“Ask what do you want now, to free yourself from thinking about the limitations of the technology and let your imagination take you to what things do you want to have done, what problems do you want to solve.”

– Andra Keay, managing director, Silicon Valley Robotics

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A Note from the President
By Fiona O'Laughlin

The SWE21 Conference, Aspire to Inspire, is less than a month away. I encourage you, either virtually or if you feel comfortable to attend in person, and to take time for yourself to be inspired and reinvigorated. Focusing on you by attending the conference offers a time to pause, reflect and assimilate what you learn; a time to connect with yourself and others; a time to be inspired, open to possibilities and to dream; and a time to celebrate!

So let's celebrate our professional section! Earlier this week, our Central Illinois was notified that we will receive the following SWE Mission Awards at the conference: Best Practice for Awards and Recognition, Best Practice for Communication, and the Professional Gold! This is truly an exceptional accomplishment during a very challenging year.

Let's congratulate and support our SWE CI members who are presenting at the conference ~ Margo Bubb, Stacey DelVecchio, Beth Hinchee, and Katie Kaufman. Stacey DelVecchio will be at the SWE Boutique displaying the book she recently co-authored called Women in 3D Printing: From Bones to Bridges and Everything in Between.

I would like to leave you with a personal note about my first experience at the SWE Conference. I joined SWE to attend the WE Conference 2014 in Los Angeles. I was so impressed with the enthusiasm and energy around the conference as well as the fierce focus on professional and technical development. During one of the conference sessions to build your leadership brand, the audience was guided to write professional and personal brand statements - in those 5-minutes, and in a moment of inspiration and clarity, I jotted down a few sentences. At the core, that statement still holds true today and represents me and who I want to become. After the conference, I thought that was it. The best surprise came when I returned to Central Illinois and learned of the vibrancy of the Central Illinois professional section. I would like to extend a huge thanks to our inspiring and engaged members who live into the SWE mission every day.

Committee Updates


“Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group that aims to influence decisions within political, economic and social institutions” …Capitol Hill Day, Preparing to Advocate during your Virtual Fly-in March 21.


SWE-CI has a passion for advocating for women in STEM, as shown by our very strong participation in the April 2021 Capitol Hill Virtual Fly-in.  The advocacy committee is excited to continue this work and expand it to the state level.  Trying to understand what is happening in Illinois legislature, that supports women in STEM, is no small task.  However, the advocacy team is up for the challenge.  One way, we all can advocate for women in STEM is by staying up to date on the acts that are in process at the Federal Government level that many of us learned about during our Capitol Hill event.  To help accomplish this, the advocacy committee will share updates in SWE Buzz Newsletter so we can all stay current on the latest progress and we will highlight some key legislation to watch.  As these acts come into play, they can influence what happens at the state level and help us advocate in Illinois.

Legislation To Watch
Federal Policy Highlight:  The STEM Opportunities Act (H.R. 204) improves data collection to further implement evidence-based policies and directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House to promote the progress of women and underrepresented persons in STEM fields.  In May, this act passed in the House of Representatives.  It has been received by the Senate and is being evaluated.  

For more details

 Professional Development

The Professional Development committee will be leading discussion sessions on the SWE “Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership” training, beginning in October.  This training is available at no charge to all SWE members through the SWE Advance Learning Center, and aims to build leadership, inclusion, and allyship behaviors, the core elements of a truly welcoming workplace.  This specific diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) program is formatted into 5 sequential, asynchronous virtual lessons.  A link for more information on the training and to register is below.  Make sure that you are logged in to register for free!

Participants will view each training module on their own, and we will meet to discuss the training modules.  The first group discussion will be held via Teams on Thursday, October 26, where we will discuss Module 1: A Shared Language for DEI & The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leaders.  We hope you will join us!

PROTEC17 introduces new Professional Development Fund! - PROTEC17


Membership Survey:

We want to hear from you!!  Please take a quick 2min survey to help us in planning our events, speakers, etc for FY22.  Please go HERE and let us know what you would like us to schedule over the coming year!

