“Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”
Audre Lorde
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A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin  

'Change is made of choices, and choices are made of character.' ~ Amanda Gorman from Call Us What We Carry.

'When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing. In testing times, we became the best of things.' ~ Amanda Gorman from her poem "The Miracle of Mourning."

For many of us, we are in the midst of a transition - returning to the office, changing jobs or bosses, considering a new career, nearing the end of the school year, adjusting to retirement.

With May as Mental Health Awareness Month, we need to recognize that times of transition are a great teacher and are often tough. With this in mind, we must remember to be patient and kind to ourselves.

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949. There has always been a focus on physical heath.  Recently, there is surge in content and a focus on mental health. The pandemic has reasserted the need for social connection and the importance of family, friends and community. It has also highlighted the need for self-care. With mental and physical health often intertwined, we must focus on both for our own well-being.

Stress, life challenges, and even mental health conditions are very common. The Mental Health America website estimates that nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year and 46% of Americans experience a diagnosable mental health condition sometime during their lifetime. 

Here's how SWE Central Illinois may support you this month. SWE CI is hosting a session on 'Prevention & Creative Ways to Beat Burnout' with Dr. Robyn McKay.  And if you, like me, believe in the power of nature to replenish our spirits and restore balance to our lives, join us for a family friendly hike at Robinson Park.

For this month and always, I urge you all to take a little time to step away from stress and to just chill. Mental health means something different to each one of us  – take breaks, go on vacation, focus on good sleep habits, connect with others, meditate, enjoy your pets, nurture your hobbies and interests, and pause. This is my wish for you. Here are some of my chill moments from this week - slowing down to really watch a hummingbird at a feeder, experienced the progression of a lunar eclipse with my family, saw my first lightening bug of the year, and currently listening to crickets at dusk while I write this note.

Yours through SWE,

FY23 SWE-CI Election Results

We are happy to present the newly elected SWE Central Illinois FY23 Leaders!  

For FY23, the following members have been elected. Thank you to everyone who voted and participated in the election process.

Committee chairs will be appointed and announced shortly. If you're interested in joining a committee, please contact Thuong Le at We appreciate your contributions to SWE!

Committee Updates

Membership Committee

Renew FY23 Membership:

Renew your SWE membership for the FY23 year (7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023). All members must use their SWE member credentials to log in and register.
If you would like to ask your manager for membership support check-out this site -

April Events

Professional Development Committee:
Awards Ceremony: 

On May 12th, 2022, SWE-CI Annual Award Ceremony and Speaker event were hosted at the Peoria Women’s Club in downtown Peoria. During this event, the Central Illinois chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) gave special recognitions to four Caterpillar engineers from its membership of over 250 people. 

Heather Ulrich: Distinguished Member Award for a nominee who has demonstrated outstanding support and participation in the furthering of technical understanding or interest in young women.

Kadé Diallo: Outstanding Advocate Award in recognition of a nominee who has demonstrated outstanding advocacy for women and girls in engineering and technology.

Christy Lee: Outstanding Engineer Award in recognition of a qualified engineer who has made significant contributions in the field of engineering and/or technical management.

Holly Teig: Pillar of Support Award in recognition of a nominee who has consistently and continuously supported SWE’s mission and organization.


After the award ceremony, Executive Director Tara Ingham from Midwest Food Bank, Bloomington-Normal shared her personal stories and insightful leadership journey on the topic of Lessons in Leadership at a Non-Profit Organization. She talked about leadership readiness and interactively navigated through her 4Fs: Foundation, Function, Facilitate, and Focus. For complete presentation material, please visit the following link:

The event was hosted by the SWE-CI Professional Development committee co-chair Bethany Thimote and member Morgan Nash. The event was well-received by over 30 participants from women engineers, award winners, winners’ family members, and their supporters. Commendable work from all supporting members from the SWE-CI Professional Development committee. 

If you participated in the ceremony and would like to provide feedback, please visit.


Work Life Integration Committee:
Painting Workshop with SWE-CI : 

SWE-CI members, family and friends enjoyed a lovely Spring afternoon at the Potting Shed Art Studio in Metamora painting a monarch butterfly with their own variation of spring blooms. The paintings all turned out beautiful and unique, just like our SWE-CI members. Members also enjoyed light snacks and a little bit of networking as well. Come join us in our next WLI event.


Bradley University

Senior Upgrade Dinner:

On April 26th, we held the Senior Dinner for the Spring Graduates from Bradley University.  Four students attended along with the Bradley SWE Faculty Advisor Dr. Julie Reyer.  Congratulations Seniors and we wish you the best in your new careers! 



Graduating Senior Dinner for SWE-Illinois:

On April 30th, SWE-Illinois, along with the incoming and the outgoing section counselors recognized some of the most active seniors from the collegiate section.

These seniors were involved in supporting SWE-Illinois in a variety of ways throughout their time at UIUC, including some who held various officer board positions. We want to wish these fourteen new engineering professionals best wishes on the next phase of their journey.

