UMD Society of Women Engineers receives first societal award in program’s history

 UMD's SWE section was recognized for its outreach efforts and how well it conformed to SWE's core values. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

UMD's SWE section was recognized for its outreach efforts and how well it conformed to SWE's core values. Photo by Alex Ganeev.

The UMD Society of Women Engineers (SWE) program was awarded the silver collegiate SWE Mission Award at the annual SWE Societal Conference Oct. 26-28 in Austin, Texas. UMD’s section was chosen among the more than 300 SWE student sections across the nation. According to UMD SWE President Jena Ambe, this is the first time UMD’s section has been recognized with a societal award.

“It’s really exciting,” Ambe said. “We’re not a very big section, so to get that recognition means a lot to us.”

SWE is an organization that is based around encouraging women engineering students. SWE mission awards are given to groups based on how well they adhere to SWE’s core values: Integrity, inclusive environment, mutual support, professional excellence, and trust. Groups that demonstrate growth towards achieving SWE’s goals get the opportunity to be recognized on a national level.

“We do a lot of outreach,” Ambe said. “One of the core values is professional excellence so we make sure that we get companies to come in and talk to our members. We just try to have a group where everyone can feel welcome and meet people that can help them with their classes.”

SWE will continue its outreach on Saturday, Nov. 11 by hosting Mommy, Me & SWE, an event that gives young girls and their moms the chance to learn about engineering by doing hands-on activities. Mothers that attend the event will learn about ways to encourage their daughters to pursue their interests in STEM. The event will take place in the Swenson Civil Engineering Building. The program will also host Spring Into Engineering in March, which gives children from the Duluth community another chance to visit the campus and learn about engineering.

Ambe said that the program strived to create an environment that gives engineering students a resource for support.

“Our main goal this year was to increase membership and get that group of people who can share the experience of being an engineering student and help when you need it, just a support system,” Ambe said. “We just continue to do what we’re doing.”

CultureTyler Schendel