by Millie Zhu and Allison Kleber

Women are traditionally a minority in engineering, though many dedicated current and aspiring female engineers are hard at work to even that playing field. With this in mind, ECE sponsored six current students to attend the Society of Women Engineers’ WE22, the largest conference for women in engineering and technology in the world, this past October. The experiences they had in Houston made a lasting and overwhelmingly positive impact on the students who participated.

six BU ECE undergraduate students stand together in front of a SWE22 sign
L-R: Danielle Nadira ’24; Sunni Lin ’24; Jiawei Zhao ’23; Mia Hernandez ’23; Saraja Kadambari (MS) ‘J23; Hao Yu (PhD) ’25

“On the first day, I was shocked by just how much was going on,” enthused Sunni Lin ‘24, who left the event with an internship offer in hand. “At one corner, coffee chats with a recruiter for cybersecurity; at another, posters featuring research from female scientists […] on the first floor, in a size capacity of several ballrooms, an entire career fair with booths sprawling with incredible companies; and docked in tens of rooms, talks from women in STEM about how to face the workplace, how we can use engineering to truly make an impact [societally],” and so much more. Lin described the conference as “one of the most wonderful, fulfilling experiences I’ve had;” a stimulating, supportive environment reflecting the increased influence and contributions women are making in the field.

The conference featured many excellent female keynote speakers, including Dr. Phyllis Schneck, the Vice President of Northrop Grumman, providing powerful examples of achievement. The opportunities for interviews and meetings with recruiters, meanwhile, provided potential paths for students strive towards their own dreams of success. Jiawei Zhao ‘23 felt that building rapport with recruiters was an especially vital aspect of the event.

Lin had this advice for future BU students interested in attending the conference: “go in without too detailed of a to-do list to check off. Instead, go with a near-empty list with a purely adventurous, ambitious, and excited mindset, explore and get a feel of the energy and flow of the conference, and then start building your list!” Danielle Nadira ‘24, meanwhile, felt that planning ahead could help students make the most of each day, without being overwhelmed by the many activities and options they could pursue. Either way, Nadira added, “wear comfortable shoes!”

“The conference was a really great opportunity to see so many other women passionate about what they do in engineering,” Nadira concluded. “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to get myself out of my comfort zone.” She hopes to attend again in the future, to build on what she learned this time around.