“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.”
– Serena Williams
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A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin  

As of late, I've been feeling a little bit aimless, a little less joyful and a lot less productive. Life just feels the same with lots of sadness as many people around me are struggling right now. 
Then serendipitously, I scheduled a session with Jen Bly, our SWE Coach assigned to assist our Central Illinois section. Jen introduced me to the concepts of languishing and flourishing and how she chooses SWE to infuse purpose and joy into her life.
Jen shared a recent Ted Talk called How to Stop Languishing and Start Finding Flow by Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, as well as a New York Times article titled “The Other Side of Languishing is Flourishing: Here’s How to Get There” by Dani Blum.
Through the TED Talk, Adam Grant shares that languishing is part of the human condition and can disrupt focus and dampen motivation. Research indicates that the best predictor of well-being during the pandemic, a time of languishing for many, is FLOW - complete absorption resulting in transforming a sense of time. He articulates his 'Mario Kart Theory of Peak Flow' that includes 3 conditions of mastery, mindfulness & mattering. I learned that mastery can be small wins, mindfulness is focusing attention on a single task, and mattering is feeling helpful with those who are important to you. These tasks may be small, need not be productive, and can move us from stagnation to momentum.
Within the article, Dani Blum informs us of seven simple and tactical steps to recharge and thrive: (1) assess yourself, (2) savor & celebrate small things, (3) try gratitude, (4) do five good deeds, (5) look for communities and connection, (6) find purpose in everyday routines, and (7) try something new.
SWE Central Illinois can serve as an avenue to flow as well as help take steps to flourish by offering events for celebration, good deeds, community and connection, and purpose.  
To kick off Engineering week, SWE CI Outreach will be at the Riverfront Museum with STEM activities for kids on Sunday, February 20 from noon to 5 pm. As part of the 30th Anniversary Celebration on March 1, Dara Dotz, founder of Field Ready who left the tech industry for the nonprofit world and now works in disaster-impacted areas across the globe to help people develop low-tech aid solutions, will share her inspiring message. The WE Local Conference takes place in Des Moines, Iowa on March 4-5 with featured speakers from our section. 
Just thinking about these events and many more upcoming activities organized by SWE CI, I feel a buzz of hope and excitement. Happy Engineering Week and Happy International Women's Day to you all! Wishing you all moments of flow and flourishing. 

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 22nd @


Resilience and Creativity Creating Possibilities amid Chaos
In times of crisis, how can we learn from the extremes to use technology appropriately and, most importantly, maintain our humanity? Imagine the world shakes, and suddenly you are cut off from power, food, water, and loved ones. How do you call for help when the towers are down? This talk will overview lessons learned from the field, opportunities found, and possibilities amidst the chaos.  

Requesting Donations for 30th Anniversary Raffle Baskets to Raise Money for SWE Central Illinois Endowed Scholarship Fund 
During the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Society of Women Engineers in Central Illinois, we’ll be raffling off 2 baskets to raise funds for our SWE CI Endowed Scholarship Fund and we need your donations. The themes for our 2 baskets are: 
•  Talents of Our SWE Central Illinois Members
     •  We are seeking your talents. These donations are any items that showcase your skills such as jewelry, cards, knit/crochet items, soap, chocolate, photography session, brewed ale, painting, book you have written, leather work, art, welded garden art, etc.  
•  Fun with SWE & STEM
     •  This basket is anything SWE and STEM related for kids. This basket could include favorite STEM books, science kits, puzzles, robots, SWE branded items for kids, etc. Our outreach committee has donated a birdhouse kit and a speed cube.

Please contact Fiona O’Laughlin at and she’ll arrange to pick-up any items.

*The SWE Central Illinois Professional Section Endowed Scholarship was established in 2011. This scholarship is $1750 and awarded annually to a SWE member who is a sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student who is located within the boundaries of the Central Illinois section with under-represented groups and financial need preferred.

Committee Updates

Champaign-Urbana Area

SWE-UIUC Looking for Mentors:
The Professional Liaison Committee of SWE is starting a mentorship program where mentors with professional experience in the workforce will be paired with mentees and meet at least once a month for the remaining of the school year. This is the opportunity to gain insight about starting a career, managing personal and professional life, and everything in between.

