PRESIDENT'S REPORT
BY LISA SCHMALHURST, SWE-MN PRESIDENT


April 2010

Hello SWE-MN!

Welcome to spring! This is an exciting time for SWE-MN. We had a very successful Professional Development Spring Seminar at St Thomas on March 13th. Iíd like to offer my personal thanks to our Professional Development chairs Jacalyn St Dennis and Katrina Sanders for their hard work in bringing this event together. We have an exciting Wow! Thatís Engineering outreach event coming up with Girls Inc on April 24th in St Paul. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event, please contact Sara at volunteer@swe-mn.org.

Another thing that Iím excited about is the announcement of our FY10 slate of leaders for SWE-MN. These are eminently qualified and responsible women, who I am proud to have as the future of the section. I encourage you to read through the biographies of the ladies later in this newsletter. Watch for voting to begin in early April!

Finally, I want to send a work of good luck to our SWE individual award applicants for the year as applications were turned in by March 31st.

Enjoy the spring and I hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!

Cheers,
lisa

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March 2010

Hi SWE-MN!

This is going to be a short one from me this month, as I am literally on my way to the airport for a well-needed vacation.  Thinking of that, it reminds me that one of our tracks at the Professional Development Spring Seminar on March 13th will be balance.  Hmm, maybe I should attend some of those sessions!  This year one of the new additions to this program that I am excited about is a collegiate focused track.  I hope to see you at St Thomas!

Another exciting adventure is for us to begin to choose next year's leadership for SWE-MN.   I would love to chat with you if you are interested in being more involved... with everything from outreach to the officer positions. 

I want to also give out a thank you to the FY10 executive council for enabling us to accomplish all that we have so far this year.  I appreciate all that these ladies have done.  It's not easy to remember all the details that it takes to make a large section like ours function.  Congratulations on all your successful events this year!  Be sure to check out the event recap details later in the newsletter!

Well, off to Montana to hit the slopes.  :o)  Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you.  Thank you for being in SWE-MN!

Cheers,
lisa

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February 2010

Welcome to the month of the heart…  of learning about heart disease, that is.  Have you heard about the Go Red campaign to raise awareness of women’s heart health?  Women’s heart disease is very different than men’s.  The American Heart Association has some good overview information at goredforwomen.org.  Friday, February 5th is Wear Red day, so pull out your valentine-themed sweater and join in the day of ‘the heart truth’!

I’m excited about the events that we have coming up in the next few months for SWE-MN.  A couple of the notables – Spark, Slime, Speed at the Children’s museum on February 13th and our Professional Development Spring Seminar at the University of St Thomas on March 13th – are described in further detail later on in this newsletter.  It’s also that time of the year where we start to identify and train our section’s leaders for next year.  If you are interested in volunteering your time and becoming more involved in our section, I’d love to meet with you and talk about what might be a good fit for you.  Please feel free to contact me at president@swe-mn.org.

Finally, I wanted to share a little bit about the Region conference with you.  This past weekend, nearly 750 of Region H’s members – collegiates and professionals – met at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, hosted by the school’s SWE section.  The events started with some social gatherings Friday night for networking among the members and concluded with a banquet Saturday, where past Society president Jill Tietjen told stories of women striving through the years for gender equality in voting and education among other rights.  One of the sessions that I attended was regarding SWE’s public policy statement on Title IX and STEM education given by Cathy Pieronek from the Chicago Regional Section.  Title IX is known for its common application to college athletics, however the statue has no such restrictions.  It requires that any institution receiving federal funding must not discriminate on the basis of sex.  I learned that the Society public policy representatives have been busy lately advocating for women’s educational equality in STEM educational fields by testifying at congressional briefings, participating the Congressional Visit day in Washington, and meeting with the SWE Corporate Partnership Council (CPC), a group of significant corporate supporters of the Society.  If you are interested in reading more, information is posted on the Society webpage, societyofwomenengineers.swe.org, in the Public Policy section.  It’s amazing how someone who stands up for their thoughts and ideals can change history and it’s happening every day!

I hope that you are all having a nice winter and being able to get out in it to play in the snow in whatever way you enjoy.  I’m excited to be heading out west later in the month to go snowboarding!  As always, I’m available for any comments or questions that you might have.  Thank you for your support and participation in SWE-MN.

Cheers!
lisa

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January 2010

Welcome to a new year, SWE-MN!  

