Post WE16 To Do’s

I hope all of you collegiates were able to catch up on your schoolwork since then end of WE16 over a week ago. Even though conference is over, there are still some things you should be doing to make the most of your WE16 experience. I have compiled a list of tasks to help you take advantage of the large number of resources you gathered while at conference.

  1. Think about those goals that you brainstormed before heading to conference.

Creating an action list and a takeaway list will help ensure that all your conference goals were reached. An action list will put you on track to keep any promises you made during the conference and a takeaway list should help you put what you learned into practice.

  1. Share what you learned with others.

Share any knowledge that you took away from the conference with SWE members who were not able to attend. Whether you learned a solution to an officer problem or a piece of advice that you think would help friends grow personally or professionally, I encourage you to spread your knowledge.

  1. Compile your session notes.

This will make it easier for you to share information with others. It will also make it easier for you to find your notes useful when you look back on them at a later date.

  1. Remember all those business cards you picked up … use them.

Email the contacts you made to follow up or to simply say that it was nice to meet them. Make your message personalized by mentioning something related to the conversation you had. You never know where a connection may take you.

  1. Keep in touch with you new friends.

Did you hit it off with SWEesters from around the world? Don’t wait till the next conference to talk to them again! Connect with them on social media so you can ask them questions or share funny anecdotes from your life; I’m sure they will love to hear from you.

  1. Fill out post-conference surveys.

People work very hard to put on these huge conferences. Letting them know what you liked and what can be improved help ensure your experience next year will be even better.

  1. Send thank you notes to those who helped send you to conference.

Send a thank you letter or email to your university, company, or anyone who helped you fundraise. Including a few things that you learned will let them know that it was worth their effort and money to send you.

I hope that you all gained so much from WE16 that you are now planning to do it all over again at WE17 in Austin, TX next year!

Intern Insight: Jennifer Watters

My name is Jennifer Watters and I am a sophomore in chemical engineering at Lamar University.  This fall I am interning with ExxonMobil Chemical Company in Beaumont.  Even though I have only been working for a month, I have learned more acronyms, software systems, and concepts than I expected to in my entire term.  Going into an internship with thermodynamics as the only engineering course under your belt is intimidating to say the least.  Thankfully, no one expects you to know all of the answers.  One of my favorite things about my co-op is the freedom I have to ask questions.  My big piece of advice: don’t be afraid to ask questions.  As a co-op, you are essentially being paid to learn, so take advantage of it!  My coworkers have been so incredibly helpful and willing to spend the time necessary to ensure I understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

A typical day for me consists of working on my projects, updating my projects sponsors, and attending safety meetings.  But without a doubt, field walks are the highlight of my week.  While it looks like a jumble of pipes and towers at first glance, once you understand what goes on inside, it’s hard not to get excited about the beauty of engineering  (I’m geeking out just typing about it).  The most surprising aspect of my co-op so far has been the safety culture and recognizing how it has affected me outside the work environment.  Industrial facilities place a huge emphasis on safety, and Exxon is certainly no exception.  I find myself using handrails to walk up two steps or honking before I back-up at the dorms.  It gives you a new perspective on your day-to-day activities.
My last piece of advice: enjoy your time as a co-op.  It goes by more quickly than you realize.  At some point, you have to go back and actually finish your degree (homework, ugh).  But have fun, make great friends, and learn a lot.  Best of luck to you all!watters

Getting the most out of WE16

WE16 starts in THREE days! Hopefully you were already aware of this, but if you are like me, you may have let conference sneak up on you! Don’t worry if you haven’t done much prepping for the event yet, I’ve got some tips to help you make the most of your time during your two or three days in Philadelphia.

  1. Define your personal and professional goals for conference.

Knowing what you want to get out of the conference helps you know who to network with and what questions to

  1. Download the WE16 app, “Explore WE16”.

Use the app, as well as the website, to find events and companies that interest you. Trust me, its handy.

  1. Attend as many events as you can!

My favorite conference activity is the Hospitality Suites on Thursday evening. They are a great way to network and learn, eat some awesome food, and get some cool freebies. Actually, these reasons to attend can be applied to almost any event at WE16.

  1. Map out what you want to do while at conference.

Decide which sessions you want to attend, companies or people you want to talk to, tours you want to take, or anything else you plan on doing in Philadelphia. This will help you prioritize the events you want to attend during these busy few days.

  1. Help a friend out and split up the work.

Go to a different session than a friend so that you can share notes and learn from each other’s sessions. It’s almost like being in two places at once!

  1. Wear business clothes that are professional, but most importantly comfortable.

Business casual clothes are suitable for most events at WE16, but if you are in search for a job I would suggest dressing more business. The most important recommendation I have for you though, is to wear comfortable shoes! You will be walking a lot while at conference.

  1. Attend both technical and non-technical sessions.

Depending on what skills you are trying to develop, you may want to attend more of one type of session.

  1. Upload your resume to and research companies that will be at the career fair.

If you are on the hunt for an internship or a full-time job, this is a must. I have already had some companies contact me just because they have seen my resume on SWEs career website. Also, I recommend going to booths of companies you are most interested in first so that you have a chance of getting an interview with them before their slots fill up.

