SWE Meets with Professional Women Engineers!

From left to right: Leyla Hashemi, Sarah Memmer, Jennifer Nunn, Hanan Sedaghat Pisheh, Neveia Chappell and Sara Kassis

On Thursday, March 10, 2016, a group of female engineering students from the Department of Engineering Science at Sonoma State University met with two professional female engineers from the community for guidance, mentoring, and to hold discussions about the positive aspects and drawbacks that females experience in the engineering world. Our guests were Leyla Hashemi, a Manufacturing Engineer from Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa, and Neveia Chappell, an Applications Engineer from Parker in Rohnert Park. Both women are members of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), an organization which supports women in accomplishing successful careers as engineers and leaders. The topics discussed at the event were about the benefits of being members of SWE and how students can be more involved in such an organization at the local, regional, and national levels. Other important discussions included the networking opportunities available for jobs and/or mentoring as well as sharing experiences with being a female engineer in the workforce.

"It was very beneficial to meet two female engineers in the field. They were able to address some of my questions about being a female engineer and how to handle some of the challenges we will face. It gave me insight to what the future as an engineer will hold and how to prepare myself to be a good engineer in the industry. It also gave me a connection in which I can utilize in the future", commented one of the participating students.

According to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) website, 18.2% of students who graduated with an engineering degree in 2010 were female. However, only 14% of engineers actually employed in that year were female, as compared to 37% of females employed in all science and engineering disciplines. Other professional female engineers have also reached out to offer mentorship to our female engineering students, including establishing workshops targeting resume writing and applying for jobs. "It is wonderful to see such a collaborative effort in guiding and supporting our female students to achieve thriving careers in engineering", says Professor Sara Kassis, advisor to the SWE student chapter at SSU.

Additional support events are anticipated to occur throughout the semester and more information may be found on the Department's website.

"I think it is so inspiring to see successful women engineers. It feels so nice to know how they had similar concerns as we have and how they handled it." (Pictured above, from left to right: Leyla Hashemi, Sarah Memmer, Jennifer Nunn, Hanan Sedaghat Pisheh, Neveia Chappell and Sara Kassis.)