“Have no fear of perfection; you'll never reach it.” 
— Marie Curie, chemist who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize
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A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin  

Welcome to 2022! Personally, I'm so excited for this year to finally arrive to celebrate 30 years of SWE in Central Illinois with all of you!

The theme created for this milestone celebration is 'Persistence, Purpose & Possibilities' and I simply love it. These three words epitomize SWE-CI over the last three decades as well as resonate within each unique year.

I always savor this time of year with SWE as so many grand and creative ideas and larger events are purposefully planned and come to fruition in the coming months. Purpose with persistence creates the spark for events filled with possibilities.

Vincent Van Gogh, artist, stated that, "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together" and Lailah Gifty Akita, founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation, shares that, "Possible lies in persistence.”

Please let me extend a personal invitation to join in the celebration on March 1st to reconnect and make new connections through SWE. The evening offers three speakers, each sharing insights and inspiration on one element of the theme. I'm so looking forward to this celebration.

I would also like to share that SWE-CI will receive a proclamation from the City of Peoria granted by the Office of the Mayor for our continued partnership with the Peoria Riverfront Museum for National Engineers week. This honor will be presented before the Peoria City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 8th and a live webstream will be available.

I look forward to seeing you this year!

Committee Updates

Champaign-Urbana Area

Calling all UIUC Alumni:
The UIUC collegiate SWE section is looking to update their alumni database and gage interest for the annual alumni brunch. Please take a minute (I did it in 30 seconds!) to fill out the following link:

UIUC Panel:

The UIUC chapter of SWE will be hosting a panel in late January/early February and are requesting panelists from SWE CI. 
    The panel topic will be 'life in the workforce and life after graduation'. 
    Agenda will be panelist introductions and experiences after graduation, followed by a Q&A and then networking. 
    The event will be a hybrid- virtual for those outside of the Champaign-Urbana area, but in-person for those willing to attend. 
    Panelists do not have to be UIUC alumni. They are hoping to have 3-5 speakers, from different companies and with different engineering backgrounds.
    If you are a recent college graduate (0-5 yrs in the workforce) please reach out to me if you'd be interested in speaking on the panel! 
    Kara Kessling (


Nomination Committee

Nominations Open for SWE-CI FY23 Leaders:
It’s almost time to share who you think would make a great SWE-CI leader!  
Nomination Committee if looking for 1 or 2 volunteers to support upcoming elections activities. Candidates need SWE-CI experience with no plans to run in the following fiscal year’s elections. If you are interested, Please contact Harika Sutari ( or

Below are important dates for Nominations and Positions. 

Nominations survey will be sent – Early Feb 2022
Review Nominations – Early March 2022 
Election Survey – Early April 2022
Elections Voting – Mid April 2022
Election Announcement – May 2022

SWE-CI Elected Positions
•    President-Elect (2-year term, subsequent year served as President)
•    Treasurer (1-year term)
•    Secretary (1-year term)

SWE-CI Committee Chair Positions (appointed)
•    Professional Development Committee Chair
•    Outreach Committee Chair
•    Work Life Integration Committee Chair
•    Communication Committee Chair 
•    Finance Committee Chair
•    Nomination Committee Chair
•    Membership Committee Chair
•    Awards & Recognition Committee Chair
•    Advocacy Chair
•    Historian
•    SWE Counselors* (for Bradley University, University of Illinois- Urbana/Champaign) 
                                                                                   *elected by the collegiate sections
•    Regional Contacts: Bloomington/Normal, Decatur, Urbana/Champaign, Springfield

December and January Events

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

Bloomington - Normal Area:

Bloomington-Normal held its first official meet-up on December 17th in the form of a happy hour at The Mystic Kitchen and Tasting Room. 6 members attended and had a great time chatting about hobbies and the holidays. Thanks to everyone who attended, and a special thanks to those who came all the way from Peoria! Keep your eyes peeled for information about future Bloomington-Normal area events!
Outreach Committee:

Girls Who Code:
Girls Who Code sessions take place weekly on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7pm at the Tri County Urban League in Peoria.

The students start by watching a short video (and enjoying snacks, of course) that generally covers a woman in STEM or entrepreneurship and how she utilizes technology in her life. The session is then moved to the computer lab where the girls start learning and writing code through Scratch. All of the curriculum are pre-created by Girls Who Code, so it's easy to volunteer (no programming experience needed!) The modules consist of learning videos, step by step instructions and examples of different things you can do in coding.

Occasionally other coding and technology projects are brought in too, such as Makey Makey kits or Kamagami robots provided by SWE.

