SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter - July 2021
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  SWE Pittsburgh Newsletter

Upcoming Events:


WE21: October 21st-23rd 


…And just like that, FY21 comes to an end


I want to start off by giving a shout-out to the Executive Council, who overcame the unique challenges of the year, 2020. Despite in-person events being canceled, they quickly adapted and found creative ways to offer our programming, outreach, and fundraising events completely virtual! There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes to bring the best experience to our members, and these efforts are greatly appreciated.


Most importantly, I’d like to thank you all, the members for participating and continuing to support the section. I would like to highlight some of our accomplishments for this year (in no particular order):

We started a Slack channel to engage with members more regularly
We held our first General Body Meeting, in Ages!
We were featured on the Sunday Business Page Segment on KDKA-TV
We started a YouTube Channel to aid in outreach events
We increased programming frequency to occur at least once every month
We raised funds virtually through an Indian cooking class and paper mosaic class
We continued regular updates to the newsletter, website, and social media pages

Finally, I want to mention that I will be stepping down from the President role this year. I know the new president, Samantha, will do an amazing job! I’m so thankful to have been part of the council and to have worked alongside a very amazing group of women, who are really passionate about the SWE mission, evidenced by how active each council member is in their role within the section.


Ashley Zulueta

FY21 President 




Are You Going to WE21?  Aspire to Inspire!

October 21 – 23, 2021

Indianapolis, IN




Register now and book your hotel room!  SWE’s annual conference, WE21, will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana from October 21-23, 2021.  

Indianapolis is just a 6-hour drive from Pittsburgh so we hope many SWE Pittsburgh members will attend!

The theme this year is Aspire to Inspire!  Inspire change in engineering! Get ready to learn from one another and grow as individuals to impact the industry in profound ways.  We promise that the strong, diverse women you meet and learn from will leave you feeling personally inspired and reinvigorated to take on the world.


Click here to Register for WE21

Click here for WE21 Hotel Reservations


WE21 Prices:


Registration Type & Options

WE21 Price – Early Bird: 

On or before 9/20/2021

WE21 Virtual Only Price

Professional SWE Member



Retired or Unemployed Members



Professional – Career Fair Only SWE Member



Collegiate SWE Member





Professionals: Earn a $125 registration refund post-event by being a volunteer for WE21 or Invent It. Build It. (IIBI) STEM Outreach event. To be eligible for the volunteer refund, you must check in for your shift at the WE21 volunteer room and complete your shift. Positions are limited, so please sign-up today! 

Sign up to Volunteer:


Read more about WE21 on the WE21 website:

Please let us know if you are planning to attend, either in-person or virtually!  Send an email to


Volunteer Opportunity 


Are you still looking for the perfect volunteer opportunity? SWE Pittsburgh is still looking for a Social Media Chair.

This chair is responsible for creating and managing SWE Pittsburgh's social media strategy through our various channels; Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.Typical posts highlight events, members, leadership and SWE membership benefits.

In addition, they would be invited to the monthly section meetings with the SWE Pittsburgh Board to help and have input on section planning.

Please email with any questions or interest in the position!


Congratulations to our FY22 Chairs!

If you are interested in volunteering with SWE Pittsburgh, please reach out to We are still looking for a social media chair for this upcoming year.



Newsletter Editor: Cassandra Solarczyk

Membership co-Chair: Mary Ann Walsh and Carol Pan

Collegiate Liaison: Laura T. and Sarah Guza

Job Bank Coordinator: Dorothy Measures

Outreach Co-Chair: Deepika Devarajan  

Certificate of Merit Program Chair: Claire Bradshaw

Fundraising Chair: Jay Iyengar

Social Media Chair: TBD

Webmaster: Erica Stevens

YouTube Manager/Chair: Mikayla Fernchaw

Data Officer: Chuck Bleil

Professional Development Day Planning Chair: Amrutha Ramesh 


Welcome to FY22! Stay in touch with SWE by renewing your membership by logging into the SWE member portal and clicking My Payment Notices or My Order Details on the left hand side.
When you renew today, your membership will be active for all of FY22 ending on June 30, 2022. 

​​​​​Thank you renewing members!

In June, the following SWE Pittsburgh members have paid and renewed their membership in SWE for FY22 : 

Natalie Angeline Amos, Tama Bentley, Lydia Berger, Amber Bohin, Lindsay Bonn, Naga Shreya Boppudi, Anna Borenstein, Rika Carlsen, Jacqueline J. Cochrane PE, Katherine Collington, Elizabeth Foster, Reneicia Frazier (welcome back to SWE!), Sarah A. Guza, Ashmita Hoskote, Jayashree Iyengar, Veronica Jaime Lara, Natee' Johnson, Jennifer Genie Jung, Tashwin Khurana, Jennifer Konikowski, Danielle Larson, Melissa E. Martinez, Casey McBride, Deborah Mort, Samantha Orlando, Linda Pirollo, Jennifer Ploskina, Amrutha Ramesh, Rebecca Rugh, Azin Shamshirgaran, Beth Skibicki, Danielle Skolnekovich, Cassandra Solarczyk, Hannah Starek, Deborah Stauver, Erica Stevens, Karlie Tomich, Deborah Tomko, Mikayla Rose Trost, and Rebecca Voss.


SWE Pittsburgh STEM Outreach Looking Back –
Looking Forward for a Few Good Leaders


SWE Pittsburgh had a phenomenal year of STEM Outreach, even during the midst of the pandemic.  We are looking for a few good volunteer leaders to help keep the momentum going by “owning” a portion of our STEM Outreach program as a Chair.


