SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter - March 2021
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  SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter

March is Women's History MonthFirst Day of Women History Month - Tessa International School 
Check out some great women's stories here. 
SWE General Body Meeting
Call for FY22 Officers
Upcoming Events
Indian Cooking Class Fundraiser
SWE's Participation in E-Week
February Events Recap
Future City
Member Spotlight - Erica Stevens
SWENext Recruitment

Certificate of Merit Program
Join us on Slack!
Job Postings
Welcome New Members
Google Calendar
Other Engineering Activities in Pittsburgh
Amazon Smile!
SWE Pittsburgh FY21 Leadership
SWE LinkedIn 

Upcoming Events:

General Body Meeting: March 18th
SWE Professional Development Sharing Session: Mar
ch 30th

Wikipedia Project Update: April 7th
Indian Cooking Class Fundraiser: April 10th
SWE Professional Development Day: May 22nd


SWE Pittsburgh - General Body Meeting

Thursday, March 18th - 7:00pm

Our Pittsburgh SWE Section will be hosting a virtual general body meeting! At this meeting, our officers will give updates on what we’ve accomplished so far this year and the goals that we are working towards. This meeting will not only be a great opportunity to see the inner workings of the section, but will also be a good place to give feedback, ask questions about the section itself, and meet other members. If you’re interested in getting more involved with Pittsburgh SWE, this meeting will also be a good way to learn about the different positions available prior to the close of the application period. This is our first attempt at an entire section meeting and we’re really looking forward to it!


Call for FY22 Officers

for the Society of Women Engineers Pittsburgh Section

SWE Pittsburgh is successful because of you, our members.  We need five extraordinary members to help Pittsburgh SWE, by serving in an officer role.  All officers and committee chairs participate in a SWE Pittsburgh monthly phone call.  The officers of the section are:

The major responsibilities of the Section President are to administer the business of the section, call and preside over the monthly Pittsburgh board meetings, pass on membership information from SWE, coordinate section activities, and represent the section before the public. She must submit the leadership roster to SWE headquarters. She should assist the committee chairs in establishing goals and developing strategies to achieve those goals. She must motivate section members and encourage them to contribute their ideas and energy to the section. After completing her term, the President may stay on the board as “Past President” and acts as an advisor to the new President and Executive Committee.


Plans and schedules membership meetings and engages speakers or activities for those meetings. She is responsible for making room arrangements and promoting attendance by preparing announcements for the membership meetings. She writes thank‐you notes to speakers and writes or assigns someone to write meeting summaries for the member meetings. She will arrange joint meetings with other technical societies and plan special events. She provides guidance to a programming committee.


One of the primary goals of SWE is to encourage young women to consider careers in engineering and to educate the public on the merits of an engineering career. To that end, the VP of Outreach is responsible for coordinating volunteers to speak and participate in career seminars, judge science fairs, run the Certificate of Merit program, and other K-12 Outreach programs.  She also ensures that the section’s Outreach activities are entered into SWE’s online Outreach Metric Tool.


Responsible for section finances and must maintain an accurate accounting of all income and expenditures. She must prepare a summary budget for each Executive Board meeting. She prepares and submits the IRS form. She and the president must prepare the Section Financial Report at the end of each fiscal year, and send it to SWE. The report summarizes the account activity and lists the sources of income.


Records, publishes, and distributes meeting minutes from each SWE Pittsburgh Executive Board meeting. If she cannot personally attend a meeting, she must assign someone to take the minutes for her. She also maintains the records of the section – hardcopy or Google drive, saving key section documents for the year. She manages the SWE gmail account by forwarding incoming emails to the appropriate Executive Council member to handle and by responding to some emails on behalf of SWE Pittsburgh


Section officers serve for a term of one year.  We encourage all Pittsburgh members to consider submitting your nomination for an officer role.  New officers will be mentored and guided, as desired, by the experienced members, so anyone who is willing to commit is capable of taking on a role.

Please email your nomination to  Please include your name, the officer position, and a couple of sentences bio on you, and why you are interested and how you are qualified for the officer position.



Professional Development Sharing Session: March 30th at 6:30 PM

On Tuesday, March 30th at 6:30 PM, we’ll virtually meet up to discuss various webinars on the SWE Advance Learning Center. For this session, please prepare by watching one of the webinars (your choice!) in advance. During the meeting, we’ll share what we watched, what we learned, how we might apply what we learned to our lives, and whether or not we recommend the webinar we watched. You can access the SWE Advance Learning Center here. To access the webinars, you will need to log in to your SWE account. Some of the webinars will count towards continuing education credits for professional development purposes, so be sure to look for the CEU/PDH in the description if you’re interested.


