Society of Women Engineers WE13 Conference
Two weeks ago, twelve members of the Society of Women Engineers at the George Washington University participated and travelled to Baltimore, Maryland for the ___ annual WE13 conference, an all-weekend affair hosted by the National Society of Women Engineers.
A group of all female-engineers MARC-trained to Baltimore Penn Station on a late Wednesday night to begin the festivities. Early Thursday morning, we walked from our hotel to the Baltimore Conference Center along with 6,000 other female engineers and workers around the country. We had the world, our future job careers, and networking opportunities all at our fingertips.
The 8 of us who were there for the first day had a high-pace day going from talk-to-talk, meeting-to-meeting with a quick 40 min lunch break hosted by John Deer and Raytheon. We had a brilliant presentation and question-answer session held by top executives of those companies and we got a chance to meet and connect with other females in other chapters around the country. This, to me, was the most valuable; having the opportunity to look around gigantic ballroom filled with young, brilliant females of our generation who are seeking to change the world. It was extremely empowering both by the amazing companies that were able to host, as well as the incredible girls that we were surrounded by.
In addition to the resume workshops, career guiding center, and mock-interview preps, there were also a surplus of talks held by sponsoring companies of the event. This ranged from tours of Exelon Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Booz Allen Hamilton tours, then different session tracks with 1-hour long talks. For example, “Growing in a Growing Organization”, “Managing Upwards and Laterally”, “Not Engineering As Usual; Career Opportunities for Engineers in Policy”, “Educating the Audience on the Benefits and Misperceptions of Nuclear Energy”, and a hundred more. These topics ranged from session tracks such as SWE Leadership and Business Meetings, Tours, Inclusion and Cultural Awareness, Career and Life Transitions, K-12 Outreach, Innovation in Technology and Business, Management and Strategy, Careers in Government and Military, and Academics and Graduate Students. These sessions were a great way for the different GW SWE girls to spread-out and channel their true, individualized passions towards specific talks that would be of interest, helping us decide a clearer direction of which we wanted to follow post-graduation as well as seek a career-oriented mindset in a field that we were most comfortable in and wanted to pursue.
At the end of day 1, all of the sponsoring companies hosted hospitality suites in the Hilton Hotel next to the conference center. Here, companies such as BP, Intel, Boeing, Microsoft, Chevrolet, and many, many others had large ballrooms where they had music, prizes, raffles, free giveaways, gourmet food, and games that we were able to participate in. Some had photo booths or dress-up professional photographs, while others had dance competitions. Although none of the GW-girls were able to win any of the grand prizes or raffles, it was an incredible opportunity to see the employees of the many major corporations outside of an office setting and how truly valuable interpersonal relationships between coworkers can be and can have an affect on the workplace.