Athens, OH 18 November 2019 –
I had the honor and privilege of attending the 2019 Society of Women Engineers National Conference in Los Angeles, California November 6-9, 2019, thanks to the generosity of Cutler Scholars, Ohio University Society of Women Engineers, Russ Vision scholarship, and corporate sponsors including Turner Construction, EASi, Aerotec, Nationwide, Cooper Tire, and Whiting Turner Construction. This was my first time ever attending a Society of Women Engineers conference.
Surrounding myself with ambitious, driven, successful, brilliant, and talented women engineers during the conference was inspiring. On Thursday, the keynote speaker, Carol Malnati of Medtronic, talked about the importance of mentorship and inspiration. She spoke about how when she felt discouraged or frustrated by her struggles and obstacles in the engineering world, she felt empowered by her young daughter, who depended on her, and for whom she wanted to set a positive example. It was wonderful to hear from a successful, executive woman, especially about a time that she felt weak but became resilient.
Additionally, on Wednesday, I had the opportunity to network at the career fair with companies in various industries, including automotive, energy, oil & gas, aerospace, consumer products, and materials science. I was incredibly impressed with the career fair and how welcoming and engaging the recruiters were.
On Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the keynote speaker Rachel Hutter, from Disney. Traditionally, I had never thought about Disney as a company that engineers work for, but it was exciting and surprising to have my mind changed about that! She gave career and life lessons from the Star Wars franchise, which was interesting and unexpected.
I also had the opportunity to attend the Collegiate Women’s Luncheon, where I met other women engineers from U.S. universities. There was also a beneficial Q&A session during the lunch, where women engineers from a variety of industries spoke about their experiences in the workforce. It was so helpful to hear what they had to say about graduate school, making career moves, trying new things, balancing work and life, and finding a best fit in their career.
After the conference wrapped up, I was also able to go to the beach and to explore Downtown Disney in Anaheim with fellow Ohio University Society of Women Engineers members before heading back to Athens, Ohio.
All in all, I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent Ohio University at the Society of Women Engineers conference, and to learn from the perspectives and experiences of professional women in engineering. I hope to continue to attend this conference in the future, as a professional member!