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

Best wishes,

Ellen McIsaac
FY14 Collegiate Director