Society of Women's Engineers

MSU Texas students excited for SWE chapter

Abegail Henderson loves math. Jhymani Joseph is really into mechanical engineering. Germiamah Junkere embraces all the ways math is going to translate into real life. Amber Seward is planning a career as a biomedical engineer.

They all want women to have more opportunities to realize their potential in math, science, and engineering as part of a bright future. Another step in that process was completed as the female engineers at Midwestern State University were officially recognized with a charter from the Society of Women’s Engineers.

SWE was formed in 1950 and became a national organization in 1953. Its mission statement is to empower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders. SWE aims to expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life and also further demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.

“It’s very important because it’s an organization that can bring us opportunities and shows us support,” said Henderson, the charter president, and a junior engineering student.

There will be chances to attend conferences, more resources for MSU Texas female students, and increased job opportunities nationally and internationally.

“We can only do so much internally,” Dr. Margaret Brown Marsden, Dean of the McCoy College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering said. “And with SWE, they can reach out to national organizations. SWE helps us grow not only a group of women students but connects us to the national network to give these young women an opportunity for jobs and mentorship.”

The students are excited to have earned the SWE charter, too.

“We’ve been trying for a long time (to become an official chapter),” said Joseph, a sophomore and the vice president for SWE at MSU Texas. “It opens up a lot of new doors for us; becoming a part of the national and international SWE community is great for us.”

Joseph is looking forward to attending conferences to network. “We’ll have official SWE gear that says Midwestern State University on it. Being a part of the process when we became official, it makes me happy.”

The members of SWE participated in a Math, Science & U Girls Conference for younger girls in grades 6-8 on Nov. 16.

“It’s great being a part of this group and influencing other girls who are looking up to us, and they think, oh, I can be an engineer, too,” Joseph said. “When I was young, I never thought I would be doing engineering, especially not mechanical engineering.”

Henderson has long been drawn to math and numbers. And more women will have a chance to follow her path.

“I thought about what I could do with my math skills,” Henderson said. “We can get women to become interested in engineering and to be leaders in engineering. They will have a chance to meet other women just like them in STEM. We want to help show women they can be engineers just like men.”

Junkere, a junior member of SWE at MSU Texas, pursued her goals in mathematics but has noticed the classes were mostly filled with males. She believes there will be more women like her see engineering as an option in the future.

“I love mathematics, which is mostly why I got into engineering,” Junkere said. “I’m more of a mathematician than an engineer, and I like being able to apply math to everyday life.”

Brown Marsden said the percentage of females in engineering is 14 percent and has wavered from 14-19 percent. She forecasts growth in that area.

“A modest goal is to get to 25 or 30 percent, and that can be achieved one student at a time,” Brown Marsden said. “Making one student at a time comfortable; make them see the curriculum is possible. We’ve navigated this field, and we have someone to help them get there.”

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