The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter at Colorado School of Mines is the largest in the nation and highly recognized on campus, in the community, and in industry. SWE conducts outreach to encourage young girls’ interest in STEM and works to prepare women to enter STEM fields. This year, Mines’ chapter of SWE was honored for its dedication to supporting women in STEM.
In October, several of Mines’ SWE officers traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the National
SWE Conference. At the conference, Mines’ section of SWE received three awards: the Collegiate Level Membership Retention and Engagement Award; the Collegiate Award for Communication; and the highest award offered, the Gold Mission Award. Chloe Archuleta, a senior in biochemical engineering and the 2018-2019 Mines’ SWE President, is very proud of the awards. She believes that Mines’ SWE received the Collegiate Level Membership Retention and Engagement Award for having the largest section of SWE nationwide (more than 700 members), for providing lots of opportunities for members, and for having many resources for the members thanks to support from the school and industry. Archuleta believes they earned the Collegiate Award for Communication for their presence on campus, in the community, and in industry, as well as the SWE newsletter sent to members. Archuleta believes they received the Gold Mission Award for achieving all of SWE’s objectives of outreach and preparing women for and supporting women through their engineering careers.
“The awards really reflect how outstanding how each of our executive officers and and how dedicated our members are,” Archuleta says.
A prime example of SWE’s outreach is Girl Scout Engineering Day. On November 10th, the Mines’ SWE hosted their 20th annual Girl Scout Engineering Day. SWE holds the event every year to expose Girl Scout to STEM through interactive engineering activities. The event starts with major presentations lead by Mines students in different departments. Then, the Girl Scouts go through nine rotations, experiencing different types of engineering. Through completing all the activities at the event, the girls earned Girl Scout Engineering Day patches and worked toward the requirements for Junior level badges.
Brook, a nine-year-old Girl Scout, was one of the over two hundred Girl Scouts present at Girl Scout Engineering Day. “I think it was a good choice,” Brook says of attending the event and says that she would love to attend again next year. Brook was not interested in STEM before attending, but she had a lot of fun, especially when making the asphalt cookies (a concoction of oats and chocolate to teach the Girl Scouts about asphalt). Even though Brook did not have any interest in STEM before attending, she said that she is definitely interested after attending Girl Scout Engineering Day.
Melissa Grass, Brook’s mom, is very grateful for what SWE does for girls. Grass is a chemist and brought her daughter to Girl Scout Engineering Day because she knew of Mines’ reputation and thought it would be fun. Grass believes it is important to get girls interested in STEM early on:
“We try to take our girls to lots of science and math activities to get them involved in science and math and engineering.” Grass says, “It was an awesome event and very well-organized.”
Considering Girl Scout Engineering Day’s success and the awards received, it sounds like Mines’ SWE has had another great semester.
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