Marquette Society of Women Engineers makes plans for the coming semester – Marquette Wire
At a recent leadership meeting, organizers from the Marquette Society of Women Engineers discussed the importance of female representation in male-dominated fields when planning future events this semester.
Marquette Society of Women Engineers is a service organization that has been in existence for over 71 years, striving to help women improve their academic and leadership skills. The newly elected leaders described the SWE Group’s many projects 2021-2022, which included both educational and social events.
SWE’s board of directors is made up of Katie McGrath, Gabby Chun, Kelsey Hughes, Guadalupe Domingues, Davina Lettau, Marissa Dauner, Gretchen Geiser and Sarah Ernst.
SWE received 29 applications from new students this year, excluding those who wanted to participate through Microsoft Teams. The group plans to attend an international conference in Indianapolis this semester. Members have high hopes for this event. By participating, they hope members will discover what it’s like to be in the business world.
Another program managed by SWE is the Mentorship Program, which many officers described as a powerful participatory event.
The program consists of groupings of students in subclass and upper class student and professional mentors. Gretchen Geiser, senior at the College of Engineering, explained what the mentorship program is and why it benefits members.
âThe goal is for students to get advice from mentors and find advice,â Geiser said. âThe students really appreciate this and look forward to meeting their mentors on a regular basis. “
As for the social side of the organization, SWE has plenty of events coming up this year, including movie nights, pumpkin carving, social ice cream, and spa nights.
Katie McGrath, social director of SWE and senior at the College of Engineering, described the importance of social events beyond the educational aspects of the club.
âIt’s a great place to be,â McGrath said. âWe always say you have your best friends built in. These are very difficult majors that we are in, so we also want to have fun. Just different things to get together and take a break from school and just hang out and forget about class for a while.
Not only did the group discuss the future of the organization at Marquette, but they also looked at the importance for students to have access to an organization like this on campus. Many members mentioned that they are usually one of four girls in their class, which may discourage them or not represent them.
âBeing a part of SWE helps members overcome fear of gender bias,â said Sarah Ernst, President of SWE and Senior at the Faculty of Engineering. Ernst gave advice for women who pursue areas that are heavily dominated by men: âBe firm and have confidence in yourself. You are as smart and skilled as the boys who are in the same classes as you, âErnst said.
The lack of participation of women in STEM-related fields has been going on for a long time. This was the result of the idea that women are not smart or skilled enough to pursue these occupations.ns according to AAUW, an organization that works to help this problem. On their website, they mention that women make up only 28% of STEM jobs.
Dr Kristina Ropella, Dean of Opus College of Engineering, described her own issues with pursuing her career and the path she had to take to reach her current position.
âSome professors have openly said that women who get engineering degrees are a waste of time because they are just going to get married and have a family,â Ropella said.
Even though Ropella has struggled, she has high hopes not only for the future of Opus College of Engineering, but also for the diversity within the college itself. She believes in the importance of including all walks of life within the college and wants to create a safe space where ideas can be shared and transformed, “look for people who support you,” said Ropella.
Allie Plante, a freshman at the College of Engineering, said she plans to pursue government work in environmental engineering in hopes of improving sustainability. When Plante described her aspirations at home to people, she was overwhelmed by stares and critical responses.
Although Plante saw it as discouraging, it didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams. Now Plante is an engineering student and is already starting to see success in her studies.
âIt’s a lot of work, but there is nothing unbearable. Nothing will beat the feeling of empowerment by getting good grades in a male dominated classroom, âsaid Plante.
This story was written by Phoebe Goebel. She can be reached at [email protected]