“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

– Malala Yousafzai

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SWE-CI Monthly Buzz Header

A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin

In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg states “We stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us, women who had to fight for the rights that we now take for granted.”
We'll be celebrating SWE-CI 30th anniversary as a professional section this fiscal year.
Central Illinois’s Section charter of the Society of Women Engineers was approved on June 28,1992. Sandberg’s quote rings true as we thank the charter members who had the foresight to create a community within Central Illinois that is vibrant, engaged, and supports SWE's vision:
  • To empower women to achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders
  • Expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life
  • Demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.
Our section continues to build upon this legacy and opportunity that the charter members created.
During this year of celebration, we’ll kickstart new initiatives including:
  • a mentoring program
  • a celebration of SWE CI members as the Buzz newsletter plans to publish career and life changes to create a sense of community
  • 30th anniversary celebration for SWE Central Illinois in 2022.
Personally, I set a goal to give the 'gift' of recognition as a way to recognize our amazing members.
Last year, during a tumultuous and introspective year, SWE Central Illinois pivoted to engage our members and our community in new and different ways. Virtual events allowed our section to connect more broadly and with greater impact.
Over the last year, SWE CI was one of my rocks. The pandemic shone a light on the importance of science, engineering, and research as the world strove to develop vaccines and treatments for the COVID-19 virus. While our outreach activities of constructing birdhouses and solving a speed cube puzzle (to name just a few) might not be developing mRNA vaccines, they are the building blocks showing how to think critically, use logic, and collaborate to solve problems. 
This year, our leadership team will continue to build programming and events using a hybrid of virtual and in-person events, leveraging from what we learned last year.
Our leadership team met in July to plan activities for the coming year. I came away inspired as each committee chair, area representative and collegiate liaison presented their vision and goals. I am excited to see the year unfold as we offer events that enhance professional development, inspire and challenge us technically, support our work life integration, build connections and lifelong friendships, advocate and celebrate each other, collaborate and network with other professional organizations and SWE collegiate sections, and give back by inspiring others on their STEM journeys.
We welcome all members to attend monthly leadership meetings. We'll be asking for your input throughout the year to ensure events empower you on your journey. Please reach out to anyone of us.


SWE-CI Leaders

Congratulations to the new FY22 SWE-CI leadership team!

Join SWE-CI Mentoring Program

Mutual support is one of the SWE Core Values. As a professional section, we strive to provide an organization that fosters mentoring and the development of professional and personal networks.

This year, SWE CI is launching a mentoring program pilot for SWE CI Professional Members and upper-class SWE Collegiate Members preparing to enter the workforce. The intent of this mentoring pilot is meet monthly for 1 year or throughout the school year.

A contract will be provided at the beginning of the mentoring program for the mentor and mentee to agree to terms of the mentoring partnership.

If you are interested in serving as a mentor and/or being a mentee, please complete this survey ( as soon as possible. The survey link will remain open with a first round of mentor/mentee pairings occurring at the end of September. If you have any questions, please reach out to Aisling Hinderliter or Fiona O’Laughlin.


eMentor, an Award Winning Online Mentor Program - Marine Corps Community

Committee Updates


In the spring of 2021, SWE-CI won 2nd place in the WOW! Innovations Challenge for Professionals. The purpose of the challenge was o showcase your SWE section and school or employers to help support students' transitions to college and career. The award included $500, that’s planned to be used for SWE-CI 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2022.  

Check out the video:

Dream Center of Peoria is excited to kick off SWE-Science club for the school year.

The Outreach Committee is working developing robotic badge kits for check out at all Girl Scout Service Centers in Central Illinois. Also, planning is underway for IGStem camp in partnership with WIN-CI.

Stay tuned for more information or contact Kade Diallo or Karen Raab to join our planning sessions.

Professional Development

Hello, SWE-CI members!  I’m excited about the upcoming year with the Professional Development committee.  We’ve held our first committee meeting of the year and have some great ideas for events to help all of us as we grow professionally.  We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to hold some in-person events this year, as well as virtual events.  One of the unexpected benefits of being fully virtual for the last 18 months was the engagement from members across the entire geographic region of our section.  As we start to transition back to more in-person events, one of our main goals is to look for ways to continue to engage the entire section.  We would love more committee members to help us plan and deliver high quality events and would especially welcome members from outside the Peoria area to help us make sure that we are representing the entire section.

We are planning to have our first Professional Development event this fall.  Watch the Buzz newsletter for more information!

PROTEC17 introduces new Professional Development Fund! - PROTEC17



Scholarship Campaign Success!

Thank you so much to all who donated to our campaign to increase our scholarship fund in FY21. 
In FY 21 SWE Central Illinois had:
• 40 donations from individuals totaling nearly $4,000 
• Company matches submitted and confirmed worth an additional $3,000 
• SWE-CI excess funds transferred to the scholarship campaign equaling $3,000 

All together we met our goal of $10,000 which was added to the SWE Central Illinois Scholarship Endowment Fund in June 2021.

Thanks again to all who made donations and submitted matches with their companies to make this amazing increase to scholarships possible. This clearly demonstrates our section’s commitment to supporting women in their journeys to become engineers.

