National recognition for JMU female engineering group


In 2011, a group of eight female engineering students gathered to discuss the possibility of forming an organization that would promote engineering among women and support female engineering students.

"This award means that we are successfully carrying out the mission and strategic plan of SWE in what we do, and also serves as validation for the hard work and effort the members have put in," — Dr. Jacquelyn Nagel

Just three years later, the group that became a chartered section of the Society of Women Engineers was recognized at the national level as the "Outstanding New Collegiate Section" of 2014. The award was announced at SWE's annual conference in October.

"JMU SWE wouldn't be where they are without the dedication and commitment the members have, and it shows by the sustainability and growth of the section over the years," said Paulina Hoang, JMU SWE counselor and alumna.

SWE works to empower women to succeed and advance in their engineering aspirations. "This award means that we are successfully carrying out the mission and strategic plan of SWE in what we do, and also serves as validation for the hard work and effort the members have put in," said Dr. Jacquelyn Nagel, the section's faculty advisor.

This semester, the JMU section focused on supporting members in their leadership development, increasing awareness of SWE in the engineering department and JMU community, and positively impacting the JMU and Harrisonburg communities by advocating for women in engineering.

The JMU section hosted a variety of professional development events including networking with professionals and engineering companies, hosting industry dinners, attending regional and national conferences, and hosting a professional dress event.

The organization also participated in outreach events designed to introduce young women to and spark their interest in engineering. "One of my favorite parts of SWE is hosting outreach events to get young girls exposed to the engineering field," said Genevieve D'Antonio, president of JMU SWE.

JMU SWE participates annually in STEM Day at the Valley Mall and the Expand Your Horizons Conference, a one-day math and science conference for girls in grades 6-10. On November 15, the organization hosted the High School Engineering Outreach Day, which introduced female high-school juniors and seniors to the field of engineering.

"The JMU SWE section has worked hard to build a strong foundation for our organization so that it will continue to thrive in the future," said D'Antonio.

For 2015, the organization plans to continue fostering the leadership potential of female engineers, be involved in the Harrisonburg community, be an inclusive and collaborative student organization, and create new events and programs that will assist in building and maintaining membership.

"Overall, the section has built a small, close-knit community among the female engineering students across academic years, which has also helped with retention in the JMU engineering program," said Nagel.

For more information on JMU SWE, you can visit their website.



By Josh Kelly ('15), JMU Public Affairs

Published Dec. 4, 2014

Published: Thursday, December 4, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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