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“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
— Grace Hopper
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A Note from the President

November is National Gratitude Month. Research suggests that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. In addition to being happier, gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions, improve our health, build stronger relationships and recover from stress faster. Gratitude is a way for us to appreciate what we already have instead of reaching for something new in the hopes it will make us happier. Gratitude helps us focus on what we have instead of what we lack. There are multiple ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis: 

  1. Write a thank-you letter expressing your appreciation of a person's impact on your life. Maybe even write one to yourself!
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down and share with your loved ones what you are grateful for each day.
  3. Count your blessings!

I encourage you to give thanks and cultivate your ability to express gratitude towards someone in your life. Or simply recognize and appreciate all the goodness in your life. 
 
To start with, I'm grateful for being part of the SWE family, for our amazing SWE-CI leadership team that continues to embody SWE core values of integrity, inclusive environment, mutual support, professional excellence and trust. I am grateful for all the amazing friendships and irreplaceable memories that I've gained since joining SWE-Central Illinois. 

I am grateful for my management’s support in attending the WE22 Conference. In turn, I was able to celebrate our section’s accomplishments with our two WE22 Award Winners. Heather Ulrich was awarded the prestigious Work Life Integration Award and Josenia was awarded the Patent award for her “Method of Controlling a Genset System US10566800”. I’m grateful to be surrounded by amazing, supportive and innovative women. 





Below is a 30-day gratitude challenge and I invite you to join me!



With Gratitude,
 
Thuong Le

Committee Updates


WE22 Conference Awards Winners:

Heather Ulrich 
Heather Ulrich was recognized at the WE22 Conference for winning the Work/Life Integration Award! This award was for her work with building a support and resource network for working parents and created a positive retention impact of female employees!

See Her Award Video Here: https://youtu.be/IaFJYPnJmGw

Read More Here! Work/Life Integration Award - Society of Women Engineers - Magazine (swe.org)



Josenia Gerdes
At the WE22 Conference Josenia Gerdes was one of 174 recognized female engineers for the Patent Recognition Award for her work at Caterpillar!

See Her Listed Here: Patent Recognition Award - Society of Women Engineers - Magazine (swe.org)




Peoria's Forty under 40 Recognition:

For the past 29 years, Peoria Magazine has honored the rising stars of central Illinois with the 40 Leaders Under Forty recognition.  

This year, Caterpillar East Peoria Undercarriage Material Requirements Planning Analyst in PSLD Wear Components Lacey Dilbeck was recognized as one of these young leaders making a positive impact in the central Illinois community.  

Read Lacey’s Full Interview HERE



Advocacy Committee:

SWE-CI Visit our newly elected State Senators and State Representatives

Action Required:  Respond by November 28, 2022
 
As SWE CI continues our engagement with state advocacy and public policy, we are excited to organize local visits with Illinois legislators for a second year in a row.  We are planning in-person visits with our State Senators and State Representatives in December when they are in their home offices. The purpose of these visits is
  • For our elected officials to get to know SWE CI and you as a constituent
  • To advocate for issues relevant to women in engineering and technology
  • To continue to build a relationship with our elected officials
If you're interested in participating, please respond to the following short survey by November 28th. The survey will ask for the name of your State Senator and Representative.
 
We will conduct virtual training for those attending visits on Thursday, December 1st at 4pm.  Please save that date! 
 
We hope you are able to participate with your fellow SWE members in these legislative visits.  
 
Teresa Cushing and Stacey DelVecchio
Advocacy Committee Co-Chairs
 

Outreach Committee:

CALL FOR 2022 VOLUNTEERS: FIRST Robotics
 
FIRST LEGO League is an international, academic, robotics competition for students ages 9-14. Teams use the LEGO Mindstorms robotics kit to create a robot which can complete various tasks, on a special 4ft by 8ft playing field. Teams also complete a research project, which challenges them to define a common issue based on a yearly theme and devise a creative solution. This year, the theme is “SUPER POWERED”: It’s about collecting energy units from difference sources around the field & distributing them to where the energy will be stored or consumed.
 
