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WE17 was another record-breaking SWE conference with over 14,500 registrants in attendace Oct 26-28. Twenty-one Dallas SWE members attended WE17 in Austin this October! Many attended for SWE business meetings, some to find a new job or recruit at the career fair, some to present their best practices and lessons learned to attendees, and for others this was their first introduction to any SWE conference event! Career Fair companies from our area included TI, Schneider Electric, ExxonMobile, Abbott, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, Emerson, and AT&T.

Presenters from Dallas SWE included:

  • Uche Maple, Rockwell Collins – Epic Careers in Systems Engineering
  • Stephanie Watts Butler, Ph.D, Texas Instruments – Stand Out! How to Pitch Yourself & Own the Career Fair
  • Nandika D’Souza, Ph.D, University of North Texas – Insights on Getting Research Funded
  • Susanna Biancheri, At&T – What is the Internet of Things…and how will it change my life?

SWE Governance Changes

You may have seen social media posts announcing some important votes that took place on Saturday in our SWE Senate. The motions proposed to make changes to our SWE governance structure (including dissolving SWE Regions, new Senate selection process, the addition of a new special senator) ALL PASSED. Dallas SWE member Kate Van Dellen, one of our Region C Senators, was instrumental in providing our feedback to the Senate and working with other SWE leaders in support of these changes. If you have questions about how these changes affect you or your SWE leadership options, please email us at dallas.swe@gmail.com or visit the SWE Governance website for more details.


Several Dallas SWE members received awards at WE17. Lynn Mortensen, long-time Dallas SWE Scholarship Committee Chair and Design Your World Volunteer Coordinator, received a SWE Spark Award for exceptional advocacy of women in engineering that not only informs the heart of her successful career, but continues to grow steadily stronger in retirement through SWE and through service to the community. Read more about her contributions in her SWE Magazine profile.

Shelley Stracener, FY18 Dallas SWE Section President, received the SWE Region C Distinguished Service Award for her 15 years of volunteer leadership and mentoring in two SWE professional sections, Region C, and on the SWE Magazine Editorial Board.

Saumya Rawat, a Dallas area high school student, was also recognized at the WE17 Award Banquet as a SWENext Global Innovator for her involvement as her robotic’s team outreach coordinator, creating programs for underrepresented students to introduce them to robotics technology. View the SWENext Global Innovator winner videos here.

Our Dallas SWE section won four SWE Mission Awards at the WE17 Celebrate SWE banquet. This was an entirely new award criteria structure and submission form so we’re very proud that we were able to navigate those challenges and achieve this level of success quite proud to be recognized in the following areas:

  • SWE Mission Award Gold-Professional – This is the highest overall award level for the new SWE Mission Award structure and recognizes our section’s commitment to SWE‘s Core Values and Strategic Goals based on results from our activities across 10 categories.
  • SWE Mission Best Practice – Global – This is a category-specific award for our section’s features in SWE‘s global publications (SWE Magazine and All Together Blog) for our DYW Parent & Educator program, partnerships with other SWE sections, and multicultural engagement with NSBE and SHPE. Supporting activities included our enthusiastic sharing of SWEsocial media posts, and our section members’ SWE leadership involvement at every level of the Society (section, collegiate section faculty advisors / counselors, region senators, Society committees).
  • SWE Mission Best Practice – SWE Resource Promotion – This is a category-specific award for our sharing of SWENext promotional materials, SWE “Future Engineer” buttons, and our engagement with a local Girl Scout / SWENext pilot program. Supporting activities included website recaps of Dallas SWE‘s participation in Society Conference and Region C Conference, the exceptional number of SWE Outreach Metric Tool entries fro our section members (27!), and sharing of SWEsocial media posts / resources.
  • SWE Mission Best Practice – Public Policy – This is a category-specific award recognizing our members’ attendance at Congressional Visit Day and SETWG, a Girl Build Event at the Arlington Public Library, and numerous Dallas SWE member visits at local public school career days and speaker events. Supporting activities included our close engagement with local ISDs and our extensive reach through DYW’s mailing lists and social media footprint.

Invent It, Build It

Several of our members volunteered at Invent It, Build It, SWE’s signature outreach event during WE17! Students participated in STEM activities with SWE members, while parents and educators learned about engineering careers, scholarships, and resources to help their students stay interested in STEM.