The graduating seniors in attendance were Stephanie Mireles, Natasha Sawant, Breanna Chan, Dhruvi Kalariya, Alisha Riles, Ashmitha Dandamudi, Katelyn Lai, Simran Desai, Kristin Lai, Colleen Golden, Emily Recupido, Anna States, Haley Middendorf, Vaishali Tikoo.


Bloomington-Normal / Decatur / Champaign Area

Membership Hike:

On April 23rd, the Decatur Area Reps teamed up with the Bloomington and Champaign Area Reps to organize a hike and picnic at a local state park. The group got the chance to enjoy the nice weather with a hike through the woods and socialize with SWE members from multiple locations over lunch! 


Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming events. 
Outreach Committee

STEM Program:
When: June 16, 23, & 30 
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: Brimfield Library

Morton GEMS:
When: Tuesday, June 21
Time: 4:30 PM
Location: Morton Public Library

4G STEM Camp:
When: Wednesday, June 22
Time: TBD
Location: Caterpillar Tech Center

Materials Engineering Camp:
Know any high school students interested in Chemistry, Science, Engineering? The Peoria ASM Chapter has openings in their free summer camp.  
When: July 25 - 28
Time: Meet at 8 AM - 4 PM
See flyer in weekly email for additional details 

Professional Development Committee

Prevention & Creative Ways to Beat Burnout with Dr. Robyn McKay:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  To raise awareness of mental health in the workplace, the SWE-CI Professional Development and Work Life Integration committees are excited to host a Facebook Live session with Dr. Robyn McKay on burnout recovery and prevention.  This event will be held on Wednesday, May 25 at 5pm Central time on the SWE-CI Facebook page.  We hope you’ll join us for this discussion! 

When: Wednesday, May 25
Time: 5 PM
Where: SWE-CI Facebook Page


Work Life Integration Committee

SWE Hike: 
Join us for a family friendly hike (1-1.5 miles long) – spouses/significant others and kids welcome! 
When: Sunday, May 22 at 3:30pm (in case of rain, event will be rescheduled or cancelled)
Where: Meet at the Robinson Park North parking lot (official address is 400 West Mossville Road, Peoria, but the parking lot near the trailhead is slightly down the road from there – you will know you’re in the right place if you see parking lots on both sides of the street).  
RSVP: If you plan to attend, please let Marie Hoy know ( so we know who to expect.

Membership Brunch:
We are excited to bring back the Annual Membership Brunch.  We hope you will be able to join us for a time for fellowship and an enjoyable meal. 
When: Saturday, June 4th 
RSVP: Invitation will be sent in separate email 

Innovative Mindset & Patent Award Recipients Recognition:
Let’s virtually celebrate and learn from Adrienne Brasche, Josenia Gerdes, Thuong Le, Snigdha Pande, and Deepashri Phatak, as the SWE Central Illinois Patent Award Winners who were recognized on the national stage of the WE2021 Conference. These women are driving innovation! We’ll hear about them and learn about their patents. Yanchai Zhang, previous Patent Award Winner from WE2020 Conference, recognized for contributing to 20+ patents will be our keynote speaker for the evening and will share her knowledge and tips on cultivating her innovative mindset through patents and the patent process.  
When: Monday, June 27th
Time: 4 - 5 PM
Where: On Teams 
Click here to join the meeting

WE22 Conference

Conference is October 20-22 in Houston, TX
Early bird pricing now through 9/30/2022 is $475 for professional members. Conference registration just opened on 5/16/2022. Michele Sullivan will be the keynote speaker at the closing celebration. 

Registration Information - WE22 (


To register or learn more, click on webinar below:

Career Journey Updates!

Please take a moment and share your career changes with us. Fill out the form here to include career updates in the monthly buzz newsletters. 

Donate to SWE!

It’s not too late to Donate to SWE-CI - If your company matches donations, take advantage of donating now for organizations to get matching payments. Click here for donations link!
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Tip: Import SWE-CI's Google Calendar -- no typing needed!

SWE Hike
Sunday, May 22
Time 3:30 PM
Meet at Robinson Park North Parking Lot
RSVP to Marie Hoy at

Prevention & Creative Ways to Beat Burnout with Dr. Robyn McKay
Wednesday, May 25
5 PM
On SWE-CI Facebook Page

Membership Brunch
Saturday, June 4
Details included in Email Invite

STEM Program:
June 16, 23, & 30 
4:30 PM
Brimfield Library

Morton GEMS:
Tuesday, June 21
4:30 PM
Morton Public Library

4G STEM Camp:
Wednesday, June 22
Time TBD
Caterpillar Tech Center

Innovation Mindset & Patent Award Recipients Recognition:
Monday, June 27
4 - 5 PM
On Teams Click here to join the meeting

Materials Engineering Camp
July 25 - 28
Time 8 AM - 4 PM
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