Notre Dame’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is one of the largest student organizations on campus.
With monthly meetings and a calendar filled with events ranging from professional development sessions to service and mentorship, SWE provides our women engineers with lots of opportunities to connect.
“The group provides connection and professional development,” says group advisor Victoria Goodrich, associate teaching professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “It’s a really active group and the students who are involved are really dedicated.”
“The goal of SWE is to create a place for women in engineering to grow and realize their dreams,” adds current SWE president Sarah Wells ’24.
She says this includes organizing social events for women in engineering to encourage each other and learn from each other as well as orchestrating professional and career-related opportunities for women in engineering to develop their careers and professional interests.
She began by attending some of the social events, getting to know other women engineers. In her sophomore year, she served as the co-corporate sponsorship director setting up corporate sponsorship events for the organization. Last year, as a junior, Wells was the professional development director and this year she is serving as president, which she says is a “huge honor.” As president, she works with a team of officers and directors to build SWE and ensure its growth into the future.
Meet SWE President Sarah Wells below and learn more about the great work of SWE!
What is the mission of the Society of Women Engineers?
The goal of SWE is to create a place for women in engineering to grow and realize their dreams.
This includes organizing social events for women in engineering to encourage each other and learn from each other as well as orchestrating professional and career-related opportunities for women in engineering to develop their careers and professional interests.
In what ways does SWE support women engineers on campus?
First and foremost, SWE provides a community for women at Notre Dame to support each other along their journey through engineering. Beyond that, SWE also provides numerous career related opportunities, including “eat and greet” meetings with our corporate sponsors and the opportunity to attend the SWE National Conference, which is an amazing opportunity and is where I learned about and applied for my current internship.
SWE also provides community service opportunities, leadership opportunities within the organization, and support for incoming students and freshmen through our recruitment efforts and big/little events, where upperclassmen mentor younger students and help them along their journey.
Every year, SWE provides something different with its core foundation based upon community, career opportunities, and community service.
What is your favorite thing about being part of SWE and why?
My favorite part of SWE is the community. Certainly, the SWE National Conference and the other career related events that SWE hosts have been helpful for me—and I received my current internship through these opportunities—but the organization really thrives off of the community that it creates.
I was able to meet so many inspiring upperclassmen as a young freshman and now, I am able to build and learn from the underclassmen myself. I almost decided engineering was not for me as a freshman and a sophomore but, seeing the humanity in the upperclassmen and learning that failure does not mean that engineering was not for me helped me continue with mechanical engineering which is something that I am now extremely passionate about.
The community of SWE is special and really brings the women in engineering together at Notre Dame.
What do you think is special about Notre Dame’s chapter of SWE?
I’ve said this numerous times, but it most definitely is the community. Our mentors, [professors] Victoria Goodrich and Kerry Meyers, have helped SWE remember its ideals of building up women in engineering and the organization has only grown in this respect in the three years I have been a part of SWE.
I have heard of many SWE organizations at other schools that focus much more on the career and professional development opportunities, but Notre Dame’s chapter has taken a different approach. Building up the people, helping them become strong, confident women, ready to achieve whatever goals they have for their future is how SWE grows the next generation of women in engineering—and this could not be more true than with the community at Notre Dame.