Personal Reflections from Attendees

“The breakfast keynote reminded me to jump in and get uncomfortable. It was reassuring that taking a calculated risk and not listening to “queeze” feeling is not only okay, but encouraged. I worked with the Small Business and Entrepreneurs Affinity groups, and we are working on having more input to conference programming in the future. Anyone interested in joining can look us up on facebook. From the Senate prospective, it was valuable to meet with so many people one-on-one to ensure I’m speaking for my constituents as well as helping communicate governance changes. HQ will be rolling out a ticket system in the Spring/Summer to track email responses.”
~Kate Van Dellen, SWE Region C Senator

“This conference was special; it was the first time I went with my daughter, a woman engineering student. For various reasons women will think a SWE conference is not something they have time for due to parent, child caregiver responsibilities. I brought my daughter up in Dallas SWE, doing outreach Girl Scout awards, gaining from the mutual support women engineers give each other. I have returned refreshed, working on strategy for others and myself to realize potential.”
~Nandika D’Souza

“SWE conferences are always a time for me to recharge and refocus my personal and professional priorities. I really enjoy spending time with old SWE friends and making new ones through the multitude of networking opportunities and professional development sessions. Seeing SWE history in the making with the Senate votes at WE17 was very cool. You really haven’t fully experienced SWE if you haven’t attended a conference, so make plans to join us at a future event!”
~Shelley Stracener, Dallas SWE President

“This is my second time at the Society conference and I found it inspirational and educational. I loved meeting fellow engineers in my field and discuss challenges, best practices, trends and technologies. The GE AviationTour introduced me to data analytics in aviation. I liked all the sessions WE17 offered, some of my favorites were “Internet of Things” by Susanna Biancheri and “The Case of Two Gigs” by Urvashi Tyagi and Anuradha Gali. Moderating the lightening talks was a great volunteering opportunity for me as well. Overall WE17 was an amazing conference.”
~Shilpa Nagaraj, Collin College SWE Counselor

“The Ice Cream Social and Headshot Lounge were GREAT,  turnout for the Lightning Talks and exhibitors was impressive. The Convention Center venue was great and Austin was a WONDERFUL host city! Once again, attending was a wonderful way to reconnect with former SWE colleagues from across the country.  I’ve been a member since 1981, and it was so nice to spend time with both old and new SWE friends!”
~Susanna Biancheri

“I always leave the conference so energized and excited about the contributions of women engineers. Attending the awards dinner to celebrate our Dallas SWE winner, Lynn, was very inspiring and leaves me encouraged to reach out to both men and women to continue striving for equality in STEM. Seeing the conference sell out this year is a testament to the need for this great organization.”
~Amber Scheurer, Dallas SWE Secretary

“I had an amazing experience at WE 17. The career fair and all the networking events were awesome. The career fair prep webinars at the SWE learning center really helped me to get the most of out the fair. There were so many excellent talks on various topics and my favorite is “How to have a real conversation about career development” by the UTC team.”
~Sween ButlerAs a SWE newbie and first-time conference attendee, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I attended the conference in Austin. My goals were more personal than professional. I wanted to get out of my shell, meet new engineers and make new friends. Those goals were definitely accomplished! I found “my people/my homies” at this conference. For me, the conference was inspirational and humbling. The speakers were smart, professional, goal-driven, and confident. I relished in this world where female engineers outnumbered male engineers, if just for a few days.  It was a time for reflecting on where I am in my career and where I want to be. On whether I am being used to the best of my potential and whether I am owning my future or letting it be dictated for me. The conference was a great experience and I hope to attend again in the future. Thanks for such a warm welcome to the SWE family!”
~Nicole Hughes

“WE 17 was amazing event. I love going to the sessions that are held because I always learn something new that will help me personally and professionally. My key takeaways are to never give up on yourself, continue to learn and always sit at the table.  My favorite session was “Thriving in a male Dominated Environment”. I had a great time and am looking forward to next year.”
~Uche Maple, Dallas SWE Executive Vice President

Photo Gallery

Here are a few photos from WE17. You can view more photos at our Facebook album here. SWE has also uploaded professional photos to a Flickr Album.

If you weren’t able to join us for WE17, save the date for these two upcoming conference opportunities to meet other SWEsters face-to-face.

  • Replacing Region Conferences, the closest WE Local event to us is in Tulsa, OK January 26-28, 2018. Registration is slated to open this week: visit the WE Local Tulsa event website for details.
  • The next Society Conference is WE18 in Minneapolis, MN October 18-20, 2018. Mark your calendars and plan to join us!

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