September Events

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

Outreach Committee:

Dream Center: 

The 2021-2022 schoolyear Friday Science sessions began with great attendance on 9/3. With 8 volunteers and 25 students, fun and learning was had by all as we talked about the concepts of Design, Build, and Test and how they are used in various engineering fields. This will be our main theme this year as we proceed with in-person, every other Friday sessions at Dream Center Peoria! The students worked in 2-student teams to create a free-standing support structure for a “money bucket” using straws, paper cups, tape and string. Students discussed what they learned and what they would do better next time. 

SWENext Lindberg: 

SWENext at Lindberg kicked off on Wednesday, Sept 15 during an after school session, Gina Riley and Karen Raab led a group of students to create classroom air filters.  We used 4 MERV-13 air filters, a fan that recirculates the filtered air and lots of duct tape!! The girls really enjoyed the task.  Contact Gina Riley if you are interested in volunteering for a future event. 

Work Life Integration:

Membership Picnic: 

On Sunday, September 19th, the Work Life Integration Committee hosted our "Annual" Membership Picnic. The picnic was held at the West Shelter at Fondulac Park in East Peoria. The shelter provided a secluded area with a private playground for the kids to enjoy. We opted for boxed meals from Jimmy John’s for the provided lunch during the picnic this year. After lunch, we helped our Outreach Committee by putting together some Kamigami Robots for future events. It ended up being a beautiful, albeit a little warm, September day! Thank you to all who attended! It was so nice to finally see everyone in person!


Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming September, October, & November events. 

Professional Development Committee

Module 1: A Shared Language for DEI & The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leaders
October 26 - Group Discussion via Teams 
Register HERE

Outreach Committee

Girl Scout Big Tap:
September 25th from 9am - 3pm @ Big Tab (1452 Hickory Point Rd in Metamora) 

Sign-up HERE to volunteer (Looking for 2 volunteers for 1hr timeslots)
For more information please contact Outreach Committee Chairs Karen Raab ( or Kade Diallo (

4H Web Develop Club:
September 27th from 6-7:30pm @ Illinois Math Academy in Northwoods Mall, Peoria, IL
More information can be found HERE

Girls Who Code Sessions:
Held weekly on Wednesday Starting Oct 6th from 4:30-7pm @ Illinois Math Academy in Northwoods Mall, Peoria
Sign-Up for weeks that work with your schedule HERE
From information please contact Girls who Code Leader - Roopa Foulger

Lindbergh SWENext:
Monthly on Wednesday @ 2pm in the school cafeteria - For more information please contact Gina Riley (

Girl Scout STEMinar - Heartland Community College:
November 13th @ 1-4pm at Heartland Community College
SWE-CI will work on Kamgimi Robots to help Girl Scout Members earn their robotics badge.  More information can be found HERE
To sign up to volunteer please go HERE
For more information please contact Outreach Committee Chairs Karen Raab ( or Kade Diallo (

Member Spotlight

September 15 to October 15 is commemorated nationwide as National Hispanic Heritage Month. This celebration was created to recognize, educate, celebrate and pay tribute to the positive impact Hispanic Americans have left on the country. National Hispanic Heritage Month honors the cultures, traditions and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in Spain, Mexico, the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The celebration dates were chosen to coincide with the Independence of Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize.

SWE CI would like to join the celebration and highlight a new SWE CI member of Latino descent. This month, our spotlight shines the light on Laura Robles.

Laura Robles
My name is Laura Robles I am from Nogales, Arizona. I recently graduated from the University of Arizona, where I majored in Cyber Operations. I have been with Caterpillar full-time since June. I started my journey with Caterpillar as a summer intern in June 2020 and continued as a part-time IT intern throughout the school year. I was an intern with GIS in the Identity Access Management team. I am currently in the Digital & IT Development program and for my first rotation I am working in the Cat Digital Analytics team.  