Highlights of SWE Pittsburgh STEM Outreach in FY21 (July 2020 through June 2021)

- We developed and ran six different virtual SWENext programs reaching 123 girls to encourage them to consider engineering as a career.

- We were invited to present multiple virtual sessions in 7 different classrooms on topics such as famous women in engineering, how engineers use math, what computer scientists do, and engineering types.  We reached over 500 students.

- We created 10 videos for Carnegie Science Center's Engineers Week (6th-12th grades) and STEM Adventure (2nd-5th grades) events. Over 3500 students saw at least one of the videos.  Afterwards, we uploaded the videos to our new YouTube Channel to further promote viewing of the videos.

- We sponsored SWE awards and judged at three local STEM competitions: Future City, Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS), and Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF).

- We expanded our Certificate of Merit Program, with 45 high schools participating, and recognized 133 girls. We presented certificates in-person at 8 schools' award ceremonies reaching over 1000 parents and students with SWE's message.

- We co-led four Parents Programs with the University of Pittsburgh SWE section, reaching over 70 parents of 3rd to 12th graders. Our goal was to teach parents why engineering is a good career choice for their daughters.

- We found 13 mentors or one-time advisers for 10 high school girls to talk to.

- 42 SWE Pittsburgh members volunteered for at least one STEM Outreach event!  That is a new all-time high!  Thank you!!!


Given the complexity of the total STEM Outreach program, we would like to segment parts of the program into bite-sized pieces, with each piece being run by a “Chair”.  We’ve already done that with our Certificate of Merit Program, with Claire Bradshaw agreeing to be Chair of the program this upcoming year.


Here are the Chair positions still available.  This would be a good way to learn leadership, planning, and communication skills while helping encourage the next generation of women engineers.


- SWENext Programming Chair –

Would create programming for the SWENexters in Pittsburgh (at least one program every two months), both virtual and in-person. (Year round)

- SWENext Mentor/Advisor Program Chair –

Would match up high school students with mentors or one-time advisors from our section. (We have 200+ members to reach out to.)  Would also handle any requests we get for job shadowing or talking with an engineer, matching up a SWE member with a student. (Year round)

- Carnegie Science Center (CSC) Events Chair –

Would field “requests for participation” from CSC and find volunteers to participate in those events.  This year we participated in ChemFest, SciTech Days, Engineer Your Future (engineers' week), and STEM Adventure. (September – March)

- STEM Outreach for Schools Chair –

Would field requests from schools for participation in their STEM nights, virtual classroom visits, science fairs, etc.  Would find volunteers from among our members to participate and decide on hands-on activities to do. (September – May)

- SWE-Sponsored Competitions Chair –

Would handle the details for the three competitions where we sponsor awards: Future City, PJAS, and PRSEF.  Would interact with the hosting organization, advertise for volunteers, find judges, etc. (December – March)

If you are interested in being a Chair, or just getting more involved, please reach out to  We can create a “bite-sized” volunteer leader role for you!


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


Please welcome the following members to our Pittsburgh SWE Section:

Katherine Collington | Professional Member

Tama Bentley | Professional Member; B.S. Nuclear Engineering/Engineering Physics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; employed as Senior Technician, Eaton

Randi Ling | Professional Member; B.S. Electromechanical Technology/Electromechanical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Altoona; employed as Process Improvement Engineer, PepsiCo   

Macey Hanes | Professional Member; B.S. Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering, Robert Morris University; employed as Project Engineer, Smith & Nephew  

Carmen Fernandez Fisac | Professional Member; PhD Candidate and La Caixa Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University

Renee Distefano | Professional Member; B.S. Biotechnology, Penn State University; employed as Senior Process Technology Engineer, Cleveland-Cliffs

Carinna Leigh Lapson | Collegiate Member; Engineering Physics student at Westminster College (PA)

Olivia Fernau | Professional Member; Electrical & Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering student at Carnegie Mellon University; Cognitive New Products Engineering Intern, IBM

Alexandra Leroux | Professional Member; B.S. and M.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines; employed as Account Manager, Solar Turbines

Eliza N Porterfield | Professional Member; B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines; employed as a Field Service Supervisor, Solar Turbines


SWE Pittsburgh presently has 202 members. We’re very glad you’ve joined us. We look forward to seeing you at our future events!

Please remember to keep your SWE profile up-to-date - 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). Members’ information is how we keep in touch with you and it is not shared outside of SWE

Click Here to add us to your Google Calendar! Stay up to date on Events with SWE!

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:
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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 
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Step 4: Search for the Pittsburgh, PA Location

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

SWE Pittsburgh FY22 Leadership
President: Samantha Orlando
Vice President-Programming: Elizabeth Foster
Vice President-STEM Outreach : Mary Zeis
Secretary:  Lindsay Bonn
Treasurer: Kim Daloise
Membership Chair: Carol Pan, Mary Ann Walsh
Webmaster: Erica Stevens
Newsletter Editor: Cassandra Solarczyk
Job Bank Coordinator: Dorothy Measures
Social Media Chair:TBD
Fundraising Chair: Jay Iyengar and Meaghan Shea
Outreach Committee: Deepika Devarajan - Co-Chair;
Claire Bradshaw (Certificate of Merit program), Mikayla Ferchaw (YouTube Channel) 
Collegiate Section Liaison: Laura Traczynski
Data Officer: Chuck Bleil
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?

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