“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”

– Maya Angelou 

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A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin

Hello Central Illinois SWE Members!
Autumn is a beautiful time of year in central Illinois. The many hues of red, purple, orange, yellow, burgundy and bronze create a patchwork of fall colors that reflect the beauty and the diversity of the over two hundred tree species in our state.
With nature's color changes, there is a feeling of excitement in the air. For me that excitement extended to finding the SWE Magazine in my mailbox last Friday. I poured over the articles such as the one on male allies and enjoyed seeing familiar faces of SWE CI members, past and present, as awards recipients, as well as the announcement of Bhavika Kagathi as our very own SWE CI endowed scholarship winner!
As the diversity of different species of trees creates a beautiful patchwork of fall colors, the diversity of our SWE CI members makes our section more vibrant, stronger and engaged in our community. Leveraging the diverse backgrounds and viewpoints create value and foster belonging for our members.
One of our main priorities this year, as a leadership team, is to make you feel safe, supported, and welcome. We are committed to providing all of our members with opportunities to grow as professionals, as leaders, as advocates, as teachers and STEM enthusiasts, and as friends. We hope that you are able to build relationships and networks that you will take with you on your journey. If you would like to share your ideas for events and speakers or become more involved in SWE CI, please make sure to fill out the membership survey so that we, as your leadership team, may provide an array of different events that are meaningful and work for you and your busy schedule.
From a SWE CI perspective, here are a few updates from a few of our committees. Membership is busy welcoming our newest members with a small gift. Professional Development committee is challenging us by hosting a series of discussions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Advocacy committee is helping us bring a voice and make an impact on the issues that create a more equitable world. Outreach engagements are many and inspire younger generations to be curious and embrace STEM.
Finally, our advisory board will meet again in the coming weeks. This board was created last year and provided strategic direction and guidance to our leadership team. They challenged us to be better and more inclusive. This year we are welcoming a male ally to the SWE CI advisory board.
Please know that we welcome you with open arms to the SWE family. If you have any questions, please email us at

Manufacturing Engineer Month
SWE-CI Membership Spotlights

My daily responsibilities include supporting the shop floor, working on weld process optimizations, and maintaining facility weld quality. On the shop floor, I assist with major rework, quality checks, inspections, and general weld questions. During this time, I'm on the lookout for areas to improve our weld processes, such as sequencing weld order or reducing weld heat input, weld travel time, and total arc time. I also work on developing new ideas to further overall facility efficiency and quality, such as providing input to the design team on ways to improve our weld designs and launching a pilot weld inspection optimization program to further assist our workers to do their work, every day. My work with these processes helps ensure the quality of our welds and fabrications so our products can be 100% defect free on our journey to build a better world.

As part of the Future Planning team for the Caterpillar East Peoria facility, Alicia plans and implements assembly processes for new or updated dozer products. Throughout the New Product Introduction process, Alicia collaborates with multiple teams to ensure the assembly process is production ready. She facilitates manufacturability feedback on new product design concepts, while coordinating assembly process and tooling updates with the manufacturing engineering team. When it is time to build prototype or pilot machines, she works with the supply chain and operations teams to execute the build and document opportunities for process and design improvements prior to production.
Provide Your Feedback: Membership Survey

We are excited about this 2021-2022 year, but we would love to hear from you on what type of events, speakers, etc we should look into planning.  Please go HERE and let us know what you would like us to schedule over the coming year! 


Committee Updates


“Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic and social institutions” …Capitol Hill Day, Preparing to Advocate during your Virtual Fly-in March 21.


SWE-CI has a passion for advocating for women in STEM, as shown by our very strong participation in the April 2021 Capitol Hill Virtual Fly-in.  The advocacy committee is excited to continue this work and expand it to the state level.  Trying to understand what is happening in Illinois legislature, that supports women in STEM, is no small task.  However, the advocacy team is up for the challenge.  One way, we all can advocate for women in STEM is by staying up to date on the acts that are in process at the Federal Government level that many of us learned about during our Capitol Hill event.  To help accomplish this, the advocacy committee will share updates in SWE Buzz Newsletter so we can all stay current on the latest progress and we will highlight some key legislation to watch.  As these acts come into play, they can influence what happens at the state level and help us advocate in Illinois.

Legislation To Watch
Federal Policy Highlight:  The STEM Opportunities Act (H.R. 204) improves data collection to further implement evidence-based policies and directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House to promote the progress of women and underrepresented persons in STEM fields.  In May, this act passed in the House of Representatives.  It has been received by the Senate and is being evaluated.  

For more details

October Events

Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers contributing their time to help SWE support successful events throughout October!

Outreach Committee:

Girl Scout Big Tap: 

SWE-CI loves bots! SWE volunteered at the Girl Scout event at Camp Tapawingo on Sept 25th with over 200 girl scouts in attendance. Thanks to our SWE volunteers!

Christiana Aguirre  |  Thuong Le  |  Liz Trilikis  |  Kara Kessling  |  Laura Robles  |  Fiona O’Laughlin  |  Karen Raab

4H Web Development Club: 

Wanting to take her career in a different direction and become a developer, Katherine approached SWE-CI for inspiration.  SWE-CI suggested creating an outreach class to maintain self-motivation. It’s not easy to make a mid-career change.  Katherine took the idea and ran with it, and created a 6 week class for high school students.  SWE and 4H helped with marketing and lesson plan structure to create “Web Development Through Games”  SWE-CI will repackage the content for future outreaches. A great learning experience and “resume builder” for everyone involved!