2010.  Just 10 short years ago we were worrying about Y2K bugs and wondering if the computers would say 2000 or 1900 on January 1.  It’s amazing how far we’ve come in such a relatively short time.  As I realized this, I began to reflect back on our half a fiscal year so far that I have been serving as your president.  As the executive council prepares to review goals during our mid-year planning meeting on the 9th of this month, it gives me a moment to think about how we are providing value and what we could do better.  It’s in this spirit, and that of New Year’s resolutions that we’ll review our goals with a view towards what best helps our members and provides value.  We all know that it has been a difficult year this year with the economic situation, and that has shown itself in the support that SWE-MN is able to receive – both from our sponsor corporations and from our members.  Keeping that in mind, we’ll continue to focus our activities in our areas of core competency: Outreach and Professional Development.  This year, we did add a new activity, though in support of our section’s viability.  Our very first SWE-MN Holiday Auction went off very well this year!  Many congratulations and thanks to Sara Beck, our Fund Development Chair, and her team for making the complexities of this event seem easy to the casual observer.  I hope that many of you will join us at our next Fund Development event, a Valentine Day Card-making event, for which there are more details later on in this newsletter.  I’m looking forward to so many fun events coming up this spring for SWE-MN - the Region H conference in Champaign, Il, our Spark, Slime, Speed and Wow! That’s Engineering! outreach events, and Professional Development Spring Seminar - oh and by popular demand, back for another go around, a tour at the Caribou Coffee roasting plant on the 6th!  Thank you for being a part of SWE-MN and sharing in the fun.  As always, I’m available to discuss new ideas and comments.

Cheers!
lisa

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December 2009

Hello SWE-MN!

We have been busy this past month with one of our signature Outreach events.  On November 14th, 150 Girl Scouts and their troop leaders descended upon Boston Scientific in Arden Hills for our annual Girl Scout Patch Day event.  There’s a great recap of the event later in the newsletter, but I thought that I would share one of my favorite aspects of the day.  I was sitting with the ‘blue group’ in the Butterfly Circuits activity, watching the amazing number of room volunteers help bend pipe cleaners for wings and twist diode wires for eyes.  The butterfly’s eyes are dark until the piano wire that completes the circuit is touched to one end of the diode wire to close the circuit.  As the fifth grader touched the piano wire to the diode, lighting up her butterfly’s eyes, her own eyes lit up with understanding.  She said “That’s cool.  But I have to pull it apart because I don’t want to drain the battery.  I want it to last.”  She got it.  She understood what we were trying to teach her and she was excited about it.  And this is not an isolated occurrence – this is why we do Outreach – to inspire the next generations of engineers to wonder and to ask ‘what if?’.  That made me go back to my work more inspired and looking for the next big thing!

So, welcome to the holiday season!  Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope that you have one filled with fun, family, and most importantly, no work! :)  Maybe we’ll see each other at our SWE-MN Holiday party on the 11th.

Cheers!
lisa

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November 2009


Hello SWE-MN!

I’ve been back from SWE ’09 in Long Beach for less than a week now… and what a week. I thought in this note that I would share with you some of the points that I found interesting. Firstly, it does actually rain in Southern California! I also learned that women stand together during tough times. The conference had approximately 4600 registrants this year. This year saw the second annual Townhall Meeting. This was an open forum time, with some questions coming from SWE Communities that enabled members to ask questions of the SWE Board of Directors and Headquarters staff. This session enables a high level of transparency in the work of the Society. There were questions ranging from how the removal of funds from our contingency reserve fund to cover the Society’s operating budget was being applied to how the membership directory could be made more useful.

Other highlights of the week were the Awards Banquet and Celebrate SWE! At the Awards Banquet, one of our former members, Tricia Walker was honored with a Distinguished New Engineer Award. Unfortunately, Tricia was ill and unable to attend, but SWE-MN’s own Elizabeth Bierman accepted the honor on her behalf. Congratulations to Tricia on her well-deserved honor!

At Celebrate SWE!, Minnesota earned second place for our Website! Congratulations to Senja Lopac, SWE-MN Webmistress, for all the great work that she does. I hope that all of you have the opportunity to join us next year in Orlando for SWE ’10.

As always, please let me anything that I can do for you.
Cheers!
Lisa

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October 2009


Hi there SWE-MN!