Work Life Integration

I’m Elizabeth Fawcett, one of the co-chairs of the work-life integration committee! I work for Eaton Corporation in Lincoln, IL as a VAVE Engineer. I live in Peoria, IL and in my spare time, I enjoy trying new cooking recipes, being active, and spending time with my husband and two dogs!

I’m Sarah Flanigan, the other co-chair of the work-life integration committee.  I’ve been working as a chemical engineer at Caterpillar Inc. in Mossville, IL for 19 years.  I live in Dunlap, IL with my husband, two sons, and two dogs. 
We would like to welcome you to a new membership year! As your work-life integration chairs, we want to make sure we are hosting and fostering fun, inclusive, and collaborative events! So with that in mind, a survey will be sent out shortly to gage member interest on days and times that work best for you, as well as the type of events you would like to see hosted in the upcoming year. Our goals this year are to host an event every month - with some being more informal in nature, such as a happy hour or coffee meet-up - and to host a couple of events in the Bloomington area in an effort to reach all members in our section. We would also like to offer a combination of virtual and in-person events due to the ever-changing situation with the coronavirus pandemic. Please participate in the survey so we can best serve you!

July and August Events

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

Membership Committee:

SWE Membership Drive: 

The membership committee hosted its first FY22 membership drive event on August 26th. SWE Central IL has 9 committees, in addition to 4 Regional representatives/coordinators, Advisory board with multiple leaders, 2 Collegiate Counselors and a Historian. All the committee leaders shared information about goals they are working on and how they align with SWE's core values. If you are interested in any of our committees, please sign up in the sheet here. We will be reaching out to folks who signed up on this sheet and copying the leaders of the committees you are interested in. 

If you would like to know more about SWE Central IL, please contact us at We will contact you back with details on how you can involve yourself in varying degrees.

Here is the presentation from the event, if you would like to learn more.

2 randomly chosen attendees also won a water bottle and a SWE sticker at the event. 
Watch out for more happy hours and networking event invitations in this space and your email. 

Outreach Committee:

Theremin Session: 

On August 1st, SWE-CI held a virtual outreach program which focused on creating opportunities for middle school students to interact with college students and professionals to learn about education choices and to demystify breadboards while creating cool musicals instruments called theremins.

Students learned about Society of Women engineers and our mission as well as how to troubleshoot circuits with this fun step by step experiment. With 5 mentors and 7 students this virtual session presented a high ratio of mentoring guidance throughout this session.

Rubik's Cube Event: 

Over the last month, SWE-CI has been participating in the American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) Tech Trek California 2021, a virtual STEM camp for girls. Over three one-week sessions, SWE-CI has hosted an evening class on algorithms, including a discussion on algorithms in engineering and  teaching the students how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Students were encouraged to develop their own algorithms as well as use the solution manuals presented. They were also able to ask the female engineers about their career paths and various disciplines in engineering. 

Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming September events. 

Work Life Integration Committee

Membership Picnic

Our first in-person event will be our Fall Membership Picnic on Sunday, September 19th, 2021. This event is a family friendly event and will be held at Fondulac Park West in East Peoria from 12:30p – 3:30p (address below). We will be asking for a $5 per person reservation fee as we will be providing covid-friendly pre-packaged meals and drinks. This will not be refundable. The RSVP for this event will be coming out the week of August 30th, so please keep an eye out! We can’t wait to see you there!

Fondulac Park- West Park Shelter
300 Springfield Road
East Peoria, IL 61611


SWE WE21 Conference

Are you interested in attending WE21, the largest event for women in engineering and technology? Then consider attending WE21 Conference in Indianapolis from October 21-23. It is only a few hours from drive from Central Illinois!

This year’s theme is Aspire to Inspire and SWE is currently offering both an in-person and virtual attendance. Information about the WE21 Conference is available at the following link. SWE will be requiring all attendees to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test upon entry. In addition, SWE is seeking feedback from members on how they plan to participate in WE21 this year through their website.

I was amazed and blown away at my very first SWE Conference, WE18 in Minneapolis. I came back empowered and connected to my fellow engineers. So, start the discussions with your leadership on the professional development opportunities available at the world's largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. Early bird pricing cut off is September 20, 2021. Consider using the following template to request your employer’s support for attending the conference. SWE also offer registration grant.

Once you’ve registered for the Conference, come support our SWE-CI speakers!

Beth Hinchee – Making Better Decisions
Katie Kaufman – Social Media Strategy
Stacey Delvecchio – Inspiration Abounds: A Corporate Board Panel
Margo Bubb - Changing Direction, Always An Engineer

Hope to see you in Indianapolis! Where we all can inspire change in engineering and get ready to learn from one another and grow as individuals to impact the industry in profound ways. Aspire to Inspire!


To register or learn more, click on webinar below:

Pathway to Success - Own Your Greatness

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 in Spring 2021.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!


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SWE Membership Picnic
Sunday, September 19th 
12:30 - 3:30pm
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Central Illinois Professional Section. All rights reserved.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

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