If there are any questions, please contact Tricia Liu ( and Rhea Tiwari ( Thank you so much for sharing our program! We sincerely appreciate your help.

Nomination Committee

Nominations Open for SWE-CI FY23 Leaders:
It’s time to share who you think would make a great SWE-CI leader! Nominations are now open for the upcoming fiscal year for the SWE Central Illinois election. Please use the link below to submit nominations using the nomination form. The form details about the open positions and requirements. Nominations will remain open until Feb 25th.

Deadline: Friday, Feb 25th
Survey Link:

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


SWE Team

WE22 Call for Participation is Now Open until March 14, 2022:
Want to be a speaker at SWE’s Annual Conference, WE22? Click this link to submit your abstract. The deadline to submit is March 14, 2022. For questions about WE22 content, contact WE22 will take place in Houston, Texas, from October 20-22, 2022 and will feature a hybrid conference once again. All speakers are required to present in Houston and pre-record sessions for the virtual platform. SWE will not provide the option to present only at the virtual conference. Speaker selection for any WE Conference is highly competitive. To improve your chances of being selected, please use the WE22 Call for Participation Guidelines for important dates and instructions and the WE22 Call for Participation asynchronous course for best practices for answering each proposal question.

FY22 SWE Professional and Collegiate Awards - Now accepting nominations through March 31, 2022:
The Society of Women Engineers strives to recognize the successes of SWE members and individuals who enhance the engineering profession and advocate for women in engineering through contributions to industry, education, and the community. The awards listed in the packet linked below recognize individuals and groups who support the mission, objectives and goals of the Society. Recipients will be honored at the annual conference this fall. 2022_IndividualAwardPacket_PublishJan03.pdf (


SWE-CI Award Nominations

Please complete nominations for SWE-Central Illinois Section: Outstanding Engineer Award, Outstanding Advocate Award, Distinguished Member Award, and Pillar of Support Award. The award recipients will be determined by judges who are members of Central Illinois SWE and will be presented at the SWE CI Awards Dinner Celebration scheduled in May of 2022.

Central Illinois Section Outstanding Engineer Award
The Outstanding Engineer Award is awarded to a qualified woman who has made significant contributions in the field of engineering and/or technical management(70% scoring consideration).  An additional aspect for consideration would be community contributions and/or successes(10% scoring consideration). She need not be a member of the Society.  Requirements include a minimum of an engineering degree or a degree in a technical field(20% scoring consideration).  The main criteria for selection are based on the significance of the achievements cited on the nomination form.  The award recipients will be determined by judges who are members of Central Illinois SWE and will be presented at the Professional Development Event in May 2022.
Central Illinois Section Outstanding Advocate Award 
The Advocacy Award recognizes SWE Central Illinois members or Central Illinois engineers who advocate for the inclusion and success of women, both present and prospective, in engineering and technology.  The nominee must have demonstrated outstanding advocacy for women and girls in engineering and technology.  These activities could include but are not limited to: pre-college outreach, recognition of women engineers through awards or high-visibility communications, education or career counseling activities, advocating for corporate policies friendly to women engineers, and advocating in local, state or federal government for laws friendly to women engineers.( 80% scoring consideration for all of the above)

Participation in SWE or other professional and/or technical societies and community organizations is highly desirable as well-rounded individuals are sought for the award(20% scoring consideration).  The main criteria for selection are based on the significance of the achievements cited on the nomination form.  The award recipients will be determined by judges who are members of Central Illinois SWE and will be presented at the Professional Development Event in May 2022.
Central Illinois Section Distinguished Member Award
The Distinguished Member Award honors women who have been actively engaged in the Central Illinois Section of the Society of Women Engineers.  The nominee must have demonstrated outstanding support and participation in the furthering of technical understanding or interest in young women.  The nominee must be a SWE member or senior member in good standing and active in local activities of SWE.  (80% scoring consideration)

Participation in other professional and/or technical societies and community organizations is highly desirable as well-rounded individuals are sought for the award. (20% scoring consideration) The main criteria for selection are based on the significance of the achievements cited on the nomination form.  The award recipients will be determined by judges who are members of Central Illinois SWE and will be presented at the Professional Development Event in May 2022.

