In my first blog post, I mentioned SWE’s Affinity Groups (AGs); over the past semester, I have been in contact with the lead for each AG to learn more about each and to learn some ways that grad students can get involved. It is my pleasure to share this information with the gradSWE community through this post.
What is an affinity group?
Claudia Galván, the SWE Affinity groups lead, says:
“The SWE Affinity Groups (AGs) are communities of individuals who share the same interests and goals… The focus of these groups is to build community, provide professional development and recognition opportunities.”
The affinity groups are currently being reorganized and have been grouped under two umbrellas:
- Diversity and Inclusion Networks: Latinos, African-American, Native American, LGBTQ
- Business Networks: Women in Government, Entrepreneurs, Small Business and Global Engineers.
More information about this reorganization and the affinity groups themselves will be in an upcoming SWE All Together article.
How can I get more involved?
If after reading the descriptions of the AGs below, you would like to get more involved with one, then Facebook is a great way to see what specific events and activities a given AG is up to. If you have more questions, then email Claudia Galván (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she would be happy to answer them.
A current priority of the AGs is building their leadership pipeline; they are looking for leads for Building Community, Professional Development and Awards. If getting involved with a given AG or the program as a whole sounds interesting to you, then email Claudia Galván, SWE AG Lead (email@example.com).
Meet the AGs:
The African-American AG is led by Rose Margaret Itua, Associate Professor of Engineering, Ohlone College. The group is focusing on developing the partnership with NSBE (SWE and NSBE have a joint membership!) and bringing a voice and representation of the African-American Community into the industry.
Follow them on Twitter #SWEAfricanAmericanAG and #SWExNSBE or like them on Facebook: : https://www.facebook.com/groups/1726422537620243/
The Entrepreneurs AG is led by Courtney Sanders, Entrepreneur at ExecuVentures and Katherine Culbert Co-Founder at K and K Process. The Entrepreneurs AG is focused on creating a community to share resources and help support startups in various stages of development. Their current priority is to build the entrepreneurs community to show that entrepreneurship is a viable career path for female engineers.
Follow them on Twitter: #SWEEntrepreneursAG or Join their FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/188431004915171/
The Global Engineers, led by Davida Gondohusodo located in Jakarta, Indonesia, is a global community which consists of SWE international members including expats and Friends of SWE to develop a network and provide professional development and empowerment opportunities. During their first year, the priorities of the Global Engineers are to:
- Build the leadership team,
- Understand the needs of the global (non US) community,
- Work with the ambassadors and senators to come up with an overall international strategy aligned with the SWE Membership Committee Goals.
You can join their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1101289266633848/
Ivelisse Del Valle Figueroa is the Co-chair of the Latinos AG Affinity Group. Their group comprises of people from Latino backgrounds and diversity allies. Their goals is to build a community of SWE Latino members, and provide professional opportunities and empowerment. This year they are providing visibility to their members by spotlighting them on their Facebook group and encouraging their members to engage in speaking opportunities and award nominations. They are also highlighting SWE’s partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Graduate students may find a lot of opportunities through their AG, including: learning about speaking opportunities to talk about their research and getting recognized for their work. They are eager to engage more graduate students and would love to hear from gradSWE members on how to do this better.
Here is the link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1796372620644033/
LGBTQ & Allies AG is led by Marcie, an Electrical Engineer at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning (LGBTQ) students and employees face unique challenges in college and in the workplace, and this group is focusing on helping members navigate those challenges, as well as being a resource to SWE leadership. The privacy and safety of our LGBTQ members is key. The group is growing the partnership with the National Organization of LGBTQ Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP), and bringing a better understanding, voice and representation of LGBTQ engineers in the industry and within SWE.
Follow them on Twitter: #SWELGBTQAG and join their FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1408337772528054/
Also, since privacy is important, anyone can have their name added to the LGBTQ and Allies email list by contacting Claudia. Emails are sent with the list blind copied.
The Native American AG is led by Laura Smith-Velazquez, Sr. Systems Engineer/Cognitive Scientist at Rockwell Collins. Native Americans represent a very small percentage of engineering graduates and face unique challenges including lack of critical mass. The group is focusing on developing the partnership with AESIS and bringing a voice and representation to the Native American Community in the industry.
Follow us on Twitter #SWENativeAG and join the SWE Native American FB page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/18843, 1004915171/
The Small Business Affinity Group is led by Stephanie DeCotiis, Senior Project Engineer at H2M architects + engineers, and Heather Bernardin, Senior IT Consultant at KSM Technology Partners. Employees of small businesses have their own dynamics and challenges. This group is focusing on building a network and sharing resources to support SWE members who are employees of small business. This group also seeks to be a resource for information and feedback of the small business perspective to other SWE committees and groups. This AG is new to SWE and is in its first year. If you’re interested in participating, please follow along on social media, or reach out to the group leads.
Follow along on Twitter: #SWESmallBusinessAG and join their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SWESmallBusinessAG
The Women in Government AG is led by Dr. Ruth Jones, Mishap Investigation Specialist at the NASA Safety Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Women in Government in Engineering are a strong contingency focusing on supporting and developing women in the engineering profession within the government framework. Join Women in Government AG- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1845889725680220/