Wikipedia Project Update: April 7th at 7:30 PM

We’ve been slow to get volunteer responses or nominations, so I’ll be delaying the next stage of the Wikipedia Project until April. We’ll have a meeting on April 7th to virtually brainstorm potential nominees and get the ball rolling on the research aspect of this project. A hub of links (including ones to volunteer or to nominate) and information for the Wikipedia Project can be found using this Read-Me document.


Save the Date: Professional Development Day, May 22nd

Professional Development Day will be virtually held on Saturday May 22nd from 9AM - 1PM. Be on the lookout for an email in mid to late March with a link to register and more details on what to expect at our Professional Development Day! If your company is interested in sponsoring the event or is currently hiring and wants to attend the mixer, please email

Indian Cooking Class Fund Raiser

Online Event on Saturday, April 10th!
3:00 - 4:30 pm



Once again SWE Pittsburgh is collaborating 

with our Fund-Raising Chair, Jayashree Iyengar of Popping Mustard Seeds 

to offer our members an afternoon of Indian cooking!

This fun and delicious event is a great opportunity to support our section

Register via the link below!

This event is open to your family and friends!

The cost is $20 - $40

$20 per SWE Member
$35 per SWE Member + family
$25 non-SWE members
$40 non-SWE members + family

Register here:

Please email us if you have any questions at with the subject ‘Popping Mustard Seeds’ or ‘Indian Cooking Class’



SWE Pittsburgh’s Participation in Engineers Week


As with everything else this year, Carnegie Science Center’s Engineer the Future event, in celebration of Engineers Week, was very different.

Instead of an activity table, we were asked to provide pre-recorded content that could be shared virtually with students.

Our SWE Pittsburgh members stepped up to the challenge!  Six members recorded a “Career Chat”, discussing why they chose their engineering field, what college was like for them, and what they do now at work.  Thanks to Amrutha Ramesh, Anna Borenstein, Cassandra Solarczyk, Elizabeth Foster, Lindsay Bonn, and Mikayla Ferchaw!


In addition to the Career Chats, Mary Zeis recorded a presentation entitled “Why Should Girls Become Engineers?”.  Mary Zeis and her husband Chuck Bleil (also a SWE member) recorded another challenge, this one called “Build a Lander Challenge”.  And Janet Henke recommended that we reach out to Alexandra Delazio, a Future City alumna, to ask her to create a virtual site tour of the Pitt Tissue Integrity Lab where she works.  Alexandra happily agreed.

All the pre-recorded content was shared with 3rd to 12th grade students by the science center during the week of February 22nd.

You can view all of the videos at this link:

Going forward, SWE Pittsburgh plans to create our own YouTube channel for our videos so that they can be shared more broadly with girls interested in engineering.

Late breaking news….one more “challenge” video was produced for Carnegie Science Center’s STEM Adventures, which runs in mid-March.  This one included Mary’s great-niece Anna as a future Software Engineer, programming a “robot” to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.  Check it out at the above link!

February Events Recap

On February 11th, we heard Georgena Terry give a great talk about designing bicycle frames to better fit women’s bodies. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here! 

On February 23rd, we held a social hour where we used breakout rooms to interact with one another and play some games virtually! Thanks to all who came. Social hours are a great way to meet others in the chapter in a relaxed, fun environment. The virtual games went well and we will try it again in the future! If you use virtual tabletops and have suggestions on what games you’d like to play or games that work well virtually, please send me an email at


Pittsburgh SWE Supports Future City


Three SWE Pittsburgh members volunteered as judges for the 22nd Annual Future City Competition.  Competition Day was February 13, 2020, and the event was held virtually this year.  

Future City is a competition for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, to foster their interest in math, science, and engineering.  Teams of students design a city of the future, write an engineering-related essay, and build a scale model of their city using recycled materials.  During Competition Day, they present their city to a panel of judges.  The theme this year was "Living on the Moon!"  As part of the challenge, students were asked to provide examples of how their lunar city uses two Moon resources to keep its residents safe and healthy. 

Only 10 schools participated this year in the Pittsburgh regional competition due to the difficulty of students getting together last fall to design and build their city.  The winning school was The Ellis School.  This is the second year in a row that they won.  Congratulations!  They now move on to the National competition in March.

The Pittsburgh SWE Section supports the competition each year by donating $250 to be a Special Award sponsor at Future City.  The SWE Special Award this year was for “Best Integrated City”.  The criteria was “a city design that streamlines city operating systems and creates an effective infrastructure design for transportation, green space, communications, water delivery systems, and wastewater treatment”.

The SWE Special Award went to the Derry Area Middle School team.
Here is a picture of their model city, Nova 1.