If you have any interest and want to get involved as a referee and/or judge, please contact:
Below are the dates & locations for this year’s events (volunteers can sign up for any):
  • 3rd December 2022 Qualifier at Peoria Limestone Community High School
  • 10th December 2022 Qualifier at Peoria Liberty Leadership Middle School

September/October Events

WE22 - Houston:


Dress For Success:
One of the speakers at the WE22 conference in Houston last month was our SWE-CI President Elect, Christy Lee!  Christy gave a presentation titled “Dress for Success” on the first afternoon of the conference.  She talked about the two main ways clothing can impact your professional presence.  First, wearing clothing outside the norms of the organization you are working with can negatively impact others’ perceptions of you.  Second, clothing can significantly impact our mindset, and if we are not wearing clothes that make us feel confident, we may not behave in a way that hinders our professional success.  Christy also gave some tips on how to select clothes that help you look and feel your best.
The presentation was well-attended, and there were several good questions from the audience.  If you registered for either the virtual or in-person conference, Christy’s presentation is available on the virtual conference platform until January 2023.  Speaking at the SWE conference was an amazing experience, and I encourage everyone to submit a proposal for a future conference if you have a topic that you think others could benefit from!




Collegiate Meet Up:
Members of the SWE-CI professional section met up with members of the SWE-Illinois collegiate section at WE22 in Houston, TX.  This was a great opportunity for us to get to know one another, share our impressions of the conference, and talk about careers.  Thanks SWE-Illinois for joining us for a little while at WE22!


Invent It Build It Expo:
Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers  @ WE22 Invent It  Build It Expo
 
On October 22, SWE-CI Outreach Committee members represented Caterpillar female engineers at the WE22 Invent It Build It Expo by hosting an interactive engineering booth. Our very own Karen Raab, Outreach co-chair, was also a Role Model the High Schooler Session. The event drew over 300 middle schoolers, 100 high schoolers and 100 parents/educators. All the planning and coordination paid off as we saw students, parents and educators lining up to experience our activities. It was wonderful to see the kids' smiles upon learning about  engineering roles at Caterpillar; designing and making buttons; experiencing VR goggles and playing a video game inspired by Cat trial #9 -Pac-Man TM  . We can't wait to do it again at WE23!




Professional Development Committee:

Digital Twins:
On October 18, the Professional Development committee hosted a discussion with Dr. Karen Willcox from the University of Texas at Austin on “Digital Twins:  The Personalized Future of Computing for Complex Systems” at Bradley University. This event was funded through a Program Development Grant from the Society of Women Engineers.  A total of 25 professionals and collegiates attended in person, and 15 others attended via Zoom, including 10 collegiate members from the University of Illinois.
Dr. Willcox gave an overview of what digital twins are and how they combine physical measurements and simulations to drive decision making for better outcomes.  She also highlighted how digital twins can be used by sharing examples such as monitoring the health of an aircraft structure and developing a personalized course of medical treatment for a patient.  Her talk was interesting and informative, and she stayed for a little while after the presentation to answer questions from some of the attendees.




Work Life Integration Committee:
Trivia Night:
SWE members attended a local Peoria Trivia Night on October 27th. They competed as team SWEets for a chance to win. Everyone enjoyed tasty appetizers, brushing up on their trivia skills, and meeting new members!



Henna Hand Art:
On November 6th, Work Life Integration committee hosted a Henna Hand Art event. The talented Reshma Vali Shaik and Reshma Aluri completed beautiful designs on all attendees. The artists and attendees were very creative in making unique designs – some even incorporated SWE. It was fun socializing with everyone and experiencing Henna!



Decatur Area:
On October 23rd, the Decatur Area held a fall hike at the Rock Spring Nature Center!

Upcoming Events


More details to come on upcoming events. 
 
