"We have the opportunity to create the future and decide what that's like."
— Mae Jemison
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A Note from the President

By Thuong Le 

I am extremely grateful to have a diverse and talented executive board to support our section this coming year. SWE's Central Illinois leadership team met in July for our annual planning meeting. We focused on understanding our organization's mission and strategic goals. It's important to understand and reflect on our purpose, our intention and why we invest our valuable time and energy into an organization.
I grew up in Vietnam, where survival was the primary objective and education was trivial. I missed months of school because my mom and I were trying to escape the country which was under the communist regime. So after ten years of perseverance, we made it over to the United States. In the States, I had a very supportive learning environment, encouraging parents and teachers, that helped me pursue an engineering degree. I realized I was the fortunate one; as my intelligent and capable female cousins and friends back in Vietnam did not have the supportive environment or opportunities that I did.
When I joined SWE-CI in 2017, I was thrilled to meet a group of female professionals who wanted to provide opportunities and empower the next generation of females. SWE's mission and strategic goals below resonated with me. I believe that education provides knowledge; with knowledge comes power.  But it's the supportive network that can empower us and make us grow.
SWE Mission: 
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, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.
Strategic Goals:
Advocacy & Collaboration: SWE will expand access for, and strengthen the inclusion and retention of, girls and women in engineering and technology.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging: SWE will champion intersectional diversity within engineering and technology and model an inclusive and equitable environment.
Global Community: SWE will be a global, inclusive community, empowering women in engineering and technology from all locations and life stages.
Growth & Excellence: SWE will be the global authority on and a resource for women in and aspiring to careers in engineering and technology to develop their talents, personally define success, and achieve excellence throughout their life journeys.
So I invite you to join us at our upcoming events and support each other to advance the quality of life for all those around us.

Committee Updates

Advocacy Committee

Hello from the Advocacy Committee!

We just kicked off the year with our first committee meeting on August 24th, and we are excited about continuing to advocate for women in STEM with our elected officials.   This year we plan to promote a GET OUT AND VOTE campaign.  Watch for more details in upcoming weekly e-mails.  

In the meantime, we would like to share some exciting legislation news on the CHIPS Act.   This act passed both the Senate and the House on July 27th, and President Biden signed it into Law on August 9th. You’ll be pleased to see that the bill includes spending to allocate more resources to science research and technology.

Here’s a quick summary written by WIPP (Women Impacting Public Policy) in their August Newsletter : WIPP Monthly Advocacy Blog: August Recess - Women Impacting Public Policy

Happy August to Women Impacting Public Policy! As you know, August is typically the slow season for Congress. However the last few years have been unusually busy with this year being no different. By now, everyone has heard about the recent passage of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, also known as the CHIPS and Science bill.

Let’s start with the CHIPS and Science Act. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing this legislation in our recent Advocacy and Policy News sessions. It has been over a year since Senator Schumer settled into the Majority Leaders position in January 2021. While it seemed like the legislation stalled after the House and Senate passed their own respective versions of the bill, things took a shift in early July. With several concessions from both parties, the CHIPS Act is a very targeted bill, focusing mainly on bolstering US semiconductor capacity, addressing competition with China and allocating more resources to science, research, and development. On July 27, the Senate passed the CHIPS Act in a 64-33 vote and the House followed soon after with a 243-187 vote. To summarize: 

  • The bill authorizes $280 billion in spending to bolster innovation and tech hubs 

  • Includes more than $76 billion to revive chip production in the U.S.

  • Includes $52.7 billion on direct financial assistance for the construction and expansion of semiconductor manufacturing facilities

  • Includes nearly $10 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology 

  • Includes $80 billion in boosting the National Science Foundation

  • Includes billions of dollars for Department of Energy (DOE) programs supporting research in basic science, fusion energy, carbon sequestration, advanced scientific computing, high energy physics and other areas. 

  • Includes other programs addressing ocean acidification, space technology and exploration, blockchain, STEM education in rural communities and bioengineering 

Professional Development Committee
FY23 is in full swing that the PD Committee is exciting for the year to come. Over this new year our focus will be Career Management.  We will be holding online trainings, speakers, and events that go with this theme. 
In the coming months we will be holding the following events:

October – Digital Twins with Dr. Wilcox
November – Awards Banquet and Speaker

If you have a speaker or a tour you would like the committee to consider please reach out to either Heather Ulrich or Yanchai Zhang!

Membership Committee

Renew FY23 Membership:

Renew your SWE membership for the FY23 year (7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023). All members must use their SWE member credentials to log in and register.
If you would like to ask your manager for membership support check-out this site -

June/July Events

Outreach Committee:

4H STEM Camp:

In June, SWE Central Illinois and Caterpillar's WIN Central Illinois partnered together to host a day at Caterpillar's Tech Center for the University of Illinois Extension 4H STEM Camp. The day included many STEM activities that were demonstrated by women engineers. These activities included tours of the facilities, 3D printing, demonstrations, and learning about electronics!

SWE Exec:

Kick-Off Meeting for New FY23 Team:

On Monday July 25th, The new FY23 SWE-CI Exec team got together for their first meeting! This kick-off meeting gave us a chance to present and establish each committee's goals for the upcoming year! Thank you Fiona for hosting!