What attracted you to a STEM career? 
What attracted me to a STEM career was the opportunity to use creativity to find solutions to problems in different subjects such as health, art, education, work, etc. STEM careers can be challenging, but there are always new things to learn, which is another reason why I chose a STEM career.
Who is your inspiration? 
My inspiration is my parents; both of them encouraged my siblings and I to pursue post-secondary education. They value education and challenged us to try new hobbies, sports and to learn different skills to be prepared for the future. My dad is an engineer and that allowed me to see to the type of work I could do with a degree in STEM. 

Why did you decide to join SWE? 
I decided to join SWE to find a community of women that work in STEM and engineering. I know this a great organization for professional development, and it also gives back through outreach in the community to share our knowledge with younger generations.  
Tell us something interesting about yourself? 
I enjoy traveling, doing jigsaw puzzles, and learning new languages.

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
10/21    2:30-3:30 PM (EDT)                         Making Better Decisions               
Every day you make decisions. Have you ever wondered how to make better decisions – especially when it matters most? This session will look at various factors which impact the quality of decisions, help you more accurately evaluate past decisions, and provide you with actions you can take to make better decisions in the future. The practical techniques presented can be applied to every facet of your life.

Margo Bubb 
10/21     4-5 PM                              Changing Directions - Always an Engineer
Are you ready to change direction in your career or looking for new opportunities in retirement? Come to this engaging panel discussion and find out how you can utilize your engineering skills in careers/activities you might not have considered. Panelists will discuss what motivated them to pivot away from engineering. From engineering to becoming a baker, philanthropist, career strategist, and higher education administrator, the panelists highlight that your options are endless! Use their inspiration to aspire to a meaningful and fulfilling career and/or retirement.

Stacey Delvecchio
10/22     10-11 AM (EDT)                Inspiration Abounds - Corporate Board Panel
Sitting on a corporate board, the pinnacle of one’s career, is aspirational for many women. While having more women on corporate boards is certainly needed, there are several women who have achieved these ranks, often on more than one board. Join this distinguished panel to hear from two such women: Cindy Niekamp and Jill Tietjen. Each of these impressive panelists has served on at least one corporate board for numerous years. They will be sharing their experiences of being on a board, including what the work entails, how much time they devote to their duties, and what they find most rewarding.

Katie Kaufman
10/23     10-11 AM (EDT) SWE Social Media Strategy Training
As the society continues to expand globally, how are our SWE groups conveying the importance of SWE through the use of social media? The Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) provides a community and numerous resources for SWE Sections to expand their online presence in a strategic and purposeful way. The session leaders will include IMAB leadership and members equipped with the knowledge to provide brand and strategic information members at all levels of the society need to know and be aware of. This session will cover who and what the IMAB is, how to to maintain a consistent brand along with a discussion as to the importance of maximizing your brand potential, and provide an understanding of your online presence and managing your social media platforms.

Our section has been notified we will be receiving the following awards during the conference:

Strategic Goal #3: Advocacy - Best Practice - Awards & Recognition
Strategic Goal #4: Diversity & Inclusion - Best Practice - Communication
Professional Gold

We are currently collecting names of those individuals who will be attending the conference either in-person or virtually.  Please go HERE today to let us know if you will be joining us for this years conference.

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!

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 until September 27th 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


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 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!


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

Volunteers for Girl Scout Big Tap
Saturday, September 25th 
9am - 3pm
Big Tap (1452 Hickory Point Rd in Metamora)

Volunteers for 4H Web Development Club
Monday, September 27th 
6 - 7:30pm
Illinois Math Academy in Northwoods Mall Peoria, IL

Professional Development: SWE Developing the Mindset for Inclusive Leadership Training
Discuss Module 1: A Shared Language for DEI & The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leaders
Thursday, October 26th 
Time: TBD
On Teams

Volunteers for Girl Scout STEMinar - Heartland Community College
Saturday, November 13th 
1 - 4pm
Heartland Community College
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Central Illinois Professional Section. All rights reserved.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 96, Mossville, IL 61552

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