Central Illinois Section Pillar of Support Award 
The pillar of support may be anyone within or outside of SWE but have expanded the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life and demonstrate the value of diversity. We are thankful for our pillars of supports throughout the years that helped up reach our 30th anniversary milestone. The main criteria for selection are based on the significance of the achievements cited on the nomination form.  The award recipients will be determined by judges who are members of Central Illinois SWE and will be presented at the Professional Development Event in May 2022. 
Email nomination to
Nominations must be received by 10 March 2022.


February Events

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

Professional Development Committee:

Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership (Module 3): 
On January 27, 2022, the SWE-CI Professional Development Committee hosted a round table discussion on the SWE “Developing the Mindset of Inclusive Leadership” training – Module 3. 

Module 3 of this training was all about “Intercultural Fluency 101 & Confronting Cultural Bias”. Participants commented that the training made them think about culture differently, as culture is more than just our nationality or ethnic heritage.  We explored how the different groups with which we identify have shaped us, and how communication is influenced by our own unique cultural styles.

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

For more information about the free SWE Developing the Mindset of Inclusive Leadership training, go to the following link:

We will be holding a discussion on Module 4, which is about “How to Be an Ally at Any Level” on Thursday, March 10, from 5-6 pm.  You do not need to have watched any of the previous modules to participate in the Module 4 discussion.  We hope you’ll join us!

Work Life Integration Committee:

Galantine's Day Event:

Galentine’s Day is a celebration of friendship and SWE Central Illinois celebrated each other on February 12th with our very own Galentine’s Day celebration, 1-day early. We had an enjoyable afternoon at Generations Candle Company, a family owned business located in Peoria Heights. We visited the scent wall and experienced fragrances ranging from old books to coffee to Anjou pear and picked our favorites. We then selected a vessel and blended our chosen oils. Finally, we poured and mixed our own unique custom scented candles. During the event, we paused to visit, reconnect and meet new people, all while enjoying sweet treats provided by the Work Life Integration committee. To top off this fun event, Teresa Cushing, CEO of at Productive Resources LLC and a chemical engineer by education, gifted each of us a bar of her beautiful homemade soap. So as Leslie Knope says, “What's Galentine's Day? It's only the best day of the year…ladies celebrating ladies.” 

Advocacy Committee:

State Senate & House Representatives Offices:

In Dec 2021 and Jan 2022, representing Society of Women Engineers Central Illinois, the advocacy committee has initialized the office visits to State Senate and House Representative offices to introduce our Society of Women Engineers -Central Illinois Team, SWE vision, and support with state legislation/bills focusing on women at workplace and youth development in the STEM field. Eleven members of SWE-CI formed groups with four team members in each group visited nine local offices in person or virtually with positive feedback and support. 

Kudos to Stacey Minch DelVecchio taking initiatives to brew the ideas into executable plans. This is a monumental start of a journey, as we will continues to learn and grow our understandings in the state level legislation…stay tuned with Advocacy Committee’s upcoming events as we will share more legislation resources and road map with you in the near future. 


Advocacy Speaker Event - Jaz Park:

On Feb 3rd, 2022, invited by SWE-CI Advocacy Committee, Jaz Park, an Illinois-licensed employment lawyer and diversity & inclusion consultant has spoken to SWE-CI group with event titled Equip yourself for a more successful 2022. Jaz talked about how to navigate Pay Equity, changes on recent Illinois based employment laws, and practical tips on on how to advocate for gender parity in pay, benefits, and non-competes. The event is well received by forty members with education on the landscape of gender parity as regards pay issues: non-competes and recent pay equity protections, and how to  leverage non-compete protections in your career. If you have any question or concern in this area, you can contact SWE-CI advocacy team and we will try our best ability to answer your question with Jaz park’s support. 

This speaker event is covered by WE Local Pieronek Memorial Policy Grant Award. 

