“Time spent among trees is never time wasted.” 
—Katrina Mayer, writer

“The environment is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”
—Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady
View this email in your browser
SWE-CI Monthly Buzz Header

A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin  

Earth Day, founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues, has evolved into a global celebration focusing on green living - a day when human beings commit to earth-friendly acts as stewards of the earth and its ecosystems.

Engineers and scientists have always been on the forefront of creating a sustainable future with efforts dedicated to cleaning the air and water, developing viable wind and solar alternatives, and pushing boundaries and questioning the status quo by engaging in cutting edge science and technology.

Several years ago, I challenged myself with a yearly goal to reduce my environmental footprint from using reusable grocery and produce bags, switching to natural soaps and shampoo bars, composting and collecting rain water, supporting a local CSA, and carrying my own water bottle. This year, my goal is to reduce my consumption by purchasing clothes through Thred Up and using the library. Both goals were sparked by my involvement in SWE - inspiring book club friends who are also SWE members and love libraries and a WE21 Conference virtual session with a well-dressed Vice President sharing that her pants were second hand. I often wonder if these small changes have any impact with the humbling realization that I still have a long way to go on my journey to be more environmentally conscious.

This month, the Buzz highlights Kirsten Mauritzson, Sustainability Manager at Caterpillar. Kirsten is a SWE member who has dedicated her career to sustainability on a large scale. I've been fortunate to experience her passion, enthusiasm and knowledge as she provided materials and helped me prepare for a Sustainability at Caterpillar presentation for the 2019 WE Local Conference. This week, Time Magazine contains multiple articles on global companies much needed involvement for a transition to clean energy. Kirsten, with her role at Caterpillar, is focused on sustainability with a big impact.

Finally, I'm grateful to be embracing Earth Day with SWE for a hike at Weldon Springs Park organized by Kimbra Bader, Marie Stoops, Itzel Jihan, and Kara Kessling, our SWE-CI area representatives for Decatur, Bloomington, and Champaign.

Happy Earth Day SWE Central Illinois!

Committee Updates

Membership Committee

Coffee Chats:

Thank you to all who signed up for the Professional SWE Member Coffee Chat!

You should have received your pairing email on Monday (April 18th). Please schedule a time that works for you to meet and enjoy getting to know a fellow SWE member!

Work Life Integration Committee

Membership Brunch:
Save the Date to attend the Annual Membership Brunch to be held on Saturday, June 4th.  More details to come.

UIUC SWE Counselor

Good-Bye & Thank You Ann:
I started my involvement with SWE in undergrad, serving as the community service director for the UIUC section from 2000 to 2002. 

During the last 10 years, I have been the SWE-Illinois counselor, mentoring and providing guidance to the section’s leadership boards. I have also participated in and supported many student and professional events hosted by the student section.  Additionally, I served as the liaison between SWE-Illinois and SWE-CI. 

I also served as a SWE-Illinois Team Tech industry advisor, helping to mentor the team that placed third in the WE18. Also in 2018, I was recognized with the Outstanding SWE Counselor Award at SWE nationals, based on the nomination from the SWE-Illinois student section. 

Hello & Welcome Rebecca:
Rebecca Marie (Johnson) Reck is a systems engineer.  She is a Teaching Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She teaches biomedical instrumentation, biomedical instrumentation lab, and signals and systems.  Her areas of research include experiential learning, undergraduate instructional laboratories, and inclusive pedagogy. 

Rebecca has had many SWE positions over the years and has won the following SWE awards:

  • WE Local ELiTE, Society of Women Engineers, 2021
  • Outstanding SWE Counselor, Society of Women Engineers, 2020 - nominated by Kettering University
  • Distinguished New Engineer, Society of Women Engineers, 2016


April Events

Professional Development Committee:
Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership (Module 5): 

On April 14th, 2022, the SWE-CI Professional Development Committee hosted a round table discussion on the SWE “Developing the Mindset of Inclusive Leadership” training – Module 5. 

Module 5 of this training included a review of the key points from the previous modules.  We were also prompted to reflect on the training and think about why diversity, equity, and inclusion matter.  We also discussed our individual plans for putting this learning into action and how we could use this information in our future work.  

A special thank you to Holly Teig and Stacey DelVecchio for leading the discussion and ensuring an inclusive environment for all participants. Insightful conversation flowed from personal experiences and work situations.  

