Athens, OH 6 November 2016 –
From October 26th to 29th, I had the privilege of attending WE16, the national conference for the Society of Women Engineers in Philadelphia, PA. We drove two vans to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, and left early Saturday.
I had been to a SWE conference before—the regional conference in Cincinnati last spring—but this was a whole new ballgame. WE16 advertises itself as being the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. It did not disappoint.
At the regional conference last spring, there were sessions to go to about LinkedIn, interviewing, and a few other topics. They were definitely interesting, but the sheer quantity of sessions at the national conference could not even be compared. There were sessions about anything you could possibly want to learn: in one day, I attended a panel about working while raising a family, a talk about presenting research as women in science; a presentation about advocating for diversity; and a session about unconscious bias.
The SWE conference is the kind of event that young women entering engineering dream of: thousands of poised, accomplished, determined women all gather in one place to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and help other women reach the same heights.
On the second day of the conference, I tried my hand at the SWE career fair. The breadth of companies which were represented was impressive—everyone from Google to Honeywell to Merck was in attendance. I was actually selected for interviews by two companies that morning: IBA Proton Therapy and Boston Scientific. Both went really well, and I was so grateful to have been able to speak with companies from the biomedical engineering field.
After the interviews, I had the opportunity to present my research in the WE16 Rapid Fire Undergraduate event. The title of my presentation was, “Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of Inflammation Prevent Saturated Free Fatty Acid-Induced Inflammation Associated with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Human Hepatocytes.”
This particular event was unique because some of the presentations were based on research projects, and some were based on internship experiences. I liked the breadth of topics that were addressed because of this set up: young women presented about everything from Harley Davidson motorcycles to weather patterns across the United States and their impact on heating and cooling bills.
I was so honored to represent my university, and in particular the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, at a national level. The entire national conference was the most amazing experience, and I know that experiences like it can completely change careers for the young women (and men) who are lucky enough to attend it.