Written by: Riya Sanghvi
I believe that Research Networking Night is a great event because it allows undergraduates the opportunity to learn about unique research from the professors and get involved with these groundbreaking projects and ideas early on. Being exposed to the research environment as undergraduates allow us to apply classroom knowledge to look at things in innovative and different ways. This event also allows professors and graduate students to promote their cutting-edge research and share it with undergraduates. It takes both women and men to promote women in engineering, that’s why I feel like what SWE does here is so important. Specifically about my research, I got involved with research my sophomore year in Dr. Jassby’s lab. It was the first time that I had been exposed to solving real world problems and I learned to see beyond the scope of a microscope. It generated my curiosity for higher education and allowed me to think more critically about material that I learned in the classroom.
There were 15 different laboratories represented amongst all the engineering disciplines. Professors and students were able to interact outside the classroom, getting advice on research and college experiences in general. In the middle of the event, we had a panel of 6 professors who shared their knowledge and experiences with all of the participants. It was a great connecting moment for all the parties and I felt as though it brought everyone together. The networking sessions had amazing turnouts and there were huddles around each professor and graduate student. I feel as though students were able to learn more about the topic of research in general and the applications and requirements for specific professors to search of a perfect match.
One of the most attractive aspects of engineering is the fact that students of any major can collaborate to create anything imaginable; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena is one of the best examples of this. The Society of Women Engineers paired with IEEE to tour the facilities. The tour began with an overview of the numerous satellites built, including Galileo (a satellite dedicated to study Jupiter and its moons) and Ulysses (a decommissioned probe meant to study the Sun). Then after a light tour of Mission Control and a cordial introduction to the Mars rover Curiosity, we were shown the facilities that determined and tested landing gear (fully equipped with seismic simulation and artificial terrain), as well as entire buildings dedicated to assembling the spacecraft in immense, temperature-controlled rooms. Along for the ride came the new SWE mascot, Queen B! Overall, the tour encompassed an evocative thesis on their mission: engineering as a whole is developing and expanding, and with every new project, new minds and perspectives are necessary. It was an incredible opportunity to tour such an esteemed organization, as well as a reminder to shoot for the stars and beyond!
It was that time of year again — elections for next year’s board. Not only that, but it was also our last general meeting of the quarter. Time to close in on all of our hard work with pizza and prizes! Many people entered the room anxiously, with their speeches in hands. We had around thirty applicants to be on next year’s board, but only fourteen positions available. We all listened to the speeches of a variety of personalities and styles. It was great to see so much enthusiasm to support women in engineering and just how many UCR students were willing to make that commitment. Everyone had only two minutes to speak on why they should be elected for their chosen position, except for president and vice president candidates who had four minutes. From all the passion and confidence spoken on during the speeches, it became more and more clear that the elections committee was going to have to make some tough decisions. However, now all there is to do it wait and see what the voters and the elections committee decide.
After the speeches, we closed the meeting with a raffle. We had started a new project this year where we gave stamp cards to all our members to reward their consistency and loyalty in coming to SWE events. The more events they come to, the better prizes they could win! A couple of people won some generously donated drones. Other prizes included school supplies and awesome gift cards.
It was great to hear from all of the impressive candidates and to see the quarter come to an end with some fun prizes. Many candidates had very unique and original ideas on how to make our organization better. The spirit in our members, all of them very deserving individuals, was shown that day. Let us wish them all good luck in finals and in their hopeful election!
Written by: Melissa Schellinger Gutierrez
On Monday, February 13th, SWE-UCR held its 19th annual Valentine's Day fundraiser. It was one of the only days in the past two weeks that it had not rained; it was a clear blue sky miracle. The evening began with mingling, music and delicious tacos. It was a time to get acquainted with another while enjoying the lovely company of both vegan and non-vegan tacos. After being energized from the delicious Mexican food, the attendees gathered into teams of two or three. It was time for the games to begin! Who was going to be the next true hidden figure?!
It was now up to the attendees to gather their thoughts, complete a series of tasks all over campus, and get SWE/NASA's first successful mission to space! Each team, having been assigned a different color was to complete a task, grab the balloon of their team color, pop it, and solve the riddle inside. The riddle then took them to their next location. The first team to complete all five tasks would win! For the next hour or two, they ran across campus, built and shot their own rocket (The Friendship 7), rang saturn, completed mathematical problems, shot and aimed paper airplanes, and built a device that would assure the safe landing of astronaut John Glenn.
This event was not only a great way to socialize with new people, but it was also a great means to learn about the truly wonderful Hidden Figures that served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. We hope that all those who were able to participate in the event were able to learn something new and have a lot of fun!
Our fourth general meeting invited two government agencies with a lot of opportunities for engineers -- NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and the Peace Corps! We welcomed a speaker from each of these two agencies to talk about internships, the application process, and advice about their respective fields. They discussed the benefits that come along with working for each of their organizations. Both options are very rewarding and exciting paths -- but the application process can be rough in both cases! The two women panelists gave their honest advice on how to stick out among the many, many applicants they receive and gave a run-down on the steps to take in order to apply. Afterwards, they both had set-up booths for people to approach them with questions and further information. People huddled around the two tables, eager to ask questions and take home some goodies. Overall, it was an excellent experience and one that really helped attendees be best prepared for applications and interviews. I know many of the young women engineers in the room, myself included, left that evening with a bit more confidence than they did before they entered that room. These positions are not as far-fetched as they may seem -- but we must put ourselves out there in order to be offered these opportunities.
Jayapriya Vengadesan (2017-2018)
Jayapriya is an undergraduate student studying bioengineering.
Cindy Yanez (2016-2017)