The students who attend these sessions really love to play around with the programming, especially when they can make animations sing and dance. And of course they enjoy the snacks and the volunteers who come help.

If you're interested in being a volunteer please reach out to Roopa Folger ( You can volunteer for just two sessions or as many as you’d like, when it fits your calendar.

Work Life Integration Committee:

The TRIP™ through New York City

The Work Life Integration Committee hosted a private workout class called The TRIP for SWE-CI that combines technology and fitness on the evening of December 16th.  Amy, our guide, led us through a multi-peak cycling experience through and above a digitally-created New York City. Together we biked through Central Park, past landmark buildings, and through the bustling streets of New York City. After the fun workout, we toured the beautiful studios and gym of Styles Studios Fitness (, a locally and women owned business in Peoria. Cyclists came away energized and destressed after focusing on our health and well-being during a busy time of year.

Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming events. 
Outreach Committee

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

Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership (Module 3):
We will be holding a discussion on Module 3, which is about “Intercultural Fluency 101 & Confronting Cultural Bias” on Thursday, January 27 from 5-6 pm.  The modules are stand-alone, so you do not have to have completed the earlier modules to participate and contribute to the Module 3 discussion. We hope you’ll join us!

When: Thursday, January 27th @ 5pm
Where: Via Teams

Professional Development - Speaker:
The Professional Development Committee, in partnership with the Bradley and Illinois SWE Collegiate sections, is excited to welcome Dr. Karen Willcox from the University of Texas at Austin to speak on Machine Learning and Digital Twins.  The talk will be held at Bradley University, with Zoom link to connect to the University of Illinois.  Professional members are encouraged to attend in person at whichever university location is more convenient.  In addition to the presentation, a networking hour with appetizers is planned.  More details will be shared in the Buzz and/or SWE-CI weekly newsletters in the coming weeks.
Date:  Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Time:  TBD
Location:  Bradley University/University of Illinois
Dr. Karen Willcox bio:

Advocacy Committee

Virtual Speaker Event:
Our SWE CI Advocacy Committee is hosting a virtual speaking event on Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Jaz Park, an Illinois-licensed employment lawyer and diversity & inclusion consultant, will present on the following:

Calibrating for Success in 2022: Navigating Pay Equity and Other Challenges in Today’s Environment

Equip yourself for a more successful 2022. We will cover a few changes to recent employments laws. Then learn practical tips on how to advocate for gender parity in pay, benefits, and non-competes. Strategize on overcoming current pandemic challenges.  

The speaker fee is being covered by WE Local Pieronek Memorial Policy Grant Award.
When: Thursday, February  3rd 3:30-4:30 p.m.
 Where: On Teams (
Click here to join the meeting)

Work Life Integration Committee

Galantine's Day with SWE Central Illinois:
Join SWE-CI for a Special Galentine’s Day Event
Galentine's Day, formed by a blend of gal and Valentine's Day, is a day in which women celebrate their female friendships. This new holiday debuted in a 2010 episode of Parks and Recreation.
Please join us as SWE-CI celebrates Galentine’s Day with a  pour-your-own custom fragrance candle session on Saturday, February 12, 2022, from 1 - 2 pm at Generations Candle Company (, located at 4600 N Prospect Rd. in Peoria Heights.

You will choose 3 fragrances from the scent wall, design your own label, and mix your selected oils to create your own unique custom scented candle. Vessels range in size from 4 to 20 ounces and cost between $13 to $38 depending on size. You will pay for your vessel on the day of the event. Candles take 2-hours to cure and can be picked up after the event.

The SWE-CI Work Life Integration committee will provide treats and drinks as well as a special surprise Galentine’s Day gift courtesy of Teresa Cushing, one of our very creative and talented SWE-CI members.

Please RSVP by Friday, February 4, by completing the form below using the link below:

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Flanigan ( or Fiona O'Laughlin (

SWE-CI 30th Anniversary Celebration

You are invited to come celebrate SWE-Central Illinois’ 30th Anniversary on March 1st at East Port Marina in East Peoria.  The evening will give members and guest the opportunity to network and catch up followed by a buffet style dinner and presentation.  We will hear from retired Caterpillar Inc Vice President, Tana Utley and SWE Executive Director and CEO, Karen Horting.  Our main speaker of the evening will be Dara Dotz the Co-Founder of Field Ready.  Throughout the evening we will be hearing how SWE and our section has shown Persistence throughout the year, has given Purpose to our members, and embraces many Possibilities for the future.
When: Tuesday, March 1st
Where: East Port Marina (East Peoria, IL)
Cost: Members - $25, Guests - $30
RSVP by: February 15th @

Member Spotlight - Aisling Hinderliter

Aisling Hinderliter is a CAT Machine Electronics Quality / Strategy Manager

Tell us about your position: 
I work with a team of Product Support Experts and CPI BBs to continuously improve the Quality of Machine Electronics.

