Becca Brader's WE16 Experience
WE16 was an outstanding experience again this year. This year I attended as tourist, SWE-KC Section Representative, job seeker and celebratory friend.
This year WE2016 was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I had never been to this city and was excited to be a tourist and explore the city. My first day at conference, I took a Philly foods tour. I ate tomato pie, hot soft pretzels, cheese whiz fries and of course a famous Philly cheese steak. Next I was able to walk to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. My biggest surprise was that the Liberty Bell was not as big as I had thought it was going to be.
I was able to attend conference this year because I am SWE-KC Section Representative. I attended the Region i meeting where I was able to meet other Region i representatives face to face. This was a nice change because generally our monthly meetings are conference calls and we never see each other. I was able to spend some time and get to know our St. Louis representative which is great because iCON17 will be held in St. Louis and will see her there for sure.
This year was the first year I attended the career fair as job seeker. My biggest learning was that on the second day the career fair opens an hour early just for professionals looking for new opportunities. This hour was great because interview lines were greatly reduced. It was also nice because companies were more focused and prepared to talk to professionals about current open opportunities. During the career fair I was able to speak and interview with several companies I was very interested in.
Finally, this year was the first time I attended the awards ceremony and cheered fellow SWE sisters on. SWE-KC members Sunita Lavin and Shelley Wolff received national awards. Sunita received the Distinguished New Engineer Award and Shelley the Advocating for Women Award. It was my favorite part of the conference.
WE16 was a great experience. I hope to attend again next year in Austin, TX!
Sunita Lavin's WE16 Experience
The thing I love about Annual Conference is being among motivated and inspirational women engineers from all around the world. With over 11,000 female engineers, WE16 did not disappoint. My favorite part of the conference was meeting Stueti Gupta who was a fellow Distinguished New Engineer recipient. Stueti came all the way from Pune, India, to attend WE16. Among her many accomplishments was starting the first SWE affliate in India. How amazing is that! Although Indian female engineers share many of the same challenges as women engineers in the USA, they also have unique cultural challenges. For example, often when a female engineer gets engaged, she hands in her resignation with the explanation that "I'm getting married." Most Indians would just nod at that, but the SWE's Pune affliate is trying to get women to question that kind of attitude. WE16 really helped me think about worldwide perspectives, and how SWE is making a difference around the world.
Katie Lin's WE16 Experience
WE16 was my 7th SWE Annual Conference! However, it was my first time to represent my company to help with interviewing candidates. I was very excited to help with the Honeywell recruiting team, and I felt a lot of pride for being a part of a company that had such a huge presence at the SWE conference. I also enjoyed networking and meeting many other Honeywell women from across the country.
During my first day at the conference, I was inspired by Luann Purdy’s keynote. She offered a lot of personal advice for women trying to succeed in engineering and leadership roles. My second favorite part of the conference was attending the Friday night Awards Banquet. It was my first time attending the awards banquet, and I was eager to attend to cheer on SWE-KC members, Sunita Lavin and Shelley Wolff, as they each received a SWE Award.
On Saturday of the conference, I met up with my sister, who is a mechanical engineering graduate student at the University of Michigan. Since I don’t see her very often, we had a good time catching up and doing some sightseeing around the Philadelphia area. We checked out the Liberty Bell, ate lunch in Reading Terminal Market, and we took our first Uber ride to the highly recommended “Jim’s on South Street” to try our first Philly cheesesteak. We finished out the evening with a nighttime stroll near some historic Philadelphia sites, including Betsy Ross’s house and Ben Franklin’s grave.