Conference celebrates women engineers
March 22, 2010, 4:07 am · Updated March 22, 2010, 12:00 am·
To commemorate its 60th anniversary, the Society of Women Engineers held its Regional Conference here at Penn for the first time in over 50 years.
Approximately 300 people representing various schools of the Mid-Atlantic region were in attendance.
The conference, which was held on Friday and Saturday, was organized by both the collegiate section of the SWE and the Philadelphia professional section, said Melissa Cedarholm, Engineering sophomore and one of the conference chairs.
“The most important part of the conference is that it allows different women engineers to come together and see how other schools experience engineering,” said Alexandra Malikova, Engineering senior and co-chair of SWE at Penn.
Friday night featured a reception at the Sheraton Hotel called “Sweets and Beats,” according to Cedarholm.
During the event, there was a chocolate fountain, performances by Penn a cappella groups and a make-your-own 60th anniversary mug activity.
But Saturday was when the bulk of the conference took place, Cedarholm said. The events occurred in Houston Hall and varied from workshops and speakers to 18 companies holding interviews.
This is only the second time that Penn has hosted the conference — the last time being 55 years ago. Malikova said the group began planning for the events about a year ago.
“I thought everything ran really smoothly. It was well organized and the schedule was well made out,” said Engineering sophomore Sheetal Rajagopal.
The event — “What Not to Wear on the Job Hunt” — was helpful, fun and interactive, Rajagopal said. It was based on the show What Not to Wear.
One of the highlights of the conference, according to Alexis Wallen, doctoral candidate in Engineering and a member of the Philadelphia professional section of SWE, was a speech given by Alma Forman, one of the founding SWE members who received a standing ovation.
“I think it was a great success,” said Danielle Dunn, professional publicity committee chair of SWE.
Penn students showed “top-notch involvement” and having enthusiasm among students is really important, Dunn added.