Society of Women Engineers Region E Blog

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Getting to Know You: SWEFL

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Thanks for tuning into the latest edition of the “Getting to Know You” column! This monthly series features one of Region E’s FY14 leaders so you have a chance to “meet” her, hear about her SWE career path, and learn a fun fact or two by the end!


Region E’s 2013-2014 SWEFLs (CW, from top left): Smruti, Samantha, Meaghan, Sasha, Shelby (front and center), and Genevieve.

This month, you’ll hear from more than just one of our FY14 leaders: we’ve got 6 of our SWEFLs on deck! Meet Meaghan Paulosky (Drexel University), Samantha Schneider (Drexel University), Smruti Ragunath (New Jersey Institute of Technology), Shelby Coppolino (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), Genevieve D’Antonio (James Madison University), and Sasha McIntosh (Columbia University).

1) When did you begin your SWE career?

MP: The end of my sophomore year as Drexel’s Newsletter Chair.
SR: Spring 2012.
SS: I joined Drexel and society-level SWE my freshman year of college.
SC: Fall 2011 is when I started attending my chapter’s meetings. By Spring 2012, I was already voted in as Treasurer.
GD: I joined SWE when I was a freshman at James Madison University. I wanted to get more involved in my department and I wanted to become an exec member at that time because the SWE section at JMU was just starting. I was able to help form JMU SWE from the very beginning.
SM: I first became a member of SWE when our section held the Region E conference.

2) Explain a little bit about your current SWE position(s).

GD: I just got elected as SWE President for the JMU section for 2014-2015! This past year I was Vice-President of our section and in the past I was head of the Outreach Committee. I am a SWEFL (SWE Future Leader), which has given me the opportunity to get involved in my region and get to know other SWE leaders.
MP: I participated on the RCT this year as a SWEFL, which led to my position as Publications Chair for the RCPC. I greatly enjoyed both as they were an introduction to leadership outside of my own section; however, this was a particularly exciting year because I am also the Drexel SWE president. I am less than halfway through my term and working with 21 other dedicated officers to grow our section in preparation of hosting the 2015 Region E Conference.
SM: Currently I’m the outgoing President of our section and incoming Secretary of our section.
SC: I am currently the VP of the UMBC chapter and a SWEFL. Before I became VP, I was the Treasurer.
SS: I am currently the Vice President of our section. Our section leaders include President, Vice President, nine directors (Professional Development, Wellness, Conference, Secretary, Treasurer, Networking, Outreach, Membership, and Public Relations), and chair positions (1-3 chairs assist each director).
SR: I am the president of Graduate board SWE at NJIT for the academic year 2013-2014 as well as member of WE13 & WE 14 graduate planning committee.

3) What does SWE mean to you?

SC: Everything. SWE represents what I stand for. I love being a woman in engineering and supporting others achieve their career goals.
SM: SWE is a huge part of my collegiate experience. For me, SWE is a place where an amazing group of women come together to promote, encourage and support women in engineering.
SS: SWE is a diverse group of women (and men) in the engineering field that support each other. The friends that I have made in my section have encourage me to aim high and achieve my goals.
MP: SWE means recognizing what uniquely drives you and celebrating it so that other women can do the same for themselves.
GD: SWE is such an amazing society and it has given me so many opportunities to network, gain leadership and communication skills, and obtain advice for helping better the JMU SWE section.
SR: A platform for aspiring women to progress as leaders in their chosen field of their choice.

4) What advice would you give to people just starting their SWE careers?

SM: Go big! It may seem daunting to jump into a leadership position right away, but give a try! You’ll become very close with the people in your section quickly and you’ll learn so much.
SR: Make good use of the opportunity and make the best out of it.
GD: I would tell them to get involved early on in their section and regionally. It can seem intimidating and overwhelming but everyone in SWE is so helpful and they will help you to succeed.
SC: It is okay to be different; it is okay to stand out! People don’t listen to your ideas? Say them louder. Let your voice be heard.
MP: Don’t be afraid to say yes. When I first joined SWE three years ago, I was unsure about what I had to offer and let it limit my involvement. My new SWE friends encouraged me to host events and take on responsibility. Despite my nerves, I started saying yes and got involved with every board position Drexel SWE has. I learned new skills, made new friendships, and achieved new goals along the way.
SS: Whether you are at a section event or society conference, get to know as many people as possible! You will learn a lot and expand your network, which could be beneficial when you are looking for a job or making an important decision.

5) What is the first thing you notice about a person?

SS: A smile! Always try to have a positive attitude 🙂
SM: The first thing I notice about someone is their confidence and presence.
MP: Their posture. When people get excited or feel good about what they’re talking about, I’ve noticed they tend to straighten their posture to show strength and poise. I try to use this to gauge who is actually passionate about their work or who needs help identifying their source of confidence.
GD: The first thing I notice about someone is their personality.
SR: Aspiration in life, positive attitude and approach towards their set goals.
SC: Whether or not they are talkative.

6) If money was no object, what would you be doing right now?

SR: Serving humanity to my heart’s fullest.
GD: If money was no object, I wouldn’t go to college. I would try to learn as much as I can in the engineering field by using hands on experiences by working on projects around the world and by using the experiences to help to make a difference!
SS: Traveling- there are so many places I want to see!
SM: If money was no object, I’d probably be studying abroad in Europe somewhere.
MP: Launching my own biotech start-up.
SC: Exactly what I am doing now! (If you don’t love what you do, why do it?) Plus a building a few more robots and a few more shopping trips…

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