SWE Helps Bring Women Engineers Together

11/21/2017Members of the Society of Women Engineers pose for a group photo

Having a network of people that have similar career interests is important in life.

For women in the engineering world, that network has historically been lacking. Enter, however, the Society of Women Engineers, an international society with chapters all over the world, including at LSU. Its members represent various aspects and disciplines within the engineering industry, and any woman interested in engineering is welcome and encouraged to join. In fact, those within SWE say it’s a great way to make connections and relationships with those in engineering.

“Make friends in your major. That is the best advice I can give to incoming students,” said Olivia Bradley, a senior in chemical engineering from Baton Rouge.

Bradley added that having friends in one’s major will help an individual to stay focused and not feel alone. Additionally, being a part of SWE gives students access to advice from people with experience in industry who can offer great guidance.

Aida Hendrickson, president of SWE at LSU and a senior in mechanical engineering from New Orleans, said that she became interested in engineering after participating in a science olympiad competition in high school. Contestants built robots, Rube Goldberg machines, and other devices. Afterward, she was encouraged by one of her mentors to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

"Accept the fact that it is going to be hard and don't be afraid to take a class because of the professor teaching it," Hendrickson said.

SWE at LSU recently returned from the organization’s national conference in Austin, Texas. There, members had the chance to network with many companies that normally do not visit LSU’s campus. It also gave them the opportunity to see other women in similar fields and share their passion for what they do together.

In the spring, SWE will host their annual Women Impacting Style in Engineering fashion show. WISE is a networking dinner and style show that teaches girls in engineering how to dress for interviews and various work events.

"It is our signature event, with about 200 girls (participating),” Hendrickson said. “Even some (female students) that are not in engineering sign up to be models.”

"I did it last year and it was so much fun. We had a runway coach and professionals to do our hair and makeup," Bradley said.

For more on SWE, follow it on Facebook (SWE at LSU), Instagram (@swe_lsu), and Twitter (@swe_lsu), or email swe@lsu.edu.