Our SWE Webmaster: Shelley Stracener

1. What is your major, school, and profession/career?
I graduated with Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Baylor University in 2005.  Since then I’ve worked in several industries including server data storage, medical devices, and aviation.  I am currently a Senior Electrical Engineer at Heads Up Technologies (Carrollton, TX) where we design and manufacture cabin management systems and lighting for private jets. My day-to-day activities include schematic capture, PCB layout, firmware development, and design verification/validation.   
2. What do you love about your job/major?
I didn’t know I wanted to be an engineer when I went to college.  I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist.  Once I had a year of classes under my belt I realized I wanted to focus more on mathematics and problem solving than biology and chemistry.  I enjoyed the more tangible aspects of electrical engineering over computer science, but the Electrical and Computer Engineering degree option at Baylor gave me a good mix of both hardware and software!  
I love that Heads Up Technologies is a small company that doesn’t outsource design work, so I get lots of opportunities to “get my hands dirty.”  It is extremely fast-paced!. I also frequently interact with our customers under a joint development model where I get to design how our products will fit into the overall system design of an aircraft.  Recently, I got to ride in a few test flights of a Cessna Citation Sovereign with some of our products on board.  It’s really exciting to see something you designed installed in an aircraft where passengers will actually be using it!
3. How has SWE helped you in your career (or how did it help you during your collegiate years)?
I’ve been a SWE member since I took my first engineering class in 2002.  In college, I had neither the time nor money to join a sorority, so SWE helped me feel included in the community of women in the various engineering programs at Baylor.  After college, SWE professional sections have served much the same social purpose for me, especially when moving to a new city.  A vibrant professional section also offers plenty of opportunities to volunteer for outreach events and to develop leadership skills.  Building a network of professionals is vital to career development.  I’ve met so many amazing people through SWE.  I even got my second job through an interview at a national SWE conference! 
4. What are your main responsibilities in Region C?
I’ve been the webmaster for the SWE Dallas professional section since 2012, so when I noticed in early 2014 that the Region C site hadn’t been updated in quite some time and needed a major face-lift, I volunteered to be Region C Webmaster as well.  With input from the Region C leadership team and a lot of time sorting out new content and the Society-provided web hosting scheme, the outdated old website has been replaced by what you see today!  
I want the website to be a resource for section leaders, representatives, and members to easily get the information they need to run SWE business, including leadership team contact info, documents, important dates/events, and historical data.  Additionally, I think the website should serve as a way to connect sections within the Region.  That’s why it’s so important for your section’s information and website to be up to date!  Check out what you sister sections are up to and learn from each other!  The Region C website is also the first impression non-members will get when are looking for more information about SWE as an organization.
A website like this is never really “finished,” so if members think of anything they would like to see on the website, have comments/corrections on what’s already out there, or want information on how to create a website for their own section, please don’t hesitate to contact me at regc-communications@swe.org.
5. Include details about yourself! Hobbies, sports, favorite traveling destinations, anything!
Outside of work, I enjoy riding my recumbent bike, scuba diving, scrapbooking, and reading.  I also love hanging out with my husband and two miniature pinschers!  


Hot Topic: Region C Conference in Houston, TX

This past February was the Region C Conference in Houston, TX. We thank Rice University and the University of Houston for their hard work, the conference was a huge success. The conference offered many opportunities: Spa Night, Company Visits, Career Fair, Volunteering Events, Seminars, and Presentations!


Joint Meeting & Collegiate/Professional Meeting 

Career Fair

Meet & Greet before the banquet


Report #2 Past Due

This is a reminder that the section reports are now past due. Please submit them to the RCRs at region.rcr@gmail.com. Keep in mind that any future funding or reimbursements will depend on timely submittal reports.

For those of you who have submitted the reports, thank you!


Get to Know Your Region Treasurer!


