Friday, June 9, 2017

FIRST Robotics Women in STEM Reception 2017, Part I of IV

At the annual FIRST Robotics Competition in Oklahoma City, high school robotics teams compete. Each year the Society of Women Engineers, Oklahoma City Section, hosts a reception to encourage and empower female team members to pursue engineering, believe in themselves, and support each other.

  • Table mentors who are engineers or college engineering students
  • A panel of speakers (or a speaker)
  • Interaction between team members and engineers
  • Relevant, interesting information
  • Tasty reception food

The panelists' questions and answers are among three posts along with photos and more.

  • Ask for help.
  • Support each other
  • Classes can be hard; don't be discouraged.
  • Engineering involves field work and variety.
  • Women engineers are not stereotypes.
  • Engineering, highly flexible, offers extensive opportunities.

Jessica Steffan Dano
Building Automation and Energy Services Sales Engineer, TraneJessica graduated from Penn State University in 2013 with a degree in biomedical engineering. Following graduation, she spent two years working as a project engineer for a midstream oil and gas company.

Addison Schwamb, computer engineering minoring in mathematics, Oklahoma Christian University, SWE Freshman Representative

Addison grew up moving all over the country, but she currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Right now, she really enjoys her engineering fundamentals class, where she is building a robot from scratch.

Caroline Heller, SWE OKC Vice President, Assistant Engineer, Olsson Associates

Caroline graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2015 with a bachelor of science degree in biosystems engineering. In 2016, she became a certified floodplain manager in Oklahoma. She has experience in water resources, environmental and roadway projects.
Abby Smith, Systems Engineering, University of Oklahoma

Abby expects to graduate in May 2019 and then pursue a master of Business Administration.

Panel Q&A, I-III

1. What is the favorite aspect of your job or classes?

I love interacting with new people and helping my customers run their buildings more efficiently.  Also, I really enjoy that every day is different and that I have control over my schedule.
Jessica Dano, biomedical engineer

My favorite classes are the project based ones, because I can see how far I've come since the beginning of the semester and because I enjoy doing the projects. Right now I am building a robot in one of my classes, and I've really enjoyed that.
Addison Schwamb, computer engineering, Oklahoma Christian University

I love that my job includes field work and site visits. I am primarily behind a computer, but I
welcome the chance to go explore nature.
Caroline Heller, biosystems engineer

One of the best things about my engineering classes here at OU is that I’ve made a lot of friends through these classes. It’s been nice having these friends because they understand the importance of school, so it’s easy to relate to one another and develop friendships. Another thing I like is that I have the same professors and will continue to have them throughout my college career. 
Abby Smith, systems engineering, University of Oklahoma

Dano table-mentoring without a table

2. What is an interesting fact about you or a hobby? (Or more than one) [You are letting them identify with you or know they are just like you.]

I used to own a business where I went to restaurants and made balloon animals! I still bring my balloons out from time to time and it was a great job for me during high school and for college summers.  Now, I love working out and spending time with friends and my husband and puppy! I also love to craft occasionally as well!
Jessica Steffan Dano, engineer

My hobby is choir; I sing in the University Chorale which is great stress relief.
Addison Schwamb, OCU

I enjoy baking, mostly cookies and desserts. I’m always on Pinterest looking for new recipes to try! I also have a German Shepherd, Katy, who loves belly rubs!
Caroline Heller, engineer

An interesting fact about me is that I graduated high school with 41 other classmates in Fairview, a rural town in northwest Oklahoma. One thing I enjoy doing outside of school is to run.
Abby Smith, OU

Engineers volunteering at the Women in Stem Reception

3. Many people have a stereotype that engineers are crazy, stuffy old male scientists. In your experience, what do other engineers and/or engineering students do and look like? [Make a connection that women engineers are breaking the stereotypes.]

I majored in biomedical engineering at Penn State and had a really great core group of girlfriends. This group of friends has gone on to do so many different things. A couple work for consulting companies and are helping companies increase performance, a couple are going through medical school and will be incredible doctors in the near future, and I even have two friends who have had international opportunities and have lived and worked in Europe.  As an engineer, I am working in technical sales. Female engineers are everywhere from construction/manufacturing industries to medical school to law school!
Jessica Steffan Dano, engineer

Most engineering students I know are regular college students, though they do tend to be a little on the nerdy side. I have several female engineering role models, however, who always impress me with how intelligent, put-together, and professional they are all the time.
Addison Schwamb,OCU

At my office, most of the engineers are designing roads and bridges using several computer programs. Most engineers are adult males- some young, some old, mostly white, but also some international men as well.
Caroline Heller, engineer

The stereotype of women engineers is that all of us are nerdy, anti-social, and awkward, however, this is far from who we are. There are so many different types of women that are enrolled in an engineering program - from athletes, Pride members, and everything in between. We are dedicated to school, but we take time out of studying and classes to have fun and be social like everyone else is. 
Abby Smith, OU

Table mentors and mentees interacted well. Left, Erin Roark.

A Camdenton, Missouri, teammate
and a vibrant table mentor

Claire and Norma from Pryor Creek's MCROBO team

Teammates from Camdenton, Missouri,
had so much enthusiasm and fun.

Scwamb, Smith and Dano

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