For decades, The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has provided a unique place and voice for women within the field of engineering. Through an array of training and development programs, networking opportunities, scholarships, outreach and advocacy activities, SWE aims to establish engineering as a desirable career for women.
SWE prides themselves on promoting and encouraging women (and men), young and old in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Lauren Morrison, Vice President of NIU’s SWE and Electrical and Bio-medical Engineering major, believes in the importance of maintaining this pride and supporting other women in a male-saturated industry. #WhyEngineering
Morrison is a nontraditional student. At a young age, she knew she wanted to work with people and found the sciences interesting. As she continued to further her education and move from career to career engineering remained a constant interest in her life.
In an interview with Morrison, her enthusiasm and passion for SWE and the field of engineering was evident.
How long have you been a part of SWE and what types of responsibilities do you hold within the society?
“I have been a member of the society for three years now. I became Vice President of NIU’s SWE this year and have gained a lot more responsibilities within my position. I am responsible for recruitment and membership retention. SWE is not exclusively for women members, so I try to get women and men both involved in the society.”
Men in SWE… please explain their roles and influence on the society?
“We have two male members in SWE and they are super active. We enjoy and appreciate everything they do for the society. They assist in outreach programs we host, like going to the middle schools and teaching little kids in the fields of STEM.”
Who is your role model and why do you look up to this person?
“I would say my mother is my role model. She works in construction, which is a male-dominant industry. My mother has experienced a lot of adversaries similar to those women in the field of engineering experience and she inspires me to keep moving forward and to achieve my goals.”
How do you feel that the relationships and programs, established by SWE can contribute to the continued growth of women joining the field of engineering in the future?
“I hope that our membership will continue to grow, I hope we can continue do a lot more marketing initiatives and reach out to minority groups within the field of engineering and create a partnership. Our society aims to provide support for minorities and women in the field of engineering with each relationship and program we establish.”
Do you have a job now?
“Yes, I work for an aerospace company called, United Technologies Corporation (UTC).”
Wow, that sounds interesting. What do you like most about your current career?
“I really like the aerospace company. I work on two different systems within UTC. I work on bus power control systems and generator control systems. So essentially, these systems tell the electricity where to go in the airplane.”
“Colorful,” was the term used by Morrison to describe her journey to NIU and to the position of NIU’s SWE Vice President. After high school, Morrison became a licensed massage therapist but her thirst for knowledge, and boredom in the environment of a massage parlor, led her back to school for something more exciting. Although Morrison’s, “colorful” journey is not over yet, NIU’s SWE and CEET are lucky to call her one of their own.