Society of Women Engineers Region E Blog

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April Hot Topic: Tips to Transition Section Leadership

As we reach the end of another successful year, we plan for the new fiscal year and new leadership.  The process of transitioning section leadership is crucial to the success of a section for years to come.  Here are a few tips for successful transitioning:
Special thanks to Region H for some of these helpful tips!

Passing the Torch Meeting

If possible, an in-person meeting between the outgoing and incoming leader is a great way to discuss the duties and tasks needed for the position.  Have the leaders of this year speak to the leaders of the future and share their experiences and suggestions for the position.  Make this a fun meeting and go out for lunch or dinner – pass the torch!  Encourage one-on-ones to communicate effectively.


Whether or not an in-person meeting is possible, it’s important to have electronic documents that detail the information. There is usually a large amount of information to share, so having it available for later reference is useful. These documents will greatly help future officers, who can update them as needed. Here are some documents your section might benefit by utilizing:

  • Officer Reports – contain categories such as Timeline, Summary of Projects, Budget, Inventory, Sample Emails/Documents Prepared, Contact Information, Tips, Ideas for Improvement, etc. If the leadership role involves money, make sure all account information gets properly shared.
  • Event Archives – submitted via an online form within ~1 week of the event by the event planner, it details what the event was about, what went well, and what did not go well. Event archives from the current year should be shared with all officers for the upcoming year. They are also very useful for applying for awards for the section.

Another idea worth looking into is incorporating position binders to understand what each position entails and what has been done.  It is important for the leaders to continue to update the binder as the years go on but provides a holistic view of what has been done.


Don’t wait until the last minute to let new leaders understand what improvements that you wanted to implement for the upcoming year. Ensure that in the transition period that the outgoing officer clearly communicates (and documents) what the current biggest challenges with the role are, what ideas they had but did not have time to implement, and other advice to keep the section continuously improving. New leaders should bounce off ideas with the outgoing officer to understand the feasibility or challenges.


The incoming president and other executive officers need to come together to agree on expectations for the section leaders. These expectations could involve event attendance, office hours, communicating within the officer board, section goals, resources for help, etc. It’s important that these rules and expectations  are clearly communicated.


The new leadership should have opportunities to get to know each other on a personal level, have fun together, and get excited for the next year that they will be working together!

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Section Highlight: Boeing V-22 Tour

On Wednesday, 15 April 2015, SWE sponsored an event with Boeing – featuring members from the Philadelphia, DelMar, and local collegiate sections for a tour of the Boeing V-22 Tour.  All indicated that the tour was very educational and well presented.  From DelMar VP Joan Chinnery, “Looking forward to supporting the 2016 Annual Conference being held in Philadelphia during Boeing’s 100th Anniversary – it’s going to be a great year!”

Boeing V-22 Tour Group Boeing V-22 Tour Presentation

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Region E SWEet Summit

It’s been a successful year with the pilot SWEet Leadership Summits!  The Region appreciates UMBC, UVA, and NJIT for hosting their first SWEet summits and leading them to their success.  The application to host for FY16 SWEets is available now until May 8th – read more about what has been done in the past summits from this year to see if this is something you would like to do for next year!
Questions? E-mail your RCRs, RCCE, or Lt. Gov.

UMBC (September 2014) – from Shelby Coppolino (UMBC Section President)

Our summit started off strong when we asked everyone one simple question: What do you do like a girl?  Just as with the Always initiative, the results were great.  We CODE like a girl.  We LEAD like a girl.  We STRIVE like a girl.  And we are proud.  The attendees loved the opportunity to rethink what it means to do something like a girl and be proud that they too do something #LikeAGirl!

Dr. Maria Sanchez visited us for lunch.  While everyone expected to have the speaker just give a speech, she instead allowed us to talk.  This really got the conversation flowing for talking about our best practices.  Learning from other chapters was extremely helpful and brought forth a lot of inspiration!  Plus, attendees got to bring out their competitive side in short engineering “challenges”, like building the longest cantilever beam out of blocks, making a penny boat, and racing balloon hovercrafts!