Upcoming Events

More details to come on upcoming events. 
Outreach Committee

STEM Boot Camp:
When: October 1st 
Time: 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Location: Illinois Math Academy at Northwoods Mall

SWENext Lindbergh:
When: September 21st
Time: 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Location: Charles A Lindbergh School

Work Life Integration Committee

Peoria Riverfront Museum Sculpture Walk!
Let's get together and enjoy the Sculpture Walk and exhibit by Peoria ART Guild.

For additional information visit the Peoria Art Guild website here:
When: Saturday, August 27th
Time: 10:00 -11:00 AM
Where: Peoria Riverfront Museum Lobby at 9:50 AM
Cost: No cost to attend! FREE!
Who: All are invited. No RSVP's required. Bring your family as well


Membership Picnic

Please take a moment to share your availability for the annual fall picnic. This family friendly event will be held in September at Robinson Park Shelter (400 West Mossville Road, Peoria, IL 61615). More information to come as details are being finalized! This survey will close on 8/31.


Membership Committee

Membership Drive

Join us virtually in our next membership drive as we plan to introduce the new leadership team and enjoy a cooking lesson from Love Ugorji! Love will share over zoom her favorite dish and show us how to make it!

Date:     Thursday, September 8th
Time:      12:00 to 1:00 PM
Location:  Zoom 

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.  She will be presenting on “Digital Twins:  The personalized future of computing for complex systems.”  Dr. Willcox will be speaking live at Bradley University, with a live stream via Zoom to the University of Illinois.  Professional members are encouraged to attend at whichever location is more convenient for them.

Date:      Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Time:      5:30 – Networking & Appetizers
               6:30 – Presentation
Location:  Bradley University – BECC 1150/1160
                University of Illinois – Room TBA
Cost:      Collegiate Members - Free
               SWE Professional Members - $10
               Guests - $15
Event Flyer located HERE
Registration HERE (RSVP by Friday, September 30)

We are offering an opportunity for professional members and guests to sponsor a collegiate to attend the talk for an additional $5.  If you are interested in sponsoring a collegiate member, please indicate that on your registration form and include the additional amount in your PayPal payment.  Any sponsorships collected in excess of the number of students who attend will be donated to the SWE – Central Illinois endowed scholarship fund. 

WE22 Conference

Conference is October 20-22 in Houston, TX

Early bird pricing now through 9/30/2022 is $475 for professional members.
Conference registration just opened on 5/16/2022.
Michele Sullivan will be the keynote speaker at the closing celebration. 

Registration Information - WE22 (

If you are attending WE22 Conference, please fill out this form for a chance to meet up:

WE Locals 2023

WE Local Awards Training Session

During this live session, the SWE FY23 Awards & Recognition Chair and Chair-Elect will review the WE Local Awards nomination process, including tips for applying. There will be time allotted for questions at the end. This session will be recorded. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, August 30th from 7-8pm CST.

When: Tuesday, August 30th
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Where: Zoom 

WE Local Call for Participation 

WE Local is looking for speakers on topics ranging from career management and strategic leadership to technical innovations and self-management and development. As a presenter, you will have an opportunity to share your expertise and support the advancement of women engineers. 

Deadline to submit is October 17, 2022

Visit WE Local Website for More Information: Speak at WE Local - WE Local (
Overview Course to improve your chances of being selected: WE Local Call for Participation Guidelines - Overview | SWE

Peoria 40 Leaders Under Forty Nominations

Please consider nominating someone who you admire as an emerging leader for the annual 40 Leaders Under Forty. Nominations are to be submitted to Peoria Magazines office by August 31, 2022. Nominees must be 39 years of age or younger as of December 31, 2022, and live and work within the 9 counties* around the Peoria area. To learn more and download the nomination form, please go to Peoria Magazine’s website.
*Note: The 9 counties include Fulton, Knox, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.

Membership Spotlight - Morgan Nash

Morgan Nash is a Performance Analyst on Spark Ignited Gas Engines at Caterpillar, Inc. She is also one of SWE Central Illinois' Communication Chairs!

Tell us a little about your position:
As a performance analyst, I work directly with the natural gas powered engines at Tech Center Building L. I manage the development test plan, calibrate the performance maps and debug various engine and facility issues.

What attracted you to a STEM Career?
Growing up I always wanted to make a difference, particularly by improving the environment with more sustainable technology. Having a knack for mechanical systems, I focused my academics toward energy systems such as engines and hydropower.

Who is your inspiration?
I am inspired by the many female leaders (official and unofficial) at Caterpillar. They are constantly reminding me that I can shoot for the stars and that we are always stronger when we lift each other up.

Why did you decide to join SWE?
While in college, I joined THE Ohio State SWE chapter in order to meet fellow women engineers and foster new friendships. In 2019, I joined Caterpillar and excitedly join SWE-CI for similar reasons. I love getting to know other female engineers within the Central Illinois area!

Interesting Facts:
When traveling to new areas, my favorite activity is to sample the local brewery's sours and stouts, sours in the summer and stouts in the winter. I am also a big proponent for pairing my food and drinks with the atmosphere and hope one day to create a restaurant the highlights these pairings.


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!

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

STEM Boot Camp:
When: October 1st 
Time: 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Location: Illinois Math Academy at Northwoods Mall

SWENext Lindbergh:
When: September 21st
Time: 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Location: Charles A Lindbergh School
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