What attracted you to a STEM Career?: 
When I was a young girl I was fascinated by science. At one point I thought I would be a chemistry teacher, and a good friend of mine challenged me to think about engineering. We both graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from University College, Dublin.

Who is your inspiration?: 
I am inspired by the many SWE-CI members who give their talents and time to the wide variety of activities going on. It is remarkable how much this group accomplishes.

Why did you decide to join SWE?: 
I first joined SWE to participate in a National Conference. I was a skeptic, but the conference soon changed that. It was just so exciting to be in the company of so many female engineers. And the topics were very relevant to everything I was experiencing. Since then, as my children have grown and I have a little more time, I have increased my participation in SWE-CI. It's a great way to meet some new colleagues and to contribute.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?: 
I am co-chair for the Advocacy Committee and it has been interesting to learn a little more about how our local government works. From knowing where to look for relevant bills to understanding how to engage with representatives, it's a different world. But I truly believe when women advocate as a group there is a lot of opportunity to make a difference.


WE Local - Section Award Received

WE Local Winners Announced and 4 SWE-CI Submissions will be Awarded at WE Local Conference!
WE Local Awards provide opportunities to recognize outstanding SWE members, SWE groups, and individuals. The SWE-CI Awards & Recognition committee nominated and were notified in November that 4 submissions were selected to receive awards! The following awards will be presented at the WE Local Conference in Des Moines, Iowa on March 4-5, 2022:
The Outstanding Professional Development Event Award
This award recognizes groups which plan and carry out a high-quality professional development event. A maximum of twelve awards will be presented annually.
The winning submission was for the SWE-CI ‘Virtual Professional Speaker Series’ featuring Jovita Jenkins, Michele Sullivan, Susan Ottman, and Dr. Robyn McKay on topics to implement new strategies for career management, leadership lessons by being more inclusive and leading with empathy, living and leading during uncertain times, and mastering the transition from technical expert to leader.
The Joint Professional/Collegiate Event Award
This award recognizes both a professional group and a collegiate group which plan and carry out a high-quality event. A maximum of five awards may be presented annually.
SWE-CI Professional section partnered with SWE Illinois Collegiate section for the ‘Power Up Your Digital Presence’ panel. The goal was to advise our members and college students navigate the digital world during this pandemic year. Three Caterpillar Inc. speakers - Jennifer Strickland, Product Support Manager; Fiona O’Laughlin , Analytics Center of Excellence Manager; and Deanna Dean, Social Media Marketing Manager - discussed ways to improve digital presence with tips on etiquette, how to present your best self during virtual meetings, how to navigate and prepare for virtual career fairs skills, and how to build your social media presence.
The Sustaining Benefactor Award
This award recognizes organizations or companies that have provided significant support to SWE through either financial methods and/or through volunteerism. A maximum of ten awards may be presented annually.

SWE-CI nominated Caterpillar Inc. Caterpillar is one of the founding members of SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council (CPC), a member of India Corporate Partnership Council supporting SWE initiatives in India, and a global sponsor for WE Local events in Europe and India. Caterpillar supports employees in SWE through the Employer Sponsored Membership (ESM) program, recruits talent through WE Local and WE conferences, and support of SWE-CI outreach efforts in the communities in which we live.  
Pieronek Memorial Public Policy Grant Award
This award commemorates a long-time Chicago Regional Section member and includes a grant to be utilized for public policy programs, including but not limited to congressional visit days, training workshops, or visits to local legislators.

Stacey DelVecchio, SWE Fellow, received this award. This monetary award will be used by the SWE-CI Advocacy committee for a virtual speaker event with Jaz Park during the evening of February 3.
Visit to learn more about WE Local awards. Congrats to all those individuals and groups being recognized with an award.



To register or learn more, click on webinar below:

Career Journey Updates!

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

Girls Who Code Sessions
Held weekly on Wednesday 
5:30 - 7 PM
Tri County Urban League, Peoria

Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership (Module 3)
Thursday, January 27th
5 - 6 PM
On Teams  
Click here to join the meeting

Advocacy Virtual Speaker Event
Thursday, February 3rd
4 - 5 PM
More details to come

Galantine's Day with WLI
Saturday, February 12th
More details to come
SWE-CI Website
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Central Illinois Professional Section. All rights reserved.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

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