Overall the summit was a success!  Everyone enjoyed networking with our peers and we look forward to being a part of another summit next year! Check our more of our pictures here!


NJIT (March 2015) – from Kimberly Lam (NJIT Section President)

Our summit took place during the Spring semester and after the Region E Conference in Philadelphia.  Many of the attendees are fresh to the Region activities and some were newly elected leaders to their section, allowing us to bridge the transition.  We started our summit with a speed networking with all of the attendees as well as a circle discussion on why we joined SWE.  This was followed by the informative Region discussion led by Libby Taylor and Alexis McKittrick, our FY15 Region Lt. Governor and Governor respectively.

Dr. Katia Passerini, Dean of the Albert Dorman Honors College at NJIT, shared with us her perspective on what it means to be a part of the Society of Women Engineers and inspiring all of us to make the most of our potential as women in our field.  Melissa Mastro of the CLCC taught us some great concepts with the Building Teams and Effective Personal Communications modules while also making it very interactive for all of us!

Overall, the summit was a great way for all of us to meet up and share some great ideas for all of us.  Did you know that Stevens hosts a Fondue Night?  Did you know that NYIT Old Westbury 3D prints logos for their outreach?  We all learned from each other and hope to continue the collaboration going forward!  Check out more pictures from our summit here!



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March Hot Topic: Networking

Networking is always considered as one of the most important things to do to be successful – but what does this mean? The definition of networking is “to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position”.  How does one develop such a “network” to help us professionally?  You’ve made the first, and very important step by joining SWE but make the most of your membership as well as the other opportunities around your college campus or workplace!

Conferences: Make business cards or make sure to ask for them after striking up a conversation – don’t be shy to approach people!  Everyone has been in your shoes at some point, especially those in SWE.  They may have been a collegiate looking for opportunities, transitioning into the workplace, ran into challenges that they can advise you on, and more!  Be the one to start that conversation – don’t be afraid to talk to the person sitting next to you.

Events/Workshops: Many events encourage networking between collegiates, alums, and industry professionals whether they may be devoted to networking (speed networking, roundtables) or skill development workshops (tech talks, info sessions).  If what one is talking about interests you, inquire more and don’t be afraid to talk to them after the event and get their contact information to stay connected with them.

Other settings: You never know who you may encounter when getting involved outside of SWE as well!  Attend events with other professional organizations, especially in collaborative events with SWE.  When traveling from place to place, namely to and from conference, you might encounter another person that would be helpful in your network.  When volunteering at outreach or even at conference, make the most of volunteering and some down time by talking to one another.

LinkedIn: It’s important to keep your networking alive and LinkedIn provides an excellent platform to keep connected with the people you meet in a professional setting.  It helps people put a face to a name and cuts the awkwardness that may come when simply reaching out to them via e-mail or phone.  Stay active on your LinkedIn, continue to keep adding new connections that you make, and keep up with the past connections you have made to keep your network alive and thriving!

All in all, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to start a conversation, ask some questions (both professional and conversational), and be an active listener.  It does not hurt to start with a gentle “Hello” and it possibilities are endless.

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February Hot Topic: RCT Elections

“What is the RCT?”, one might ask.  They are your Region Collegiate Team here to support the collegiate sections of our regions.  Region E is proud to be home to the most collegiate sections of any region within SWE!  As we are getting closer to the close of another fiscal year, elections for FY16 are beginning and the nominations are in.  You may have seen their faces briefly at the Region E Conference but here they are again as well as what each position entails.

Stay tuned for updates on how and when to vote in your e-mail for the next RCT some time in March!

