In recognition of their tremendous outreach and community service efforts, the West Virginia University Section of the Society of Women Engineers has been named the 2017-2018 Student Organization of the Year. The award acknowledges and rewards organizations that accomplished great service to the community and University, held consistent meetings, organized creative outreach activities and have had a positive impact on WVU as a whole.
SWE is an international organization focused on stimulating women to achieve their full potential in their careers as engineers and leaders. WVU’s Section of SWE is dedicated to STEM outreach, professional development and promoting women in engineering.
The organization is comprised of more than 200 members and averages 600 service hours per year.
In addition to participating in at least one service project per month at local organizations, SWE’s primary focus is providing K-12 STEM outreach programs for the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. While the organization hosts dozens of events per year such as their Murder Mystery Lunch and Code Name: SWE, their largest event is Girl Scout Day, a one-day immersive and educational STEM experience that brings more than 250 local Girl Scouts to campus.
“The WVU Section is dedicated to hosting meaningful STEM outreach events for kids in the Morgantown area,” said Section President Alex Anderson, a biomedical engineering major from Parkersburg. “The opportunity to be a mentor as a female in STEM is invaluable for showing young girls that they can pursue a STEM career, too.”
To be selected as student organization of the year, SWE had to submit an application and undergo an interview process with the University’s Student Government Association. Their superb commitment to the community, extensive outreach on the WVU campus and vast number of service hours were among the many reasons the organization received the top honor.
“WVU SWE members are especially deserving of this award since, as a group, they have worked hard all year to focus on significant community service and outreach activities,” said John Zondlo , professor of chemical engineering and faculty advisor for the WVU Section. “Not only do these events expose grade-school and middle-school students to the STEM disciplines but the SWE members themselves are excellent role models for the younger students.”
The organization’s recognition extended beyond the WVU campus last year when they received the Gold Award for Collegiate Level Section at the 2016-2017 SWE National Conference. This award is the highest level award given to collegiate sections.
“Our officers have worked diligently to make WVU SWE a prosperous organization so it is exciting to be recognized for our accomplishments,” said Anderson. “It is even more rewarding to know that our efforts make a difference in the lives of the many girls who attend our outreach events. Receiving this award encourages us to continue being female role models in STEM to inspire the next generation of scientists and to close the gender gap in the field of engineering.”