MOWs: Beth Poppe, Ash Pujari, Abby Mitchell

For our final post of the school year, we bring you the final Members of the Week for this semester. Today, we feature Beth Poppe, Ash Pujari

thumbnail_IMG_4277Name: Beth Poppe
Major: Industrial Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Grass Lake, MI
Fun Fact: I have a twin sister in SWE at the University of Michigan!
Favorite part about SWE: I love doing outreach events at the local schools. I think it is so important to show kids how cool engineers are so that one day they can aspire to be an engineer in the way that people aspire to be doctors or lawyers. Also, everyone in SWE is so welcoming and fun, it really is an awesome community of super cool women on campus!

thumbnail_IMG_2666Name: Ash (Ashleysha) Pujari
Major: Electrical Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Fun Fact: I have watched all nine seasons of The Office 6 times.
Favorite part about SWE: All the members are wonderful and want you to feel welcomed into the organization.

thumbnail_IMG_0549Name: Abby Mitchell
Major: FYE, going into Materials Engineering
Year: Freshmen
Hometown: Valparaiso, IN
Fun Fact: I’m the oldest of 5 siblings!
Favorite part about SWE: My favorite part about being is SWE is all the great opportunities it creates for women of all ages.  I also love the supportive environment of the organization!

-Megan Hedges

Editor’s Note: On behalf of everyone on the 2016-2017 Executive Board, I hope you all have a great summer! For those of you graduating, good luck in all of your future endeavors! 


For FYEs’ Consideration: Materials Engineering

This is another installment of our “For FYEs’ Consideration” series, where we introduce first-year engineers to the different engineering disciplines at Purdue. Today, we feature Materials Engineering. 

thumbnail_materialsEngineeringMaterials engineers combine physics, chemistry, and engineering to develop new materials. Materials engineering at Purdue began as an option in metallurgy for students in the School of Chemical Engineering; in 1959 the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering split into two separate schools. The School of Metallurgical Engineering became what is today known as the School of Materials Science and Engineering. Graduates from Purdue’s materials program hathumbnail_material_engineering_small_picve gone on to work in industry, government, and other schools.

Many of the classes that materials science and engineering (MSE) students take focus on the properties and processing of materials. Students will take classes such as Structure and Properties of Materials Engineering, Materials Processing Laboratory, and Mechanical Response of Materials. Because chemistry plays a major role in MSE, students also take chemistry classes such as organic chemistry.
thumbnail_material-engineeringMSE students at Purdue have fantastic opportunities to get involved. They can join the Materials Research Society, the American Ceramic Society, and several other clubs specifically for students studying materials engineering. Study abroad is an amazing opportunity open to MSE students. Recently, MSE students have studied abroad in Spain, Japan, Germany, and Australia. MSE students also have the opportunity to participate in research, including research in areas such as microstructure and composition, mechanical and thermal properties, and physical properties.

After they graduate, most MSE students go on to work in industry. Materials engineers often work in areas such as research and development, where they study the properties of certain materials and develop new materials. Many materials engineers specialize in a certain type of material, such as metals, ceramics, or plastics. Students who wish to earn a graduate degree in MSE can do so at Purdue.

-Bailey Hayes

Alumni Spotlight: Claudia Aguilar

This is another Alumni Spotlight, where we talk to PSWE alumni about their careers and experiences upon graduating from Purdue. Today, we feature Claudia Aguilar, who graduated from Purdue in industrial engineering. 

1. Where do you work, and for how long have you worked there?

I work for The Hershey Company and it will be 3 years in March.

2. Why did you decide to go to Purdue?

I was fortunate to have an older sister study civil engineering at Purdue. I had the opportunity to visit Purdue multiple times during my junior and senior year of high school and grew to love the campus. Once I decided to pursue engineering, Purdue was the perfect fit. It’s an excellent university with a great reputation, plenty to do and having an older sister there with me made it seem like home away from home.

3. Why did you join PSWE?

PSWE was my support group that got me through school. It’s a great way to meet people/make friends and give Purdue a ‘small school’ feel. It allows students to be as involved as they want, there really is something for everyone. Not only does it allow students to begin building their network with classmates, but students also have access to professionals. It was a great resume builder and helped prepare me for life after college. I was fortunate to be on the executive board for three years ( I was an officer my senior year). PSWE really helped break me out of my shell.