Sara Hough

1. What is your profession? College/degree?

 I am an Automation Engineer.  I work with control systems, instrumentation, and safety systems that run oil platforms, refineries, and chemical plants.  I have a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.  (no, it is not actually a BS, it is a BChE!)
2. What company do you work for? What do you love about your job/major?
I picked Chemical Engineering versus Computer or Electrical Engineering (even though those degrees match as well with what i do) because I had no idea of what I wanted to do when I picked Chemical Engineering as a Junior in high school.  I did understand that ChE was one of the most flexible degrees, and as I tell many students, in some ways, just having an Engineering degree is enough to get your foot in the door.  
When I started looking for a job, I already knew that I didn’t want to be a Process Engineer.  So I told all my interviewers this, but I was willing to work as one as long as I can get to be a Control Systems Engineer eventually.  Some of them kind of laughed at me, some didn’t react, and Shell hired me as a Control Systems Engineer!
I work for Shell in Houston at the Shell Technology Center. I love my job because I get to combine working on technology (computers, wireless, human interface design) with working with people (human factors design, process safety, turning data into information).  I get to set and contribute to strategies for the global community, I am called upon to assist in solving tough problems in all parts of the world, and work with some of the smartest people I have ever known.  
I started working at a manufacturing site where I “cut my teeth” on how things really work (and don’t work!), and just learn how to learn.  You don’t know how to do your job right of school, so having that time in learning the fundamentals was key to the success I have had in my career.  
3. How has SWE helped you in your career (or how did it help you during your collegiate years)?
The Auburn section was re-starting (not by me) when I was in school, so we didn’t really know much around SWE.  I liked the idea of getting women who understood what I was going through to network with.  Then I was sent to an Annual Conference and was completely blown away at the sessions and the opportunities to learn. I also met recruiters from Shell and while I didn’t talk with them long, I applied online afterwards.  The rest of that story, you already know!
So SWE helped me more as a professional member than as collegiate.  I enjoyed giving back in outreach activities, being mentored, being a mentor, and just the company of women engineers.  I realized how important this organization is to me, so I started in greater volunteer responsibilities and then into leadership roles.  Being in leadership positions has helped me clarify how I present myself and obtain by-in.  There is no “stick” in SWE – we are all volunteers and this isn’t anyone’s day job.  This is helped me in my day job in growing those influencing skills.
4. As Region C’s treasurer, what are your main responsibilities?
My main responsibility is to document the finances of the region and advise the Region Council on financial matters.  I am also a resource for the region on financial matters (mostly treasurers call on me).  
Every officer in SWE has the responsibility to spend money given to SWE (whether on a Society, Region, or Section level/budget) to carry out the mission of SWE. So a treasurer should not just be recording money flows – a treasurer should be advising if budget overruns are occuring, or if money is not being spent that is earmarked for a purpose.  SWE is a non-profit – we should be spending our money that comes in, but if a budget is really overrun, that is not sustainable either.  We also cannot go into debt!   
5. Include details about yourself! Hobbies, sports, favorite traveling destinations, anything! 
Outside of work, my favorite hobby is food – cooking, eating, talking about food.  That necessitates exercise, but I am not that keen on anything other than walking or riding my bike! I don’t recommend following that example – keep active.  I had been bellydancing for about seven years, but had to take a break after my back surgery – I am working with a personal trainer to get my strength and flexibility back. I also love working on my garden outdoors (food, herbs, and flowers) and reading.  I travel whenever possible, though work travel usually dominates my travel plans in the last few years.  First trip of the year is back to Louisiana for Mardi Gras!   

Collegiate Director Position OPEN!


The following is a message from Ellen McIsaac:

Recently, the application for the FY15 SWE Collegiate Director position was released.  This is a position that many people are not very familiar with, so I wanted to shed some light on it and share some of my experiences so far from my term as FY14 Collegiate Director. 

What does the Collegiate Director do?

The Collegiate Director serves as a liaison to collegiate leaders, contributes collegiate knowledge and interests to the board, and performs other duties as assigned.  To some extent, the experience of the Collegiate Director depends on the year based on the strategic plan, current bylaws proposals, and other projects and task forces that may exist.  A lot of the experience is consistent from year to year though.  The Collegiate Director participates in several in-person board meetings per year and phone calls during other months.  The Collegiate Director also serves as a member of the Senate, attending senate meetings and participating in Senate calls.  As Collegiate Director, you also get to interact with collegiate members and leaders, and get active on social media including writing a monthly column for All Together and participating in Tweetchats.

Why apply to be Collegiate Director?

Challenge yourself.

I like being the person in the room who knows everything and everyone, and always has all the answers.  I know this is also true of a lot of SWE members – many of us have Type A personalities.  As Collegiate Director, I’ve been surrounded by people with more SWE, engineering, and life experience than me.  I will admit this has put me a little bit outside of my comfort zone, but it has also given me the chance to learn and grow.  I have met lots of new people, gained insights into different companies and industries, and gained skills that I have been able to apply to SWE leadership, my job, and my schoolwork.  

Make a difference.

It’s easy to wonder whether, as a current student or recent graduate, you can really have much to contribute.  But don’t doubt yourself, the answer is a resounding “yes!”  You have a unique perspective to offer.  My experiences have continued to be relevant to many topics throughout the year.  It is also incredibly cool to be involved with the senate and strategic planning – you have the opportunity to shape the future of the Society!

Expand your SWE knowledge

I thought I knew a lot about SWE before becoming Collegiate Director, but I have still had the opportunity to gain a lot of new insight into the Society, its history, and its impact.  As Collegiate Director, you will have the opportunity to meet lots of new people who have unique perspectives on SWE history and engineering history.  Being involved in strategic planning from the top level has allowed me to gain a new appreciation for how the Society works, everything it does, and its vision for the future.  I also did not previously appreciate just how much influence SWE has in the sphere of public policy and on other associations.

Leadership experience

Of course, serving as the Collegiate Director is also a great way to gain leadership experience.  You can continue to develop your SWE leadership competencies, learn new leadership skills from experienced leaders, and start planning where you fit in the leadership pipeline.  I have been able to improve leadership skills that can be directly applied to my daily work, as well as other organizations I am involved in.  My involvement has also gotten me recognition in my workplace.

And much more!

You have a lot to offer to SWE and a lot to gain as the FY15 Collegiate Director, so don’t wait to start your application!  Remember, the deadline to apply is February 12.  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have at collegiate-director@swe.org. 

Best wishes,

Ellen McIsaac
FY14 Collegiate Director