“Remember that no one succeeds alone. Never walk alone in your future paths.” - ~ US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

City of Peoria Proclamation:

SWE-CI Received City of Peoria Proclamation for Engineering Week:

On February 8, SWE-CI received a Proclamation from the City of Peoria and Mayor Rita Ali for National Engineers Week (Feb 20-26). Mayor Rita Ali did a wonderful job recognizing SWE-CI 30 years history in the area of outreach, professional development, advocacy and work-life integration. She credited SWE for our life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders in our community. Please stop by and say hello on Feb 20th at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, as SWE-CI Outreach Committee and other local organizations host this year National Engineers Week.
We would like to thank Caterpillar and SWE-Program Development Grant Committee for their generous support, that allows our SWE-CI Outreach Committee to make such an impact on the future generation of this community.


Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming events. 
WE Local Des Moines

The WE Local conference in Des Moines, IA, is coming up next month!  This is a great opportunity to learn about a variety of topics and network with women from around the region.  A few of our SWE-CI members will be speaking at WE Local Des Moines, and our section will also be receiving a few awards!

Information on the conference, including the conference schedule, can be found at  The early bird registration fee is $175 and is good until 2/17.  Go to to register. 

WE Local conferences are organized by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to bring together participants in all stages of their collegiate and professional journey. The conferences offer professional development sessions, inspirational speakers, and networking opportunities. Information on the conference, including the conference schedule, can be found at

Virtually Experience Professional Development Sessions from an upcoming WE Local Conference:
Christy Lee, Engineering Technical Steward for Structures at Caterpillar Inc., is a featured speaker at the WE Local Conference in Des Moines, IA on March 4-5, 2022.

Dress for Success
Wednesday, February 23, 2022 from 11-11:45AM
Add to your calendar by clicking HERE

If you plan to attend the WE Local Conference, Christy Lee’s sessions are scheduled on Friday and Saturday. The Des Moines conference schedule is now available. 

Outreach Committee

Engineering Day at Peoria Riverfront Museum:
Call for Volunteers! Last minute preparation are underway for Engineering Day. Volunteers are welcome anytime February 20 12-5pm. It’s free admission at Peoria Riverfront museum so bring the family!
This is one of our largest outreaches with over a thousand people attending the free Engineering Day at Peoria Riverfront Museum.  At this time, it's planned to be in person with masks required. We are looking for ideas for demos as well as volunteers to help with the activities during the event.

Please reach out to Kade Diallo or Karen Raab ( for more information. Sign up link is below.

Date:  Sunday, February 20
Time:  12-5 PM
Location:  Riverfront Museum

Canton High School Career Expo:
Anyone from Canton who would like to talk about their Caterpillar career or have equipment would could demo at this event?

We would like to invite you to be a part of the Canton High School Career Expo 2022 scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2022 at Canton High School. The event is being planned in partnership by the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce, Spoon River College, SIU School of Medicine Office of Regional Programs, University of Illinois Extension and the Fulton County Farm Bureau. 350 students are expected to attend. Please contact Karen Raab ( for more information.

Date:  Friday, March 18
Time:  9-11 AM and 12:30-3 PM
Location: Canton High School

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

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:

Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership (Module 4):
Please join us for the discussion on Module 4 of the SWE training “Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership”.  The modules for the training are independent, so you do not need to have watched the videos from the previous modules to participate in the discussion on Module 4.

Module 4 covers “How to Be an Ally at Any Level.”  The discussions of the previous modules have been very insightful, and we’re looking forward to a great discussion on allyship.

For more information about the SWE Developing the Mindset of Inclusive Leadership training, go to the following link: The training is free for SWE members, and $160 for all 5 modules for non-members.
When:  Thursday, March 10 at 5 PM 
Where: On Teams 
Click here to join the meeting

Work Life Integration Committee

Yoga Breathing Workshop with SWE Central Illinois:
SWE Central Illinois welcomes Certified Yoga and Breath Coach Sangeeta Wadhawan to take us through a virtual journey in which she’ll help us learn proper breathing techniques. Yoga breathing is a safe and natural way to quickly affect your autonomic nervous system. Most of us are stuck on autopilot and we're getting bounced around by our environment, leaving us feeling tired, imbalanced and frazzled. Yoga breathing offers many of the same benefits as meditation, but it’s easier to learn and can be practiced anywhere.

