Movie Premiere Event

rafia2

RAFEA: SOLAR MAMA 
*CHICAGO PREMIERE! and Panel Discussion
MONDAY APRIL 29, 6:30PM at the Gene Siskel Film Center

Rafea is a Bedouin woman who lives with her daughters in a poor desert village on the Jordan / Iraqi border. She is selected for an intriguing program called the Barefoot College in India, and travels to join 30 illiterate women from different countries to train to become solar engineers.  SWE-CRS is pleased to partner with Human Rights Watch for this Chicago premiere!

Screening: 
Monday, April 29 at 6:30PM * Panel discussion to follow

Gene Siskel Film Center*
164 N. State Street, Chicago IL
Click here for Map and Directions.

Tickets:
$11 General Admission
$7 Student Admission (must present ID)
Click here to purchase tickets (+$5.50 convenience charges) – you can also purchase at the box office 1 hr before showtime.  OR be one of the first five SWE members to RSVP and get a free ticket!

RSVP to Negin J negin.jahangiri@gmail.com

Discounted parking is available for $14 for nine hours at the InterPark SELF-PARK at 20 E. Randolph St. A rebate ticket can be obtained from the Film Center Box Office.

Did you know that women pay more than men for healthcare coverage?

Think what you will about the Affordable Care Act this country is battling over, but did you know that this act would guarantee that women will no longer pay more for insurance premiums than men do for the same coverage.  It’s bad enough we get paid less then men for the same work, but we also have to pay more for the same coverage?  How did I not know this before now?

This practice even has a name – Gender Rating.  There are a lot of disturbing facts in this article, and I won’t repeat them all, but “56% of best-selling plans charge a 40-year-old woman who does not smoke more than a 40-year-old man who does”.  Really?

Passion is a gender-neutralizing force.

Have you heard of Marissa Mayer?  I probably should have been aware of her before now, but better late than never.  Mayer is the new CEO of Yahoo.  She is also the 20th person to work at Google.  She’s one of my new heroes.  And she is the source of the quote in the title of this article.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that women can do engineering, science, technology and math just as well as men, but if forced to give a reason why, I think I would have answered because we are just as smart as they are.  I like Mayer’s reasoning better.  If you have a passion for something, you should follow it.  And the more passionate person is going to succeed, regardless of their gender.

Another great quote from Mayer in the article linked above: “There is such a stereotype of the hacker — the pasty-skinned guy with the thick glasses, the pocket protector, the blue glow coming off of the monitor … people think if they’re going to be good at this, that’s what they need to be.”  Well Marissa, you’re proving them wrong.  You go girl!

Happy New Year!

For SWE, the year starts July 1st.  We do elections in late Spring/early Summer at the National, Regional and Local levels to select a new group of officers to lead the organization.  Over the summer, we re-energize and plan for the upcoming year – professional development, outreach, networking, social and technical events.  It’s a challenge every year to find a group of professional women with demanding careers and busy family lives to lead this volunteer organization but somehow our nominating committee does just that.  Sometimes it takes a little negotiation and cajoling, but we all recognize that supporting women in engineering of all ages and stages of career is important to all of us.  We know this is important to you too and hope that you are making a new year’s resolution to be more involved this year.  Watch this blog, our website and your email to find opportunities to be a part of this great organization all year long.

SWE’s Capitol Hill Visit Day

Back in March, SWE members visited Capitol Hill to talk to legislators to talk about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives.  Read more about it here.

How can professional organizations get the most out of social media?

Is it too late to revisit sessions I attended at the Region conference back in February?  Hopefully you will indulge me.  I attended a session on using social media in SWE publicity.  This is one area where I envy the collegiate sections.  Their entire population is comfortable with social media and use it practically every aspect of their lives.

We opted to transition from a periodic newsletter to this blog.  The thought was that it would enable us to communicate with the membership more frequently and allow for a two-way conversation.  So I’m encouraging you all to talk back.  Let us know what you want to hear about.  Let us know events that you’d like to see SWE organize.  Pretend you are of an age that you can’t remember a time before email, texts, blogs and the term “social networking”.  What blogs do you follow?  Who do you follow on twitter?  Talk to me baby!

National Center for Women & Information Technology Summit

Thankfully, SWE isn’t the only organization out there that supports women in industries where they are significantly underrepresented.  One of our sister organizations is the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT).  They are hosting a summit in Chicago May 22 – 24 for which SWE is the local host as our National Headquarters is here in Chicago.

The best part about this summit is that it is free!  Participants have the opportunity to attend flash talks and workshops related to women in IT and of course it will be a great chance to network.  I’m planning to attend at least one day so you can look forward to hearing more about it here.  The workshop that looks most interesting to me is “How Job Ads Can Reinforce or Undermine the Status Quo”.  This is something that never occurred to me, but it’s not terribly surprising that it could be a factor.  Have I peaked your interest?  Will I see you at the summit?

Sweeter Futures

Ever wonder if those random outreach events you volunteer for really make a difference?  SWE has recently launched a portal called Sweeter Futures whose purpose is the track the collective impact of SWE members on the future of engineering.  This initiative was started in Region B and has gone national.  Eventually this portal will become a resource for finding opportunities to get involved with outreach activities.  Until it reaches that critical mass, SWE is asking all members to log the time they spend on outreach activities.  I joined the site shortly after the participating in the DuPage Engineer’s Week event so I could log in my hours.  This site has great potential so go check it out!

Regionals Recap – Part 2 – Investing on Purpose

After breakfast at Regionals we had a break-out session while the students had their membership meeting.  I chose the “Savvy Women Invest on Purpose” session led by Haly Besaw.  She is currently a Financial Advisor for Baird in Milwaukee, but at heart and by degree she is an engineer.  She had some entertaining stories about advising engineers on their finances and how her colleagues didn’t always enjoy advising engineers because we are so numbers and details focused.  I’d never thought about it before, but it would be nice to talk money with someone who thought like me, or at least really understood why I am like I am.

The main thing I took away from that session was to get specific about what my goals are.  Right now I just save money because that is what my parents taught me to do, and I want to be able to live comfortably when I retire.  I need more of a plan and purpose that that.  She told us about a woman who died with something like a million dollars in the bank (or some really large number) but never helped her grandchildren pay for school.  I don’t want to be that lady.  I want my money to do the most good that it can for my family and others so it’s time to get intentional about it.

See?  This is why I write this blog.  I was all convicted about doing this four weeks ago at the conference, but I’d already let it fall too low on my todo list.  Now it will get back up there where it belongs.  So tell me, what purpose are you saving and investing for?

Regionals Recap – Part 1

It’s been a few weeks since the Region H conference up in Madison, WI.  Conferences are such an energizing experience for me.  I inevitably meet interesting people, attend thought-provoking sessions and get inspired to do an try new things in SWE.  The day started with breakfast and bids to host next year’s conference which means fun things on the table to try to sway our votes.  I enjoyed the m&ms, Hershey kisses and Playdough.  I generally vote based on location, which would have meant Purdue but Michigan Tech put together such a great presentation I found myself wanting to go to the Upper Peninsula in February.  Ultimately the University of Minnesota won the 2013 conference.  I’m hoping for as mild of a day next year.  During a break we wandered around the capitol.  They were having a cross country skiing competition.  Sadly there was no snow so they actually had to truck it in to create a man-made track around the capitol building.  Surely an engineer was involved in that process somewhere!  Perhaps even one of the engineers at the conference!

Stay tuned for more about the conference in the coming days!