I hope that you’re looking forward to the beginning of spring. I’ve already noticed the mornings being darker and the days getting shorter. We starting off the month of October right with our apple picking family-oriented networking event at Aamodt’s Apple Orchard in Stillwater on Saturday, the 3rd. After that, the biggest event of this month will be getting ready for the National Conference in Long Beach during the middle of the month. I’m very excited for the networking and professional development events at this conference. It appears to be well-organized and will appeal to a variety of disciplines and skill/experience levels. It’s one of my favorite times in the SWE year. If you’re coming to Long Beach, be sure to drop me a quick email (president@swe-mn.org) and let me know if you haven’t already and I’ll let you know about the plans that we have for SWE-MN. There’s a spreadsheet out on the SWE-MN Community (http://communities.swe.org) that you can add your information to as well. Coming back to our local area, our Professional Development chairs have some very interesting ideas for tours this month and are looking to secure the location… be sure to watch our weekly newsletter for the announcement of this event. Finally, I’d like to finish up my note by welcoming Ruth Logan to our executive council as our SWE-MN Archivist. We look forward to participating in the society’s 60th anniversary year by continuing to chronicle our own SWE-MN history.
Cheers!
lisa

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September 2009

Hello all!
Welcome to another great year for SWE-MN! FY10! The first year without one of those crazy "oh’s" to start with. This promises to be a great year for our section, as we focus on our membership and leadership while we navigate the always changing and sometimes difficult engineering environment. None of you are unaware of the challenging economic situation and the hardships in the engineering environment. We are committed to helping our membership through this time and emerging on the other side even stronger!

Before I get too far in to this, I’d like to let you know a little about the wonderful women whom you elected to lead SWE-MN this year. I’d like to start with our Section Representatives, Jenna Rendon, Lindsey Roberts-McKenzie, and Charlene Willenbring. Jenna is a software manager at Lockheed Martin in Eagan and this is her second year serving SWE-MN as section representative. Lindsey is a project engineer with SEH Inc in Vadnais Heights and is also in her second year as section representative. Charlene, an engineer with Goodrich in Bloomington, is new to the section representative position this year and also continues to mentor the University of Minnesota section. Our reps will be going through a year of transition and I am excited to see them redefine the section rep role and its importance to our section in having our voice heard beyond our immediate borders. I’d like to welcome Laura Copp to the elected leadership of SWE-MN as our secretary. Laura is a supplier engineer with Caterpillar and makes sure that we all know when things are going on through the weekly announcement emails. Adrienne Kelsey has changed roles in the elected leadership from Secretary to Treasurer this year. Adrienne is a process development engineer with Boston Scientific Cardiovascular in Plymouth. We are graced to have Adrienne’s new son Connor join us at some meetings and we think he’s a future SWE supporter in the making! Cassandra Piippo is returning to SWE-MN leadership as Vice President this year and shares with us an enormous amount of knowledge and passion for Outreach. Cassie is an R&D engineer with Cardiovascular Systems Inc in New Brighton and was just recently married! Congrats, Cassie and Mike! I, Lisa Schmalhurst, round out the SWE-MN elected leadership for the year. I am a design engineer at Boston Scientific CRM in Arden Hills and I am extremely excited and honored to serve as your president for the next year. The elected leaders are joined by a highly talented and committed group of ladies that serve as committee chairs and coordinators. SWE-MN is what it is because of the work of the ladies that step up to these positions year after year and I thank them. A special thanks goes out to our FY09 Executive Council, lead by Holli Pheil and Krista Johnson. Thank you ladies, for dedicating your time and talent to SWE-MN!

This year’s work for SWE-MN will kick off in high style with our Open House to be held September 14th at Boston Scientific in Maple Grove at 6pm. We will be shaking up the format a little this year in response to your feedback, so please come along to talk to our committees and leaders about where we are headed for this year – and if you are interested, where you can fit into that picture! SWE-MN based on our own planning earlier in the summer and the direction of the national organization will be focusing on our Professional Development, Fund Development and leadership programs. I look forward to seeing you at the Open House or other events soon where we can discuss these initiatives. We have transitioned to using a Google calendar for our events. This has already been beneficial to the executive council as we planned for our summer planning meeting and over-the-summer Outreach events. I encourage you to check it out if you’re interested in what’s planned for the future.

Looking forward in time – albeit not too far – I am very excited about the upcoming National Conference in Long Beach, Ca, October 15-17th… and not just to get away from Minnesota for a few days! The conference planning committee looks to have outdone themselves this year with a variety of programming, from trips to see The Price is Right to plenary sessions discussing the topic of men as diversity partners. Understanding this year’s financial constraints, I still hope to see many of you there. While there, be sure to wish Patricia Walker, former SWE-MN member, congratulations on her Distinguished New Engineer award! This is an award that celebrates excellence in an emerging technical leader and Tricia is most definitely worthy of such an honor. My congratulations, and I’m sure the well-wishes of SWE-MN, go out to Tricia!

I welcome comments, questions, and discussions. Please drop me a line at president@swe-mn.org any time you have something to say. Thank you for your continued interest in SWE, work in our section, and support of the society’s mission.

Cheers!
lisa