Free food, t-shirts, drinks, gift cards, and lots of women, what is there not to love? That was the thinking behind the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) as they kicked off this year with their annual barbecue.
Founded at Mines in 1978, SWE has grown from 200 members five years ago to over 400 members this year. The Colorado School of Mines student section of SWE is the largest professional organization on campus and the largest collegiate SWE section in the nation.
The barbecue was highlighted by a speech from Excel energy on internships, job-opportunities and a giveaway. Female engineers from Excel energy came from all around the country, from Texas to Minnesota, to help support SWE. Excel energy hires over 30 interns within Colorado and has over 1,000 students applying for company positions nationally.
According to the Excel spokesperson, “the positions are highly competitive,” and she encourages everyone to apply in the spring. If hired as an intern for Excel energy, students “will sit down and identify some skill sets to improve and help develop your career right from the get-go.”
Female dominated events are uncommon for Mines considering the school’s 3-1 ratio, but SWE hosts numerous events where there are more women than men. Some of the upcoming events put on by SWE include the “Evening with Industry” where students can speak to representatives from various companies the night before career fair, “Girl Scout Badge Day” where SWE members help local girl scouts earn their badges and encourage them to pursue engineering, and the “Chevron Lecture Series” which highlights numerous aspects of engineering. A scholarship opportunity for SWE members is the Florence Caldwell Scholarship, which is awarded to outstanding female SWE members in remembrance of Florence Caldwell, the first female to graduate from Mines in 1898.
SWE is open to men and women. Joining SWE is a one-time price of $50 and provides several benefits including scholarship opportunities and networking with company representatives. According to SWE president Lyndsey Schaefer, the club offers a “really good leadership opportunity” and is a fun time for guys and girls alike.