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Swanson School’s Society of Women Engineers Wins Pitt’s Student Organization of the Month

PITTSBURGH (Dec. 19, 2019) – The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has been named the University of Pittsburgh’s Student Organization of the Month for December. The organization empowers women to achieve their full potential in their careers as engineers and leaders. 

Established in 1970, Pitt’s SWE student section organizes an annual Women in STEM Conference, collaborating with engineering companies to advance students’ professional development, leadership, networking and teamwork skills. A new feature of the event includes Super Saturday – a think tank brainstorming design challenge for local middle school students. Attendees of the Women in STEM Conference are encouraged to volunteer. The organization also offers community outreach programs each semester for students in grades K-12 to encourage them to pursue STEM-related careers. 

A new outreach program for the 2019-2020 school year was SWE++, a ten-week designed curriculum to teach middle school students how to code. Students started with learning Scratch, a beginner’s programming language, then transitioned to Python curricula. 

“The SWE++ program received wonderful reviews and we’re excited to bring the program back for the Fall 2020!” says Eryn McCormick, president of SWE. 

In addition, SWE strives to connect freshman and transfer students to the Swanson School of Engineering through its mentorship program. The introduction of SWE Squads solicited great feedback as groups of new students were paired with upperclassmen based on common interests. The groups allowed underclassmen to receive advice from multiple sources, as well as enhancing their professional network.  

“I’m proud of what the Society of Women Engineers has enabled at the Swanson School,” says Leanne Gilbertson, PhD, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and SWE faculty advisor. “They’re empowering the next generation of women to pursue engineering and inspiring this generation to lead.” 

Membership to SWE is open to anyone interested in supporting female engineers, from freshmen to graduate students, non-engineering majors, and male students. Members have the opportunity to participate in networking opportunities, improve job-searching skills, volunteer in a plethora of outreach events, and participate in mentor-mentee programming. 

Author: Maggie Pavlick

Contact: Maggie Pavlick