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Cal Poly SWE Wins Big

SWE students on stage with their award.Society of Women's Engineers takes six awards at SWE18 in Minneapolis

Outreach, diversity and partnership efforts initiated by the Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers were rewarded last month at the SWE18 conference in Minneapolis.

Cal Poly SWE won six awards during the event, billed as the largest conference for women engineers.

The awards include:

  • First place to Team Tech, a sub-group within SWE, for its Crew Overboard Alarm System project, sponsored by Lockheed Martin.
  • The Boeing Company Multicultural Award
  • Best Practice -- Outreach Award
  • Gold Section Collegiate Award
  • Best Practice – Partnerships with Collegiate, Professionals, Industry and Academia Award
  • Best Practice – Public Policy Award

CPSWE provides a gateway between the collegiate and corporate worlds while encouraging women to achieve their full potential as engineers and leaders. More recently, CPSWE has greatly enhanced recruitment efforts, reaching out to more diverse groups and young students.

CPSWE has partnered with different engineering organizations, like the Society of Hispanic Engineers, to increase diversity while also hosting diversity panels and creating the He for SWE initiative to encourage male allies. It has provided networking opportunities and scholarships to students. And its outreach efforts have targeted community colleges and high schools.

The CPSWE has encouraged youth to get interested in the field by introducing Girls Scouts to STEM, visiting fourth graders during National Engineering Week and hosting an annual VEX Robotics competition for high school students.

Statistics show efforts are working. Last year, the CPSWE welcomed 313 new members – up from 78 in 2015 – and 24 percent of those were first generation college students. Nearly 17 percent of the new members were Latino, up from 11 percent in 2015.

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