Those who completed the training and participated in the discussion groups agreed that this course is some of the best training that we’ve seen on diversity, equity, and inclusion.  The content is presented in a meaningful way, and the exercises that are presented in each module help make the learning more personal.  For more information about the free SWE Developing the Mindset of Inclusive Leadership training, go to the following link: 


Advocacy Committee

Virtual Congressional Visits:
SWE Congressional Virtual Visits happened this week and once again it was empowering and energizing to engage with our members of Congress.  The SWE-CI Advocacy Committee participated with the Illinois team to meet with the offices of Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Representative Darin LaHood.

We discussed the following Acts and Grants, shared SWE’s position, and asked for further action. 

  • The STEM RESTART Act (S 1297/HR 2784) prioritizes funding to small and mid-size businesses to provide paid opportunities for mid-career professionals who left the STEM workforce, prioritizing individuals from underrepresented populations, including women, Black and Latino STEM professionals, and those in rural areas.  We asked our members of Congress to cosponsor this bipartisan bill. The pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women in STEM fields as they and their families have navigated disruptions in their careers. This bill would jumpstart efforts to get employers to think about how to support technical workers who want to re-join the STEM workforce. SWE supports equitable representation of women and minorities in federally-supported STEM and research
  • US Innovation and Competition Act/America COMPETES Act: The pending debate of competitiveness legislation affects many issues and pieces of legislation that SWE has spent years supporting.  A compromise bill is being developed.  We asked for Title V to be preserved and to support STEM teacher recruitment, preparation and retention, hands-on STEM learning for students, computer science, high-quality STEM coursework, apprenticeships and varied pathways to the STEM workforce. SWE supports policies that create safe and productive school and work environments for women in STEM
  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (HR 1065/S 1486) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees impacted by pregnancy or childbirth, including by failing to make reasonable accommodations, taking adverse actions or denying opportunities, or forcing an employee to take unpaid leave.  The bill has passed the House and been approved by a Senate Committee.  We asked Senate leadership to bring the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to the floor for a vote.
  • SWE supports maximum funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment formula grant program found in Title IV, Part A, of the Every Student Succeeds Act. This funding can support STEM programs that are crucial to exposing young women to a foundation in STEM.  We asked for increased funding and support of requests for funds to grow the capacity of minority-serving institutions to produce STEM graduates.

Bradley University

Marshmallow Launchers:

The Bradley University SWE Section teamed up with SWE Central Illinois to put together 68 take home STEM kits.  These kits were for the 5th grade students at Germantown Hills Middle School.  The theme for the kits were marshmallow launchers.  Included in each kit were: a list of materials, instructions, background on the science behind the activity, 1 cup, 1 balloon, 5 mini marshmallows and some fun STEM stickers.


Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming events. 
Outreach Committee

Society of Women Engineers and National Society of Black Engineers Present– STEM Boot Camp for High School Girls:
Why: To learn more about engineering with fun hands-on activity and to build your resume
When: May 14, 2022
Where: Illinois Math Academy at Northwoods Mall (lower level near old Sears)
Time: 10:30 to 3pm (includes lunch)
Cost: $10/girl (scholarships available)

To register go to
Contact email:
Phone: 309-692-8888

Girls Who Code Sessions:
Held weekly on Wednesday from 5:30-7pm @ Tri County Urban League, Peoria
Sign-Up for weeks that work with your schedule  
For more information please contact Girls Who Code Leader –

Professional Development Committee

Awards Ceremony:

Save the date! Join us for our FY22 awards celebration dinner on May 12th at the Peoria Women's Club. Celebrate our award winners and hear about Lessons in Leadership at a Non-Profit Organization from our guest speaker, Jada Hoerr. She will also touch on her recent climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
When: May 12, 2022 
Time: 5-7:30pm
Where: Peoria Women's Club, 301 NE Madison Ave, Peoria, IL 61603
Cost: $23 for SWE Members; $25 for Guests (non-SWE Members)
Event Registration due by 4/29 :

Work Life Integration Committee

Painting Workshop with SWE-CI:
Celebrate Spring with fellow SWE-CI members with an afternoon of painting and light refreshments. Ms. Deb Wiechmann from the Potting Shed Art Studio will provide step by step instructions to paint this lovely butterfly on a 14x14 canvas. Artists may choose to paint daisies or another spring bloom. Seating is limited so reserve your spots today! 