Thanks to the Pittsburgh SWE members who volunteered as judges: Mary Ann Walsh, Chuck Bleil, and Mary Zeis.  Thanks also to Kristin Malosh, a SWE Member-at-Large, for judging. 
Finally, thanks to former Pittsburgh SWE member Katelyn Ballard for being our SWE Special Award Judge.


If you’d like to volunteer for Future City next year, watch for “request for volunteers” in next November’s newsletter.



Erica Stevens – Webmaster


Erica Stevens has been newly appointed to the role of Webmaster by the SWE Pittsburgh President, at the recommendation of the Board. Her qualifications and enthusiasm for SWE will be excellent in this role. Welcome, Erica! We asked Erica to tell us about herself: 

I (Erica Stevens) am a recent PhD graduate in Materials Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). As an undergraduate (also at Pitt), I held many positions in PittSWE, up through Vice President during my senior year. Throughout grad school, I served as advisor to the PittSWE section. I am excited to now get involved with a professional SWE section! 

I currently work at Pitt in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department, in their core research facility: the Materials Micro-Characterization Laboratory. Some of my favorite hobbies are gardening, drinking tea, baking, and Olympic weightlifting. A fun fact about me is that I have over 20 kinds of loose tea at my house right now.

Help us Recruit SWENexters!

The society Student Programs Committee is sponsoring a SWENext Recruitment Challenge.  The sections who recruit the most SWENexters by June 1st will win money to be used for STEM Outreach events.  Help us recruit SWENexters!

As of February 1st, our section had 328 SWENexters “aligned” to our SWE Pittsburgh section the most of any other professional section!  (SWENexters are aligned to a section based on their zip code, just like professional SWE members are.  Our section range includes as far south as the PA southern border near Mt. Morris PA, as far west as Wheeling WV and Steubenville OH, as far north as Hadley PA, and as far east as Smicksburg PA.)

This year’s Recruitment Challenge started on January 1st, and so far, we’ve only recruited 1 SWENexter who used our code PGHPRO when she signed up.  (The student needs to use our unique Event Code in order for us to get credit for the recruitment.)  During last year’s challenge, we recruited 15 SWENexters, so I would like to beat that number this year.

Please reach out to girls you know in Kindergarten through 12th grade who enjoy STEM.  Encourage them to sign up for SWENext using our Event Code PGHPRO.  😊

Please reach out to any science and math teachers that you know in middle school and high school and ask them to encourage their students to sign up for SWENext.  Here’s a flyer they could use:

(FYI, it actually doesn’t matter where the girl lives.  We’ll get credit no matter where they live as long as they use the Event Code.  So, if you have nieces or cousins in another state, please recruit them and ask them to use Event Code PGHPRO.  )

13 years or older - students sign up here. 

Under age 13 - parents sign up the student here. 

SWENext is a free program where girls can become a part of the SWE community before college.  SWE provides resources, content, and programming for “SWENexters”, such as scholarship tips, advice on how to prepare for college success, leadership training, awards, mentors, newsletters, contests, and advice columns.  Check out the SWENext website at

Questions about the SWENext program?  Please reach out to  She is on the society-level Student Programs Committee that is responsible for the SWENext program.

Thanks for your help in encouraging the (SWE) Next Generation of women engineers!


2021 SWE Certificate of Merit Program – Need Volunteers


The SWE Certificate of Merit Program is a way for our section to recognize and reward local high school girls who excel in math and science and are interested in engineering or technology as a career.  Each participating school can nominate a senior, a junior, and a sophomore.  The senior receives $100.  All students receive a certificate and a personal note.

42 schools participated in 2019.  34 high schools participated in 2020 (a lower number as teachers were focused on acclimating to remote learning at the beginning of the pandemic).

I need two volunteers to work with me to manage this program.  Most of the work will occur in April/May.  If you are interested, please contact me at

This year, we are inviting the 34 schools who participated in 2020, the 13 schools who participated in 2019 or a prior year, and 13 new schools who have never participated.  Invitations to participate will be sent in early March.

If you would like a school to be added to the list, please reach out to

                      Join us on Slack!
Want to connect with other Pittsburgh SWE members but not sure how?

Our Pittsburgh SWE chapter has recently created a members-only Slack workspace to keep conversing and connecting outside of traditional events.

This tool will be a resource for engaging with others over shared interests, sharing information with other members, and developing relationships with others in your field and at your career level, but these are only a few examples of the endless possibilities we have with Slack.

For more information on how we plan to use this Slack and information about Slack in general, please see this document. If you have any questions, please email

To join our Slack workspace, please sign-up here.
Check out Job Postings in the Newsletter and on the SWE Website
Are you an Employer looking to post a job?  Contact

SWE Pittsburgh Membership Updates


SWE has a new database for members – every member should have received an email from SWE headquarters with new login information. Please do create a new profile for yourself and please include your employment, education, and address; also remember to check to opt-in for SWE to send you emails (email is the main method of SWE Pittsburgh communication to our members). We appreciate your patience with the new system. As we become aware of changes to our membership roster, we will do our best to keep you, our members, informed.

