January Collegiate Director’s Letter

January Collegiate Director’s Letter

Check out the Collegiate Director’s Letter from the January issue of All Together.

Plus a special message from our Collegiate Director…

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 collegiate-director@swe.org.

Best wishes,

Ellen McIsaac

FY14 Collegiate Director

October Introductions: Region Collegiate Communications Editor


My name is Olivia Trinko, and I am the current RCCE for Region i as well as the President of the CSU section of SWE. I am in my fourth year of five at Colorado State University, and I am studying electrical engineering and music. Last summer, I interned with Florida Power and Light, and I have recently accepted a summer internship with Pacific Gas and Electric. I know this post is supposed to be an introduction, but if you really want to learn more about me, you can check out my bio on the Region Collegiate Team page of this blog. I want to focus on my favorite section of the SWE website, the Learning page. I am amazed at the career and professional development resources that are available to SWE members. Let’s check them out!

SWE is continually coming out with new webinars, and past webinars are available to replay any time. These webinars span a variety of topics, from “How to Find a Job in 10 Days” to “Title IX: The Good, The Bad, and The Unfinished.” I’m sure you can find something of interest. In addition, there are several podcasts on the SWE website, many of which are interviews that supplement the webinars. SWE even offers an online course called “Engineering Leadership for the 21st Century.” I urge you to check it out! (On a similar note, Region i’s very own Pamela L. Dingman, 2013 SWE Entrepreneur Award winner, recently gave a fascinating TedTalk.)

If webinars aren’t your thing, you might want to check out the Collegiate Leadership Coaching Committee. Adriana Aguilar, Christina George, and Kate Nolan are here to help the collegiate sections of Region i with any issue they may be facing with organizational management or personal leadership.

I can personally vouch for the value of the SWE Career Center. I posted my resume a while back, and a couple weeks before WE13, PG&E called me asking me to interview at the upcoming career fair. And now I have my summer internship lined up! Companies recognize that the people who post their resume on the SWE Career Center are great candidates because of their affiliation with a great organization.

Needless to say, the resources available to SWE members on the website are astounding!

October Hot Topic: Annual Conference

As the president of the Colorado State University section of SWE, I have spent the past few months trying to convince several different sources to help fund our members to attend the annual conference in Baltimore, MA on October 24-26. Sending members to conference comes with a hefty price tag, so I needed to show that it is a worthwhile endeavor.

SWE helped make my job easier with pages on the conference website like Benefits for Collegiates. It outlines several aspects of the conference that are of interest to collegiates in particular. Of course, the career fair is a major draw of the conference. Students get experience talking to recruiters in industry and academia, hopefully getting an internship or job out of the process. There are professional development opportunities galore through workshops and panel discussions. Attendees can share the knowledge they obtain at these sessions with fellow students when they return to their university. Conference is a fantastic opportunity to network with professionals and collegiates from around the world. I personally have gained several mentors and friends from past conferences with whom I still stay in touch. Conference isn’t all work though. There are plenty of opportunities for fun like sight-seeing in Baltimore and Celebrate SWE! The conference website also has a cost/benefit kit to help quantify costs. This helped immensely with my efforts to get funding.

If you have attended conference before, I’m sure you can relate to my enthusiasm for the event. If you have not attended, I hope that you will be able to make it to one soon. I promise it will be worth it! If an annual conference is out of reach for you currently, may I suggest that you look into attending the regional conference? This year, Region i’s conference is in Wichita, KS from February 28 to March 2. The regional conference is very similar to the annual conference content-wise, but it much more manageable price-wise. Check out the conference website for more information. Registration will open soon!

A few regional notes for conference attendees:

  • The region meeting will take place on Thursday, October 24th from 1:45-3:45 pm in room 334.
  • Bring a T-shirt from your section to give to the Wichita section. They will be making a quilt out of them as a fundraiser for the regional conference.
  • If you haven’t made a poster to represent your section (at the leadership summit in August), be sure to make one to introduce your section at the region meeting.
  • Check to see if your section has any photos to contribute to the Celebrate SWE! Region Photo Scavenger Hunt. The guidelines were emailed to section presidents.
  • Stay organized with the Explore WE13 app!