MSU SWE: Bringing Women in STEM Together

April 17, 2017

“Girls are bad at math!”

“Women should not try to do sciences!”

“Engineering is for men!”

Sound familiar? How many of you have heard this—or know someone who did? It’s no secret that women have faced more educational and career obstacles in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) than in any other fields. 

[Story continues after photo] 

A recent ''Day With SWE'' event. Photo courtesy of MSU SWE

A recent ''Day With SWE'' event. Photo courtesy of MSU SWE

To help overcome these barriers, Michigan State University’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has been working to encourage young women to enter the various branches of engineering. This non-profit educational service organization was founded in 1960 and is comprised of passionate female undergraduate and graduate students who are seeking skills and experiences in engineering.

Najah Mubashira, a Warren, Mich., junior studying mechanical engineering, said the organization wants young women engineers to come together to a place that is specifically catered to help them to succeed.

“We bring in various companies and arrange regular meetings so the ladies can get a good idea about the engineering fields, what is expected of them to get hired and, ultimately, to have a successful career,” said Mubashira, who serves as the current treasurer of SWE.

SWE does a great number of fundraising, social and community service events and outreach programs every year where they show middle school and high school students how science and engineering works. The five major outreach events are:

1. “STEM Day”

2. “WOW! That's Engineering!”

3. STEM outreach at local schools

4. Impressions 5 children’s museum booths

5. “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event

SWE goes to local schools every month to talk to girls and encourage them to be involved in STEM.

Mubashira said that the organization does the events specifically with girls to show them the academic and professional aspects of all engineering fields, and help them to develop skills and work together as a group.

“We also encourage the high school girls to come to MSU and pursue engineering, and we try to serve as mentors for them,” she stated. “It's like a support system in a million different ways.”

[Story continues after photo]

High school students at “WOW! That's Engineering!” event. Photo courtesy of MSU SWE

High school students at “WOW! That's Engineering!” event. Photo courtesy of MSU SWE

Packaging junior Carlie Allen, who currently serves as the outreach director of the organization, stated that in 2016, “WOW! That’s Engineering!” had more than 200 participants from fourth to eighth grade.

 “Growing up, many of the girls don’t usually get the chance to do things STEM related,” said Allen. “There’s always this stereotype that girls should stick to arts and humanities, and in school, girls’ participation in science-related events is far less than boys. But that doesn’t seem fair. This is why we want to inspire girls so they can be scientists or engineers, too. We also realize many kids don't know what many STEM-related careers are until they are older. So we want to give them a clear idea at a younger age.”

“MSU currently has more 1,000 female students in undergraduate studies in engineering, and a lot of them enrolled here after being inspired by SWE events,” she added.

Mackenzie Meyers, a second-year student in mechanical engineering from Edwardsburg, Mich., said that she first found out about SWE in her senior year of high school and was invited to participate in a program called “Day with SWE” to spend a day at the MSU College of Engineering.

“I felt very proud to get selected for an event in a college like MSU and that day I committed myself to study engineering here,” Meyers stated.

“I am from a small town and people have always told me that engineering would be too hard for me,” continued Meyers. “But during my time here, SWE and the girls have been an amazing help for me. SWE would suggest which classes to take and counsel about different learning styles, jobs and internship. I feel extremely happy to know that I have so many people around to help me with my dream. And these incredibly talented women with similar interests working together make the experience even more enjoyable.”

Both Mubashira and Allen stated that SWE is not just a professional development organization, but it’s also a platform for girls in engineering to bond together and form friendships for life. They suggested SWE for any female pursuing career in engineering related fields to get the patronage and assistance they need.

If you are a female studying engineering, or thinking about it, MSU SWE is here to help you. For more information on SWE, click here for their website. 

SWE members at their regional conference in South Bend, Indiana. Photo courtesy of MSU SWE

SWE members at their regional conference in South Bend, Indiana. Photo courtesy of MSU SWE

Social Media

Follow Us

Directory

Directory

News

News

Events

Events