Please welcome the following members to our Pittsburgh SWE Section:


Ravyn Brown | Professional member, going back to school

Madison Cox | Collegiate member, attending Slippery Rock University, Civil Engineering 2023

Danielle Larson | Professional member, Dayton University, BS Industrial Engineering, employed as Technical Proposal Manager at Eaton

Azin Shamshirgaran | Collegiate to Career member, Guilan University, BS Electrical Engineering; Tehran Polytech MS EE; Cleveland State University MS Computer Science; she is a Robotics Engineer temporarily living in Pittsburgh waiting to begin Research Assistant position at the University of California, Merced


Renewing your membership with Pittsburgh SWE Section:


Soon SWE will be offering discounts for members who renew their dues prior to the new fiscal year, watch for an email from SWE Headquarters and read this Pittsburgh newsletter for continued updates.

SWE Pittsburgh presently has 159 members. We’re glad you’ve joined us. We look forward to seeing you via our virtual events.

Click Here to add us to your Google Calendar! Stay up to date on Events with SWE!
"How-To" Add Google Calendar
  1. On your computer, open Google Calendar.
  2. On the left, next to "Other calendars," click Add  Add
  3. Enter the calendar's address in the field provided.
  4. Click Add calendar. The calendar will appear on the left side under "Other calendars."

Other Interesting Engineering Activities in Pittsburgh

The Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP) keeps an up-to-date events list for people interested in learning more about the Steel city and engineering throughout the area.

Please visit their website at:


If you know of interesting engineering events, please let us know and we will publicize it! 
Amazon Smile!

Did you know that by simply shopping on and selecting Society of Women Engineers as your supported charity, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to our Section? How awesome is that! 

If you want to put your Amazon shopping to good use, follow these steps:

Option 1: Click here:

Option 2: Follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to

Step 2: Select Choose your charity -OR- change the charity your supporting

Machine generated alternative text:
= amazons 
Search hr Societyof 
Women E ngineers 
Pitsburgh, PA 
Supporting: Society of Women Engineers 
up Location Browsing History 
Today's Deals 

Step 3: Search for Society of Women Engineers 

Machine generated alternative text:
Your Account Change Your Charity 
Choose one of our spotlight charities 
The Nature Conservancy 
The Nature Conservancy is a global organization dedicated to conserving 
the lands and waters on which all life depends. 
Select The Nature Conservancy 
Or pick your own charita 
Society of Women Engineerß 
Susan G. Komen 
Best Friends Animal Society 
American Red Cross 
Alzheimer's Association 
The Nature Conservancy 

Step 4: Search for the Pittsburgh, PA Location

Machine generated alternative text:
Society of Women Engineers 
About v 
Women's Rights 
Pittsburgh PA 


Step 5: Shop shop shop! Well, remember to shop at!

SWE Pittsburgh FY21 Leadership
President: Ashley Zulueta
Vice President-Programming: Elizabeth Foster
Vice President-STEM Outreach and Data Officer: Mary Zeis
Secretary:  Jackie Walsh
Treasurer: Kim Daloise
Membership Chair: Mary Ann Walsh
Webmaster: Erica Stevens
Newsletter Editor: Cassandra Solarczyk
Job Bank Coordinator: Dorothy Measures
Social Media Chair: Katie Gates
Fundraising Chair: Jay Iyengar and Meaghan Shea
Outreach Co-Chair: Deepika Devarajan and Rachel Upadhyay
Collegiate Section Liaison: Laura Traczynski
Nominating Committtee:Meaghan Shea-Chair, Mary Ann Walsh, Diane McMaster, and Rika Wright Carlsen
Look for us on the SWE Pittsburgh website and contact any of us by sending an email to
Would you like to sponsor SWE Pittsburgh?

Williams Companies | We Make Clean Energy Happen®

If you would like your company to be a local sponsor, contact

Join the Pittsburgh SWE Section’s LinkedIn Group

Our Pittsburgh SWE Section has a LinkedIn group.  Search for it in LinkedIn groups under “Pittsburgh SWE Section – Society of Women Engineers”.  Then, request to join the group.
This is a closed group that will only be open to our section’s members.
Why join?  You’ll have direct access to other Pittsburgh SWE members where you can:
- Ask for career advice
- Ask for work life balance advice
- Find a mentor
- Share your successes!
Copyright © 2021 Society of Women Engineers - Pittsburgh Section, All rights reserved.

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