4. What do you like and dislike about your job?

At Hershey, I work in the continuous improvement group. My role is a mixture of a typical industrial engineering position and an autonomous maintenance SME (subject matter expert). I enjoy the fast pace and constant challenges a manufacturing environment provides. It’s great seeing the immediate impact your work can make. There’s always something new to learn and processes to improve. However, the culture and old-school manufacturing environment can be challenging to work in. My role requires the engagement of hourly employees and it’s not always easy to get in a union facility. Free chocolate is always a plus though. 😉

5. How do you balance your work and personal life?

This is something I’m constantly working on. It’s easy to turn an 8 hour day into a 10 or 12 hour day. Although it’s something I’m still working on, if I stay late I make sure not to bring any work home with me. I’ve noticed that when I work long hours and take work home, I’m not as productive or engaged the next day and it starts a vicious cycle of long work days. I try to use the time away from work to do things I enjoy and make sure they’re completely unrelated to work. Lately, I’ve been crafting, working out and learning how to play the piano in my spare time.

-Subhiksha, your editor

Meet the Board: Shifali Reddy

This is part of an ongoing series where we introduce you to our difference board members. Today, we feature our Multicultural Chair, Shifali Reddy.

Image1. Why did you choose to be the Multicultural Chair?

I choose to be Multicultural Chair because I was really interested in being part of the social aspect of SWE. I think Multicultural Chair is pretty unique because I have the ability to learn so much more about different cultures and holidays from around the world and have the opportunity to share all these insights with the other SWE members!

2. What is your ideal vacation?

My ideal vacation is going to a city that I’ve never been to before and just getting a chance to explore. I’d much rather spend time in museums learning about history than sitting on a beach.

3. What do you like most about Purdue?

I think the people at Purdue is my favorite part. Coming from New Jersey, I thought college would be super rough and that I wouldn’t be able to make any friends because I literally knew no one when I got here, but all the people have been super supportive and super nice!

4. What would be your last supper, and why?

Honestly, probably just a home-cooked meal would be my last supper because I haven’t had one in a while and that’s really the only thing on my mind at the moment.

5. Why did you join PSWE?

I joined PSWE for the social aspect and networking that SWE provides. PSWE has a multitude of social events for all its members and a ton of networking opportunities, so there’s never a dull moment!

6. Tea or coffee?


-Subhiksha, your editor

MOWs: Katie Atherton, Kait Hauber

This is part of an ongoing series where we highlight our Members of the Week. Today, we feature Katie Atherton and Kait Hauber.pastedImage

Name: Katie Atherton
Major: Biological Engineering
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Lemont, IL
Fun Fact: I have been taking Spanish classes since the fourth grade!
Favorite Part about SWE: I love the camaraderie of the club; everyone is really welcoming and supportive of each other. I also love that my voice is heard. I can make suggestions to my chair and she will incorporate them into her plans for the AMMs.

Image (2)Name: Kait Hauber
Major: Aero & Astro Engineering
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Avon, IN
Fun Fact: I play cello here in the Philharmonic Orchestra.
Favorite part about SWE: Grand Prix is my favorite part about SWE.

-Megan Hedges

Industry Insights: Allie Sexton

This is another installment in our “Industry Insights” series, where we feature guest posts of people in the industry sharing their insights. Today, we feature Allie Sexton who works in Oslo, Norway.

“Hello!  My name is Allie Sexton and I graduated in 2014 from Construction Engineering and Management.  I went on to work (as an intern) that summer for Walsh Construction in Oslo, Norway.  Walsh was constructing for the U.S. Government in Norway and I was lucky to be a part of it for 3 months.

I jumped on that plane June 1 and did not know what to expect.  I had studied abroad in New Zealand, so how hard would 3 months be in Norway?  Well, I was working a lot and not meeting any local people.  Then 6 weeks in to my internship, I met my current boyfriend, Christian, on a complete coincidence.  He’s Norwegian and was working in Oslo at the time. We had common hiking and traveling interests so we hit off.  I left Oslo in August knowing that I had to come back.

Fast forward 5 months… my plane landed in Oslo and I began my career as a Project Engineer with Walsh.