This list above is definitely not exhaustive. You can listen to four, free webinars in the Advanced Learning Center on the SWE website for more information. Go to Webinar Recordings and then Career Management & Life Transitions. There will be four WE16 webinars under this tab:we16_tagline

  1. WE16 Orientation
  2. WE16 Career Fair Savvy
  3. WE16 Networking for Newbies
  4. WE16 What not to wear – SWE Conference Edition

I hope that my list gave you somewhere to start when preparing and thinking about WE16. In addition to being a great networking and career building opportunity, conference is also a lot of fun, so get excited!

University of Houston Outstanding Member: Mariana De Freitas

Mariana De Freitas is an active member in the Society of Women Engineers. She’s a junior getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering. Mariana is part of the Society of Petroleum Engineers as well as the Outreach Committee for SWE. Mariana got involved with SWE during her first year as a transfer student in Fall 2014.Outside of school Mariana enjoys dancing, traveling, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.thumbnail_mariana

Intern Insight: Karina Padilla

My name is Karina Padilla, and I just started my senior year at the University of Houston as a mechanical engineering student. This past summer, I interned with General Electric (GE) Power in Schenectady, New York as a mechanical design intern. This was my second internship with GE; I worked for their Water and Process Technologies division as a manufacturing intern in Summer 2015. Throughout both of these internships, I gained valuable skills all while making life long friends.  

thumbnail_karinaAt GE Power, I worked with the generator engineering team, and my projects encompassed almost every aspect in the design process – design, testing, and cost analysis. Through my design project, I was granted the opportunity to apply for a patent. I had to present my design to senior engineers and patent lawyers to be considered. Thankfully, it was approved by GE, and I have been working continuously with the lawyers since then in order to create the application that will be submitted to the US Patent and Trading Office.

My favorite part of my internship was creating relationships with coworkers and other fellow interns! Everyone was very welcoming and always willing to help. Furthermore, my advice to everyone is to not be afraid to speak up and ask questions. I was hesitant to show my peers the design I created with the fear of being rejected, but it all turned out greater than I expected! If I wouldn’t have faced my fears, I would have never gotten approved to apply for a patent.

Intern Insight: Aida Hendrickson

internMy name is Aida Hendrickson, and I am a junior in Mechanical Engineering and treasurer of SWE at Louisiana State University (LSU). I spent this past summer working for Entergy, a company that provides power to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, at the Arkansas Nuclear One nuclear power plant in Russellville, Arkansas. I worked in the Support group of the System Engineering department. This means that I was working with engineers who are responsible for various plant system groups such as Air and Motor Operated Valves, Heat Exchangers, Ventilation, and my favorite: Diesel Generators. Perhaps I am biased to the Emergency Diesel Generators (EDGs) because that’s what I spent the most time on.

I spent the first two weeks of my internship training to hold access to the plant. Because I was working in a nuclear plant, there were many “Computer Based Training” modules I had to complete to fully understand the importance of safety as well as general plant processes. This did become monotonous, but very necessary. After I got my security badge, I was able to go into the plant. The first time going through security, I gave all of the guards a chuckle when I involuntarily let out a shriek when the air puffers blew on me. By the end of the summer, I was somewhat used to the airport-like security.

untitledMy day-to-day activities would vary depending on how busy the systems engineers were. If they were going into the plant to “walk down” their system, they would let me tag along. I kept my steel toed boots and thick socks (a must for work boots, trust me – I found mine in the men’s department) in my cubicle drawer along with my hard hat and other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) so I was ready to go at any time. The EDGs were undergoing some maintenance this summer, so I was able to see those the most. I even got to see them run – which was awesome! Imagine a truck engine …except the size of a room!

My main project this summer was creating a database of Preventative Maintenance (PM) that was done on the diesel generators in Excel. I linked the PM to each component that it was completed on and then linked that to the technical drawings of the diesels. Along the way, I had many questions about how the diesels worked and why certain maintenance was done on them. At first, I was shy and did not want to bother the engineers. However, I had to keep reminding myself: “You are only here for three months! You have to get as much information from these experienced people as you can before you go back to school.” The other engineers were glad to answer any questions I had and even shared stories of their past experiences. I believe I was able to get the most out of my internship by asking questions and pushing myself to ask for more – like asking to stay late to see a troubleshooting process or participating in a Failure Analysis study.

University of Arkansas Outstanding Member: Isabelle Pumford

pic Isabelle is a senior electrical engineering student at the University of Arkansas. Her previous experiences include an internship after her freshman year at the VA Center for Prosthetic Engineering in Seattle, WA where she designed an assistive walking device for patients with osteoarthritis in their knees. After her sophomore year, Isabelle went to EPFL (Swiss Tech University) where she was a part of the Summer@EPFL program through the school of Computer Science and Communication Technology and worked to develop algorithms to find evolutionary connections between DNA sequences. This past summer she worked as a developer for Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Conway, Arkansas. She hopes to return to Europe to continue her studies with a masters in Communication Systems.

Isabelle was the Outreach Chair for the FY2016 Region C Conference hosted in Northwest Arkansas where she planned a “squishy circuits” activity for young students in the area.  She is now the Conference Planning Chair of the section and has arranged the funding for section sponsored members to attend the National and Regional conferences this year.  Through her role, the section is funding thirteen members who have received registration and will be receiving partial airfare reimbursements to attend the SWE Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Twelve of those members are also receiving free room nights while at the conference. Isabelle provides a great perspective to the section from her experiences, is highly motivated, and is always willing to help out.