Decatur SWE:

Decatur Yoga & Beer: 

On October 6th, the Decatur Area Reps organized a yoga session and happy hour at a local brewery. One of their SWE members Emily Frerichs is a certified yoga instructor and graciously offered to lead the class. The group enjoyed the chance to take time to focus on themselves in a fun local setting! 


Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming October, & November events. 

Professional Development Committee

SWE Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership Training: Module 1 
The Professional Development committee will be leading discussion sessions on the SWE “Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership” training, beginning in October.  This training is available at no charge to all SWE members through the SWE Advance Learning Center, and aims to build leadership, inclusion, and allyship behaviors, the core elements of a truly welcoming workplace.  This specific diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program is formatted into 5 sequential, asynchronous virtual lessons.  A link for more information on the training and to register is below.  Make sure that you are logged in to register for free!

Participants will view each training module on their own, and we will meet to discuss the training modules.  The first group discussion will be held via Teams on Thursday, October 28, where we will discuss Module 1: A Shared Language for DEI & The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leaders.  We hope you will join us! 

When: Oct 28, Time 6pm CST
Where: Teams
Register for TrainingHERE
Meeting Invite: Check your Calendar

DESTIHL Brewery - Technical Tour
Join the Society of Women Engineers Central Illinois Section for a technical tour of the DESTIHL Brewery followed by an optional happy hour in the Beer Hall. 

When: Friday, November 12th from 5-7p.m.
[5-6p.m. Technical Tour of DESTIHL Brewery; 6-7p.m. Happy Hour in Beer Hall]
Where: DESTIHL Brewery and Beer Hall, 1200 Greenbriar Dr, Normal, IL 61761
Tour Cost: $10 per person (tour only) – Non-Refundable
RSVP: By October 29th using the following link: (Payment can be submitted via the PayPal link shown on the registration form. Please include PayPal invoice number in your registration form.)

Note that seating in the Beer Hall is first come, first serve. Tour cost does not cover happy hour purchases.

Outreach Committee

Girls Who Code Sessions:
Held weekly on Wednesday from 4:30-7pm @ Illinois Math Academy in Northwoods Mall, Peoria
Sign-Up for weeks that work with your schedule HERE
From information please contact Girls who Code Leader - Roopa Foulger

Lindbergh SWENext:
Monthly on Wednesday @ 2pm in the school cafeteria - For more information please contact Gina Riley (

Girl Scout STEMinar - Heartland Community College:
November 13th @ 1-4pm at Heartland Community College
SWE-CI will work on Kamgimi Robots to help Girl Scout Members earn their robotics badge.  More information can be found HERE
To sign up to volunteer please go HERE
For more information please contact Outreach Committee Chairs Karen Raab ( or Kade Diallo (

Membership Committee

Women in 3D Printing with Stacey DelVecchio:
The Caterpillar Technical Information Center is hosting former Caterpillar Additive Manufacturing Product Manager and SWE President Stacey DelVecchio to discuss her new book: Women in 3D Printing: From Bones to Bridges and Everything in Between. The event will take place on Teams and feature an interview-style talk moderated by Rusty Dunn.

To ensure and engaging talk, we’d like to supply Stacey with questions beforehand. Please review the book and send questions by Oct. 22. Email to: 

Event Details:
When: November 2nd at 9am CST
Discussion: Women in 3D Printing with Stacey DelVecchio (moderated by Rusty Dunn)
Location: Teams - Invite to come soon
Book access: Women in 3D Printing


SWE-CI Scholarship Winner: Bhavika Kagathi

My name is Bhavika Kagathi and I am a junior studying Bioengineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I chose this major in hopes of bridging the gap between new technology and medical research in order to enable life changing solutions. After college, I hope to work in an area where I will innovate on medical devices and increase sustainability efforts nationwide.


SWE-CI Patent Recognition

Big Shout-Out to all members from Central Illinois that received the SWE Patent Recognition Award 2021. An event to celebrate the winners will be scheduled at a later date. Below are the award winners from Caterpillar Inc. 

Adrienne Brasche, Caterpillar Inc., 1 Patent
Deepashri Phatak, Caterpillar Inc., 1 Patent
Josenia Gerdes, Caterpillar Inc., 2 Patents 
Snigdha Nilesh Pande, Caterpillar Inc., 1 Patent
Thuong Le, Caterpillar Inc., 1 Patent



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!
Check-Out Our New Facebook Page

In efforts to link Facebook and Instagram we have created a new Facebook Page.  Please check us out at @SWECentralIllinois on Facebook.

Shop Amazon Smile - Donate to SWE

Shop at and amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to your favorite charitable organization—no fees, no extra cost. Click here to join!


Tip: Import SWE-CI's Google Calendar -- no typing needed!

Professional Development: SWE Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership Training
Discuss Module 1: A Shared Language for DEI & The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leaders
Thursday, October 28th 
On Teams

Women in 3D Printing with Stacey DelVeccchio:
Tuesday, November 2nd 
9am CST
On Teams: Invite to come soon

DESTIHL Brewery: Technical Tours
Friday, November 12th 
Where: DESTIHL Brewery and Beer Hall, 1200 Greenbriar Dr, Normal, IL 61761
Sign up: Here

Volunteers for Girl Scout STEMinar - Heartland Community College
Saturday, November 13th 
1 - 4PM
Heartland Community College
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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

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