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You may have seen our blog posts or heard from a friend about WE17 in Austin. If you’re considering attending this Society of Women Engineers Conference this year, read on to learn more and we hope to see you in Austin in October!

What is a WE Conference and why should I attend?

We’re glad you asked! WE Conferences are Society-wide conferences where women engineers and advocates gather from across the globe to meet, present on technical, industry, academic, K-12 outreach, leadership, and professional development topics, conduct SWE business, host a career fair with over 300 exhibitors, and celebrate accomplishments of the past fiscal year through awards and recognition of individuals and groups. The number in the conference name denotes the calendar year in which it takes place. WE conferences have grown significantly in past years and last year’s in Philadelphia, PA boasted over 12,000 attendees! Check out some videos from WE16 attendees here and our  WE16 in Philadelphia recap post from last year to see why  SWE conferences are so awesome!

It’s three full days of inspiration, fun, and excitement, and attendees report returning home recharged and motivated to take charge of their careers, lead with confidence, and be positive forces for women in engineering in their own organizations. If you’ve never attended a Society of Women Engineers Conference, this year is a great time to experience it close to home! If you’re sold and want to attend the conference, visit the event website to register and secure your hotel room reservation today!

How much does it cost?

We won’t lie, any venue large enough to house and support tens of thousands of attendees is not cheap. Professional member registration runs $460-$565 and hotel rooms are $200-300 per night. However, the fact that it’s just down I-35 this year, within driving distance of Dallas, presents an opportunity for significant savings sans airfare. Here are some other ways you can offset the cost of attendance:

  • Register early! Early bird discounts run through September 25, 2017. Also check out the discounts for retired, unemployed, and STEM re-entry professionals.
  • Volunteer: 4 hours of volunteer service as a conference helper will save you 50% on registration. Spots are limited, so if you’re interested in this opportunity, apply ASAP.
  • Ask for your employer to sponsor all or part of your trip as professional development training. If your company will have a Career Fair booth at WE17, they may be willing to reimburse your costs in exchange for a few hours evaluating resumes or interviewing candidates. WE conferences also offer CEU sessions so if you need credit hours as a part of your job training, check out those options during registration.
  • Carpool and share a room with a friend: see the Travel Coordination section below!

Special Events

We often get questions about a few optional special events during conference which involve additional cost. Read below for information to help you decide whether to attend: keep in mind that these events sell out, so register quickly to reserve your spot.

  • Thursday morning Keynote Breakfast: This is the big opening session of the conference with several thousand attendees in one large ballroom. It is usually sponsored by one or more SWE Corporate Partnership Council member companies and includes a dynamic and inspirational guest speaker. The breakfast is sit-down and catered, usually continental, at tables of 8-10 people each. Meet someone new and enjoy an great program! If there is enough interest, the venue may support satellite overflow rooms with the program streamed over an AV system and breakfast served to attendees there.
  • Industry and City Tours: Each WE conference features opportunities for you to visit nearby engineering companies and enjoy some local flair! These tours do sell out quickly so make sure to reserve them ASAP during your registration, or volunteer to be a tour guide to enjoy the tour and get a discount on your registration!
  • Friday evening Award Banquet: This is the “Academy Awards of SWE;” a celebration of SWE individual award winners, corporate benefactors, seasoned professionals, and steadfast SWE advocates. It is mostly geared towards professionals, but collegiates will also enjoy seeing the accomplishments that a lifetime of engineering, service, and SWE contributions can bring. The evening will feature several award-winning guest speakers with the keynote address given by this year’s SWE Achievement Award recipient (TBA). The dress code is formal (cocktail / floor-length dress or dressy suit) with a three-course dinner served at tables of 8-10 people in a large ballroom.
  • Saturday evening Celebrate SWE Banquet: This is an event geared more towards collegiate and SWE section / group celebrations! We anticipate the new SWE Mission Awards will be presented at this large session: Dallas SWE has applied for several. The evening will feature several guest speakers with a keynote address. The dress code is semi-formal (cocktail dress or dressy suit) with a three-course dinner served at tables of 8-10 people in a large ballroom.

Dallas SWE Travel Coordinationcarpool

Our leadership team often carpools and shares hotel rooms to save on travel costs, especially if we’re paying our own way. If you’d like to participate as well, fill out our WE17 Coordination Survey and we’ll try our best to connect anyone who wants to carpool or share accommodations! Don’t forget to select whether you’d like to be included in our GroupMe app communications before and during the conference! Email us at  dallas.swe@gmail.com if you have questions. We can’t wait to see you there!

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