Region Collegiate Representative (RCR)

  • Main point of contact for collegiate sections
  • Represent the collegiate voice to the Region leaders
  • Work with the RCT to enhance the Region E collegiate experience

Brittany Wun, Cornell University, 2016

Katherine Miller, University of Pennsylvania, 2016

Region Collegiate Senator (RCS)

  • Serves as collegiate voice for region on the Society level
  • Helps set the direction of the society by working with 2 Professional Senators
  • Works with RCR and RCCE’s to keep the collegiate section’s informed of Society SWE news

Kimberly Lam
Kimberly Lam, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2016

Regional Collegiate Communications Editor (RCCE)

  • Maintains Region Collegiate Blog by working with the RCT
  • Works with Collegiate Sections to get 2 postings/articles a year from each section
  • Work with the RCT to enhance the Region E collegiate experience

Danielle Schroeder, Drexel University

Maissoun Ksara, Drexel University

Collegiate Leadership Coaching Committee (CLCC)

  • Coaches our SWE Leadership to maximize the potential of all of our sections.
  • Serves as a resource for you and your collegiate section.  You can have a CLCC coach come to your section to present a leadership training module.  Some modules are geared specifically towards officers, while others could be used with an entire section, and they can be modified to suit your section’s specific needs.

RCT Graduate Representative

  • Member of Region E Graduate community appointed to provide a graduate voice on our Region E RCT
  • Gauges engagement of graduate members in Region E and seeks opportunities to engage them through RCT Goals
  • We are seeking a successor for Smruti for FY16

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Getting Ready for Life, Liberty, and SWE – Region E Conference 2015

Hope you are as excited and as ready as all of us from Region E for Philadelphia in a little over a week!
For the most up to date details regarding Region E conference please visit

Use #RegionE2015 and #LifeLibertySWE during the conference!

I will be live tweeting during the conference, but you should join us in sharing your story as you discover Life, Liberty, and SWE at this year’s conference!  Make sure you are following us on Twitter @SWERegionE!

Job/Internship Seeker?

The full list of employers at the Career Fair is now available – be sure to read their descriptions prior to attending!
If you’re looking to make the most out of the career fair, make sure you submit your resume to as we will be accepting submissions until February 18th.

Make sure you include in the email:
Collegiates: Name, Major, Year of Graduation
Professionals: Name, Field

Rapid Fire Session – Seeking Judges

We will be hosting Rapid Fire Session for the first time at 2015 Mid-Atlantic Region E conference.  Students pursuing research have been selected through a competitive abstract submission review process will be given 5-7 minute  to present their research work followed by 2-3mins of Q&A session with the presenter.

We are interested in having a diverse audience of professionals from industry and academia participate as judges for the presentations.  No previous experience or background work is needed to be a judge. If you are interested in participating as a judge please contact: Smruti Ragunath (  Judges will listen to the presentation during the session and then fill out a short feedback form that is anonymous.  At the end of the session the student presenters will receive their feedback forms.

Rapid Fire Sessions are a great way to learn about cutting edge research presented in a precise fashion. The session is scheduled for February 21st from 11:00-11:50 am.

Travel safe and see you in Philadelphia!

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Getting Involved with SWE

Within Your SWE Section

Make the most of being a SWE member by becoming a SWE leader.  Whether it’s planning on taking a role within your own section whether that may be Committee Lead, Treasurer, President, take advantage of it!  Elections for FY16 are coming up soon for every section so if you haven’t taken an active role in your section yet, take note.  Start shadowing one of the executive board members to learn more about what it takes to be a SWE leader.  Join committees and get involved!

Outside Your SWE Section – Region & Society

More than just getting involved within your own section, SWE has leaders both in the region and as a society.  Though the application periods for RCT and Region E Governance has passed, there are still opportunities for you to get involved.  On a society level, they are currently looking for FY16 Committee Chairs who will need many committee members such as yourself in committees such as Leadership Coaching, SWE Future Leaders, Outreach, and more!  Keep posted with updates on more information to come.

Read more about Getting Involved Outside Your SWE Section, an excerpt from the Collegiate Welcome Packet.

Get involved with SWE!


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