Meaghan Paulosky, a senior biomedical engineering major and president of the Drexel chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, recently returned from the organization’s national conference in California along with her officers.
Paulosky saw a flier for SWE in her freshman year and felt that it applied to her major, so she joined. She did not get too involved at first, only attending general body meetings. In her sophomore year, however, she became chair of the chapter’s newsletter. “Newsletter was something I thought I could do, because I really like to write,” she said. Her involvement with the organization nurtured her interest in engineering.
“It’s always exciting, because I get to work with different committees,” she said. “We have 11 different committees, and I have to be aware of what each of them is doing.”
“It’s always exciting when they’re all super-motivated and as enthused as I am.”
The chapter attended the annual conference, which was hosted in Los Angeles, from Oct. 23 to Oct. 25. Paulosky explained that the event was more like a competition rather than simply being granted an award. Chapters are graded on criteria such as how successful they are and how well-attended their events are. “We placed gold for outstanding collegiate section again,” she said, referencing last year’s win. “We don’t do what we do strictly for an award, but it’s really gratifying to see that what we do, we do well.”
A few members also won individual awards. Claudia Gutierrez, who was the president last year, ranked within the Top 10 of a poster competition. Paulosky won a scholarship.
“[The conference] was bittersweet. It was my third one,” she said. “The first time I went … it completely changed my life to meet those motivated and powerful women.”
“This [year’s conference] was everything that I hoped it would be.”
While president, Paulosky’s chapter has had its membership increase by 70 percent, started technical workshops for middle school and high school students, held events about networking and alternative professional skills, ran wellness workshops and acquired a bid to host the SWE meeting for Region E in 2015.
When asked what her proudest accomplishment as president, however, Paulosky could not come up with a precise answer. “That’s really really hard, because we had a really good year.” She noted that the officers were enthused and good at explaining concepts, which led to an increase in members.
The chapter holds weekly officer meetings on Sundays, as well as a wellness event most Tuesdays and various other events during the course of a month. The group has hosted events for middle schoolers and high schoolers such as “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” and “Introduction to Podcasting.” It also participates in events like Philly Spring Clean-Up Day. Within the chapter, members hold study sessions and form teams for 5Ks. The group also fosters awareness about applying for jobs. Its website includes advice on what not to put on a resume and its LinkedIn group features discussions and practice interview questions.
She also observed that the members develop skills and acquire experience that they can apply to jobs. “It’s kind of satisfying to see that the work we do has value in the end.”
The Drexel SWE chapter has a president, a vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer, seven directors and 13 chairs. The group recently held elections for next year’s directors. The vice-president, Samantha Schneider, will succeed Paulosky as president. Applications for chair positions will be available soon.As previously mentioned, the chapter will host a regional SWE conference in 2015 Feb. 20 to Feb. 22. Paulosky explained that the group submitted a bid to host the event around this time last year. Two other schools were also heavily considered. The remainder of the region’s members voted on which chapter should host the event, and Drexel SWE was chosen.
“On our end, we have a conference chair, junior Jasmin Patel, who’s working extremely hard,” Paulosky said. She added that this conference may be larger than those in previous years, and that the event helps the chapter get more involved with the rest of the region.
Paulosky hopes to revolutionize the medical industry using her biomedicine and engineering skills. In the chapter’s most recent newsletter, she wrote that she is “ready to complete [her] degree at one of the most innovative universities on the planet, in a field [she’s] not only chronically curious about, but one that is growing faster than [she] can anticipate.”
SWE was founded in 1950. Its mission statement promises that the organization will stimulate women to achieve full potential as a positive force in improving the quality of life and demonstrate the value of diversity.