Outreach Committee:

Brimfield Library Volunteering
When: Monday, November 21st, 2022
Time: 6 PM - 7 PM 
Where: Brimfield Library 
Contact: Karen Raab raab_karen_r@cat.com


FIRST Robotics/FIRST LEGO League Qualifier
When: Saturday, December 3rd, 2022
Where: Peoria Limestone Community High School
Contact: 
Kadé Diallo (Head Referee): kadette21@gmail.com or 
Taryn Gerth (Judge Advisor): tgerth8912@gmail.com


FIRST Robotics/FIRST LEGO League Qualifier
When: Saturday, December 10th, 2022
Where: Peoria Liberty Leadership Middle School
Contact: 
Kadé Diallo (Head Referee): kadette21@gmail.com or 
Taryn Gerth (Judge Advisor): tgerth8912@gmail.com


Dads for Daughters at UIUC
When: Sunday, December 4th, 2022
Time: 9 AM
Where: University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign
Contact: Rebecca Reck swe@rebeccaee.com


Brimfield Library Volunteering
When: Wednesday, December 7th, 2022
Time: 6 PM - 7 PM 
Where: Brimfield Library
Contact: Karen Raab raab_karen_r@cat.com



Work Life Integration Committee:

Christmas Cookie Decorating
Wear your Christmas sweater and join SWE members for cookie decorating & hot chocolate! Please signup below before 12/9 at 2 PM.
 
When:     Sunday, December 11th
Time:       1-3 PM
Where:    1221 E Duryea Av, Peoria Heights, IL 61616
Cost:        $10 per person
Signup:    https://forms.office.com/r/f1eZZf7ark
 

Membership Brunch 
Save the date for the annual SWE-CI Membership Brunch! We hope you will be able to join for this event and meal.
 
When:     Saturday, January 21st
Time:       10 AM
Signup:    Invitation will be sent at a later date



WE Locals 2023
 

WE Local Awards

Please consider nominating members for the WE Local awards. If you need any help, please reach out to the Awards Committee.
 

PROFESSIONAL

  • WE Local Legacy
  • WE Local ELiTE
  • WE Local New ELiTE
  • WE Local Integrator
  • Engaged Advocate

COLLEGIATE

  • Rising Star
  • Guiding Star

More details about the WE23 Local Awards: https://swe.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/2023_WeLocal_AwardPacket_Publish08012022.pdf

Membership Spotlight 


Josenia Gerdes - Control System Senior Team Lead, Caterpillar




Tell us about your position:

I'm currently leading a team to develop a new power systems product. It is an exciting and challenging project since we're developing new software and technologies while collaborating with global team members!

What attracted you to a STEM Career?
I was attracted to STEM since I always had an interest in science & technology. I think STEM careers allows all of us to be creative and contribute in our own ways to solve problems that we are interested in.

Who is your inspiration?
My mom is my inspiration. She has been my coach and cheerleader to drive me to overcome obstacles and pursue my joys to become the engineer / mom / person that I am today.

Why did you decide to join SWE?
I decided to join SWE since it's a great organization to connect with other women, share in their experiences and learn from each other

Tell us something interesting about yourself:
Playing ice hockey is one of my much-needed hobbies to help me destress! It also helps that I am smaller than my other male opponents and sometimes I get away with more penalties than I should. I also love traveling to new places with my family to hike!
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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UPCOMING SWE-CI EVENTS

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

Brimfield Library Volunteering
When: Monday, November 21st, 2022
Time: 6 PM - 7 PM 
Where: Brimfield Library 

FIRST Robotics/FIRST LEGO League Qualifier
When: Saturday, December 3rd, 2022
Where: Peoria Limestone Community High School


FIRST Robotics/FIRST LEGO League Qualifier
When: Saturday, December 10th, 2022
Where: Peoria Liberty Leadership Middle School


Dads for Daughters at UIUC
When: Sunday, December 4th, 2022
Time: 9 AM
Where: University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign

Brimfield Library Volunteering
When: Wednesday, December 7th, 2022
Time: 6 PM - 7 PM 
Where: Brimfield Library

Christmas Cookie Decorating
When:     Sunday, December 11th
Time:       1-3 PM
Where:    1221 E Duryea Av, Peoria Heights, IL 61616
Cost:        $10 per person
 
Membership Brunch 
When:     Saturday, January 21st
Time:       10 AM
Signup:    Invitation will be sent at a later date

 
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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

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