Join fellow SWE-CI members for a unique Yoga breathing workshop, designed to relieve stress, improve mental focus, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and boost digestion. These simple techniques can help us all get the right balance in our work life integration and be invigorated for 2022!

Learn more about Sangeeta at

When: Thursday, February 24th 5-6 PM CST
Where: On Microsoft Teams  
Click here to join the meeting
Please RSVP by Tuesday, February 22nd by completing this form
Women in Leadership

Women's History Month Celebration:

Join Women in Leadership of Central Illinois, The Peoria Women's Club, the Central Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Peoria Area World Affairs Council for an evening to celebrate Women's History Month with guest speaker Laura F. Keyes as Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Enjoy networking and heavy appetizers. Cash bar.

March 16, 2022
Betty Jayne Center for the Performing Arts (1327 E Kelly Ave, Peoria Heights)
Doors Open 5:30p
Presentation 6:00p
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at

SPEAKER: Laura Keyes, of Historic Voices, will portray renowned suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for equal rights for Women for over fifty years, and upon her death in 1902 she left behind a legacy of her crusade for female equality and myriad writings that would inspire feminists for over a century to come. Hear from Mrs. Stanton in 1866, when the Civil War was over, but the battle for Women’s Suffrage was just beginning. Join Laura Keyes, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, for this informative and inspiring presentation on March 16th.

Laura Keyes graduated from UW-Madison with a Master’s Degree in Library Studies, and is a lifetime member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters. Laura recently won the Excellence in Performing Award from that Association.

Member Spotlight - Love Ugorji

Love Ugorji is a Caterpillar Supply Chain Engineer

Tell us about your position: 
Manage the supply chain of two external suppliers and one Caterpillar facility. Ensuring service level of 96% while maintaining availability and level loading for optimal result.

What attracted you to a STEM Career?: 
STEM has been in my blood. I decided on a STEM career while in 8th Grade when I realized my capabilities in Mathematics

Who is your inspiration?: 
I have many inspirers

Why did you decide to join SWE?: 
I believe in women empowerment and when I heard about SWE and her mission, I decided to join the organization

Tell us something interesting about yourself?: 
Currently a board member of CASA of the Tenth Judicial Court. Love Networking and helping out with kids' events. Very competitive on board games. I love to play soccer.


Collegiate Highlight - Hannah Nelson

Hannah Nelson, a current ICS Co-op Student Employee and Electrical Engineering junior at Valparaiso University, was recently appointed to a one-year term on the board of IPC International as a student liaison. As student liaison, Hannah will help bridge the gap between the electronics industry and the education system, to ensure that high school and college students are prepared for careers in the industry. Hannah is also the current president of the IPC chapter at Valparaiso University. She was a Caterpillar 2021 Summer Intern in the ICS Product Support Group.  During her internship she was mentored by several members of SWE-CI. This coming Summer, Hannah will return as a Caterpillar Intern doing Field Test Support. SWE members helped to connect Hannah with further information on career opportunities and development at Caterpillar.



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. 

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

Engineering Day at Peoria Riverfront Museum
Sunday, February 20th
12 - 5 PM
Riverfront Museum

Dress for Success - Upcoming WE Local Des Moines
Wednesday, February 23rd
11-11:45 AM

Yoga Breathing Workshop
Thursday, February 24th
5 - 6 PM
On Teams Click here to join the meeting

Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership (Module 4)
Thursday, March 10th
5 - 6 PM
On Teams Click here to join the meeting

Canton High School Career Expo
Friday, March 18th
9 - 11 AM and 12:30-3 PM
Canton High School

Professional Development Speaker
Tuesday, April 5th
Time TBD
Bradley University/University of Illinois

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
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Buzz Archives
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Central Illinois Professional Section. All rights reserved.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

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