But the project was not performing well, the client was incredibly difficult, and we suffered from bad management.  One of my colleagues took me under his wing and started giving me tasks of my own, challenging me, and acting as a mentor. Because of his guidance, I was able to prove myself capable of handling material procurement and, eventually, of managing my own subcontractors.  But as 2015 dragged on 2016 began, more and more of my upper management started to leave the project.  Managing subcontractors is not something that a Project Engineer usually handles without guidance of a superior. I therefore felt that I lacked guidance, and the project was definitely wearing on me.

My first two years as a professional were not easy.  Combine a difficult job with moving to a new country and adjusting to professional life after college…. it turned out to be a pretty rough start!  But I am here to share with you that the project ended and things got better. 

Christian and I decided to stay in Oslo, and I now work with a Norwegian subcontractor here in the city.  My tasks are so far very manageable and it feels so great to work with local Norwegians.  I start Norwegian language lessons soon and am getting my driving license (much harder to do than in the States!). Getting a network is so beneficial and it would not have happened had I not joined a Norwegian firm. I am no longer a transplant here in Norway!

I don’t have a long list of advice for you…. but I hope my story can demonstrate that change is scary, but change can also be a good thing.  Leaving my American job felt like I was cutting ties to America for good, but in reality, you can always go back.  Family and friends will make time for you, and you will make time for them.  Being an expat will challenge you in ways you never dreamed of, but it will open so many other doors for you as well.  So take these kinds of opportunities if you can, and don’t be afraid to make a change that is ultimately better for you.”

-Leann Demorest

2017 Regional SWE Conference

At the beginning of Spring Break, 20 PSWE members, board members and general members alike, went to the Regional Conference at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. This was last regional SWE conference ever, since the national SWE organization will be restructuring. Nevertheless, this conference was intended to help us gain professional skills such as in networking, choosing our career paths, and deciding whether to go to graduate school.295028864ed34fab950196b2fc9af6e6

Here are several of our favorite moments:

  • The keynote speaker kicking off the conference. This was practically a favorite among all of us. Patricia Poppe, the president of CMS Energy, is a former Boilermaker herself! While attending Purdue, she helped put together another Region H Conference. She gave some really good advice to us by using a road trip analogy: pick your route, go full speed, ask for directions, leverage on/off ramps, and keep your engine tuned. But most importantly, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

She ended her speech by answering the age-old question: how do you balance your work and personal life? Well, the truth is, you don’t. Both aspects of your life should relate to each other as long as you love what you do. Some of our group went to her Q&A session later, where she addressed questions like if she faced gender bias at work (which she didn’t). Regardless, she firmly expressed that we shouldn’t self-select out of an opportunity by saying:

“We as women think we are not as qualified for a role, (but) you are as valuable to the organization as everyone else.”

  • The water problem in Flint, Michigan. This session was led by a water engineer who was involved with the Flint Water Crisis. She explained about the lead content in the pipes and how it affected the drinking water in the city. Now, she is figuring out a way to minimize the lead through a model program.
  • How to be creative in engineering. Okay, so this one was my personal favorite, mostly because I like being creative in coming up with project ideas. Most of this session focused on different brainstorming activities such as juxtaposing two seemingly unrelated subjects (i.e. basketball and popcorn) together to create a new product (bowls for popcorn). Each idea should be seen as an opportunity, even if you purposefully come up with something that makes the problem worse (another good brainstorming tactic that tests your boundaries).
  • Computer security and us. This session sounds like a no-brainer for us engineers, but it was really worth it, from the presentation, the speaker, to the information itself. The person leading the session, a PhD student from UC San Diego, talked about how there is a way to figure out if you’ve been sent a phishing email; check the web address. If the web address has an http or https, you’re safe (it stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure). Also, pro tip: use a long password…like 16 characters long.

All in all, even though each of us may have had different experiences, we all agreed it was a great start to our Spring Break. So, without further ado, I’m going to let our webmaster Megan Rodder and her office assistant Megan Lim take us out with a rap:8870780b6cad47128d1bf95d1b1e07aa

Megan is our name,
Pencil skirts are our game,
SWE conference is lit,
Let me tell you about it a bit.
*dab* Office assistant goals,
Kindred souls,
Michigan is a SWEet space,
Fries and burgers all over the place.
Engineering at its best,
Purdue above all the rest.
It’s a little cold,
But our nails are real bold.
The cherries are bomb,
.com *dab*
Engineering with our peers,
Will remember this for years.*mic drop, final dab*

-Subhiksha, your editor