good standing. Pros / cons to this approach were discussed and several other endowment options were also considered. The Region Council will consider several proposals in the coming months as we have a goal to approve a plan by the end of FY17. If you have suggestions or opinions on this topic, please email us at email@example.com as soon as possible and we will make sure our Section Representatives take your important feedback into consideration before a vote is brought to the Region Council.
After one breakout session hour, attendees enjoyed lunch with SWE Board of Directors member Karen Roth delivering the State of SWE presentation on changes happening within SWE at the national and international level. Special highlights were made on SWE Next, WE Local conferences, and membership growth especially in countries outside the United States. In the afternoon, attendees enjoyed three more breakout session hours, a research poster competition, and the career fair.
Saturday evening culminated in the annual Region C Awards Banquet with keynote speaker Janeen Judah, an A&M Alumna with inspirational words for women engineers at all stages of their education and careers to be proud of our accomplishments and strive for excellence in all circumstances. Lennox was awarded the SWE Region C Sustaining Benefactor Award for their support of Dallas SWE professional development and outreach activities!
As the tradition of over 20 years of Region C Conferences come to a close, we are optimistic about the replacement WE Local Conferences and the opportunities they will bring for networking and sharing SWE lessons learned across geographic regions. In FY18, the closest WE Local conference to us will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the latest information on WE Local conferences, visit SWE’s WE Local website.
Below are some additional photos and insights from Dallas SWE attendees. If you missed this conference, we hope to see you at WE17 in Austin, TX October 26-28! Mark your calendars! The WE17 website will be up soon with housing reservations opening in April and registration opening in May. The conference planning team is in need of volunteers: if you are interested, sign up here or email us for more information!
“As a relatively new grad, my main goal was to hit up a one-on-one coaching session with experienced engineers to talk about my career trajectory and interests. I got some great insight and direction and was really glad this experience was available to me. Another great moment at the conference was realizing that one of the speakers, now a faculty member at Texas A&M, was once a faculty member at Ohio State! She influenced me to join a engineering design team and that led me to Buckeye Current – a major part of my college experience.”
– Kim Concillado, Dallas SWE Social Media Chair
“I loved the Cyclotron tour, it was a truly unique experience. The conference was a great opportunity to meet fellow SWE members and also interact with the Collin College student chapter. I particularly loved the ‘Life Hacks’ session by Shawna Fletcher.”
– Shilpa Nagaraj, Collin College SWE Counselor
“After attending my third Region C Conference, I’m reminded of what an amazing opportunity it has been to network with area professionals, grow personally, and connect with SWE friends, old and new. Though smaller than the Society WE Conferences, Region Conferences provided wonderful sessions for professional development and SWE business. Every conference has had a vastly different feel, but the support, diversity, and sense of community is ever-present, which is why I’m looking forward to attending WE Local in 2018 as part of a new yearly tradition.”
– Zaineb Ahmad, Dallas SWE VP of Membership
“The first Region Conference I attended was ten years ago in College Station, so it was interesting to have the last Region Conference there as well! I’ve made some great memories with SWEsters from our Region over the years and while this last conference was bittersweet, I am confident that we’ll continue to have friends in our surrounding states and make new connections and new memories in WE Local cities starting in FY18!”
– Shelley Stracener, Dallas SWE President
I am sad it was the last Region C conference ever and am so glad I was able to attend. I attended my first Region C conference in 2013 here in Dallas, and every one since then. Texas A&M did a great job of hosting. The entertainment at the Friday night social was fantastic!Hearing about WE17 heightens the anticipation for the conference coming to Austin in October. I appreciated Karen Roth, SWE Director of Professional Excellence, speaking to us about the Society Governance Update and the State of SWE.I liked carpooling because it is a great time to catch up with my Dallas SWEsters and talk about what is happening in the section and beyond.The key take-away for me is around determining the plan for disbursement of Region C finances at the end of FY18. I heard people with lots of different opinions during the professional business meeting. As a section representative, I will want to know what our members think about the options proposed.-Barbara Read, Dallas SWE Section Representative