CSU SWE members and faculty advisor Terry Comerford accept the Outstanding Collegiate Section Award at the 2016 SWE Annual Conference.
Innovative, influential, intertwined: These are some of the characteristics the CSU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is known for, and they also represent three awards the chapter received from SWE Region i.
Pretty Brilliant, a semester-long program that provides young girls with hands-on design engineering experience, earned CSU SWE the Innovate Award from Region i. The program provided SWE members with the opportunity to interact with and mentor participants, and introduce them to engineering as a discipline.
“We were each able to sit down with one girl and take her through the entire activity, which gave the mentors more of an opportunity to get to know them and talk to them. You don’t always get these opportunities for personal conversations in outreach programs,” said Stephanie Higgins, CSU SWE president.
The CSU chapter also received the Influence Award, Region i’s award for highest membership retention, for having a 78 percent retention rate.
“We went back to the key mission statement for SWE, which included professional development, outreach, and diversity, and prioritized the outreach component of encouraging young women to go into engineering. We also emphasized professional development by establishing the CSU SWE Mentoring Program, which was attractive to older students who appreciate opportunities to connect with industry, learn about industry and job experiences, and engage with potential job opportunities,” said Hannah Mikelson, CSU SWE vice president and coordinator of the CSU SWE Mentoring Program.
The Intertwined Award for joint program of the year also went to CSU SWE and the Rocky Mountain SWE Professional Section.
Positively influencing future women engineers
The three regional awards reflect active member involvement for the CSU chapter. The group also received the Outstanding Collegiate Section Gold Award.
CSU SWE’s faculty advisor, Theresa Comerford, also received the national Outstanding Faculty Advisor award during the organization’s annual conference in October “for all-out commitment to advancing the status, programming, and membership of the Colorado State University SWE section, and for positively influencing the lives of future women engineers.”
“Promoting engineering and seeing young women succeed in the field is my passion, so it was very rewarding to be recognized as a role model. My whole identity revolves around being an engineer, so when other women embrace that as well, it’s very meaningful and fulfilling,” Comerford said.
CSU SWE hosts a variety of events geared toward helping women in the engineering field network with peers and industry representatives and gain professional experience.