When: Saturday, April 30th from 3 - 5:30 PM C.S.T.
Where: Potting Shed Art Studio (401Timberlan Rd, Metamora, IL 61548)
Cost: $25 per person
RSVP: by Tuesday, April 26, by completing this form.

To learn more about the Potting Shed Art Studio:

Bloomington-Normal / Decatur Area

Membership Hike:
Bloomington and Decatur regional groups are working together to host a hike at Weldon Springs State Park on April 24th. We will hike from 10-11 AM and have a picnic lunch (food provided) from 11-12. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to

Bradley University

Senior Upgrade Dinner:
The Bradley Senior Upgrade Dinner will be held at Brienzos on April 26th at 6:30pm
RSVP by April 22nd to Katie Kauffman (

Graduating Senior Dinner for SWE-Illinois:
The UIUC Graduating Senior Dinner will be held at The Bread Company on April 30th at 5pm.
RSVP by April 28th to Ann Peedikayil (

Member Spotlight - Kirsten Mauritzson

Kirsten Mauritzson is a Caterpillar Sustainability Manager

Tell us about your position: 
I work in Caterpillar's corporate sustainability team, helping support our company commitment to Sustainability. My team has responsibility for sustainability strategy development and disclosures - to the public, investors, customers and employees. For example, we publish a Sustainability Report each year highlighting programs and initiatives that are in place, our sustainability goals and progress, and our future plans. Last year, we led a goal setting effort - working with subject matter experts from many business units to develop sustainability goals for achievement by 2030. It is an exciting and evolving space to work in! The world increasingly recognizes the importance of environment, social and governance (ESG, or sustainability) for companies and Caterpillar provides products and services to help build critical infrastructure and energy around the world.

What attracted you to a STEM Career?: 
I enjoyed math, science, problem-solving and wanted to help make the world a better place. I found that mix in mechanical and environmental engineering.

Who is your inspiration?: 
There are too many people to count and several of you in SWE-CI are certainly within this group! I'm inspired by leaders that care about their teams, support others, and help to make progress for the better.

Why did you decide to join SWE?: 
I joined SWE in college initially and served several leadership roles there. It was a great way to connect with other women who were also pursuing engineering and learn from each other. As a professional, I have found that same holds true - I enjoy learning from others and building friendships! For me, connecting with friends at the annual SWE conference and our SWE-CI events is inspiring and energizing.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?: 
I enjoy traveling and am looking forward to getting back to more of it! Hiking in a National Park is my favorite.


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!
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!

Bloomington / Decatur Area Membership Hike
Sunday, April 24
Time 10 - 11 AM hike and 11 AM - 12 PM picnic lunch (food provided)
Weldon Springs State Park
Please RSVP to

Bradley University Senior Upgrade Dinner
Tuesday, April 26
Time 6:30 PM
Please RSVP to Katie Kauffman (

Painting Workshop with SWE-CI
Saturday, April 30
Time 3 - 5:30 PM
Cost $25 per person
Potting Shed Art Studio (401 Timberlan Rd, Metamora, IL 61548)
Please RSVP by Tuesday, April 22

Graduating Senior Dinner for SWE-Illinois
Saturday, April 30th
Time 5pm
The Bread Company
RSVP by April 28th

Award Ceremony
Thursday, May 12
Time 5 - 7:30 PM 
Cost $23 for SWE Members; $25 for Guests (non-SWE Members)
Peoria Women's Club, 301 NE Madison Ave, Peoria, IL 61603 
Please RSVP by 4/29

STEM Boot Camp for High School Girls
Saturday, May 14
Time 10:30 - 3 PM (includes lunch) 
Cost $10 per girl
Illinois Math Academy at Northwoods Mall

Membership Brunch
Saturday, June 4
More details to come

Girls Who Code Sessions
Held weekly on Wednesday 
5:30 - 7 PM
Tri County Urban League, Peoria
SWE-CI Website
Email Us
National SWE on Twitter
Missed an issue of our Monthly Buzz? Catch up with the 
Buzz Archives
Aspire Advance Achieve
Copyright © 2016 Society of Women Engineers
Central Illinois Professional Section. All rights reserved.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

The purpose of this email is to provide monthly section sponsored activity updates to members and friends of SWE-CI.
Update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp