Ambassadors Rock SWE Conference

Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 3:13 PM

"The first EngineerGirl Ambassadors meet in Minneapolis"

Ambassadors Rock SWE Conference

PostedFriday, November 30, 2018 at 9:32 AM

Kate Gramling
Kate Gramling
Ambassadors Rock SWE Conference

The EngineerGirl Ambassadors met for the first time at the largest gathering of women engineers in the world, October 18-20, in Minneapolis, MN. They along with their sponsors came to the Society of Women Engineers Annual Conference to experience the community, gather resources for their projects, and receive leadership training. Working together, they also participated in the Invent It Build It Outreach Expo, providing engineering outreach to local students.

The six girls from around the country — the first EngineerGirl Ambassadors — were selected from dozens of applicants based on their project ideas for getting younger girls in their own communities involved in engineering. We met and got to know each other at a pizza party the afternoon before heading to the conference Ice Cream Social. Ice cream, toppings, music, and thousands of engineers – a recipe for a memorable night!

Thursday started with a bang! The Opening Keynote with Cindy Kent, President and General Manager of the 3M Infection Prevention Division was so packed, we were lucky to get seats. Kent inspired everyone with the shared key lessons that helped her advance in her career.

After the keynote, the Ambassadors spent the day in training with Tania Tauer, Senior Program Manager for Professional Development at Techbridge Girls. We talked about high quality STEM activities, leadership, teaching, and role models. Lunch with engineering mentors gave everyone an opportunity to work on developing their own projects, and a final industry mixer with representatives from Chevron, Oracle, and Caterpillar provided an opportunity to learn about career opportunities and college planning.

A relaxing dinner at a local restaurant was a chance to unwind. We made our way back to the hotel via the Minneapolis Skyway System. All went well except for a few minutes when a security guard accidentally locked us in! We left with a story to tell our friends.

Friday began with a fireside chat with Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President, and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Hewson talked about her life and how she became the most powerful woman in business. She answered questions about leadership and shared her own advice for advancing in a career. We spent the rest of Friday morning working on evaluation and talking about how we can gauge success in an outreach program for girls.

We joined the students from the SWENext High School Leadership Academy for lunch with collegiate mentors and a tour of the SWE career fair. There were lots of giveaways, so we talked with industry representatives and snagged some free stuff. We then attended a special tour of the Medtronic Mountain View facility. We got a peek into some of their amazing new tools to improve health using augmented and virtual reality, 3-D printing, and a 360-degree immersive environment – like a movie theater in full surround!

The last day of conference was a chance to put all our skills to the test at the Invent It Build It Outreach Expo. This is SWE’s outreach program for local middle-school girls. Hundreds of students from around the area came to learn about opportunities in engineering. The Ambassadors planned and ran a Squishy Circuits activity to teach girls about the basics of electricity. The entire atmosphere at the Expo was like a big party with music and balloons!


Ambassadors and their sponsors also got to explore the Outreach Expo and pick up some resources and new activity ideas. After lunch and a chance to debrief, we prepared to head home with many new ideas and resources.