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Society of Women Engineers: Cool Women, Hot Careers

March 14, 2018

About me

Carolina Binns is a second year student from Buffalo, NY studying Computer and Electrical Engineering with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In addition to being an Event Coordinator for the Society of Women in Engineering, Carolina is a member of IEEE, Roxbury Robotics, SGA, and the Phi Omega chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi. Off campus, she enjoys hiking, travelling, and reading.  

Society of Women Engineers: Cool Women, Hot Careers 

On the morning of Saturday, February 17th, the Raytheon Amphitheater filled with excitement and curiosity as high school girls and their parents filed in for SWE’s annual Cool Women, Hot Careers event. This year, we welcomed 42 students and 55 parents for a day dedicated to exploring majors and careers in the STEM field.

The day began with an introduction to Engineering, presented by Rachelle Reisberg, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Mgmt & Retention; and Director of Women in Engineering. This presentation set the tone for the day, giving the girls insight on each type of engineering - what engineers learn about and what they apply their knowledge to. Then, the students and their parents had the opportunity to have all of their engineering questions answered by a panel of SWE members from all engineering backgrounds. The panel included students from the Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Bio, Electrical, and Computer Engineering departments. The panel is usually a new experience for the students, because they get to hear from a students point of view, someone who has been in their position before. One student commented that the panel “made me excited about engineering in a way I never have been before.”

For lunch, the families were broken up into small groups, and headed over to International Village to have lunch with a SWE volunteer. Every year, lunch becomes one of the best parts of the day, for the students, parents, and volunteers alike. Having lunch in small groups allows the students to really connect with an engineering student, and hear about engineering at Northeastern from a student’s point of view. At lunch, the students have the opportunity to make the day more personal, by asking their host about whatever they are most curious about. Lunch conversations ranged from what it is like to be a woman engineer, to life at Northeastern, to advice about how to get the most out of the college search. 

Following lunch, the students participated in two activities, to provide a more hands-on interaction with engineering principles. First, they saw and participated in a demo of the shake table in one of Northeastern’s Civil Engineering labs. The shake table is used to simulate earthquakes, so structures can be better designed to withstand their effects. This demo is a fun way for students to connect with engineering, because the presentation concludes with the opportunity to stand on the shake table and feel the simulated earthquake. Then, SWE’s STEM Outreach Coordinator, Sanjana Alex, led an Industrial Engineering inspired activity, where students put their design process to the test to sort candy efficiently. To wrap up the day, participants had the opportunity to go on a campus tour led by SWE’s Assistant Treasurer, Erin Dooley. 

All in all, the day was a huge success, thanks to the multitude of SWE volunteers, and the enthusiasm of all the students who attended. As one of SWE’s Event Coordinators, it was truly inspiring for me to watch the day unfold after much planning and anticipation. Empowering other women to pursue careers in STEM fields is so important to all of us in SWE, so it was amazing to receive positive feedback from the students and parents who attended. One parent summed up the day perfectly for everyone involved: “It was a great day. We left full of energy and new ideas.”

March 14, 2018 10:45 am