Biomedical Engineering major Sophia Chang was recently interviewed in an article about the UMass Amherst section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) on the SWE national website.
Chang, the UMass chapter’s president for fiscal year 2022, says that “In a field that is still largely male-dominated, it’s important that women in engineering know that there are both other women out there in the same fields they are, and that they can succeed with the support of a community around them.”
As Chang says in her SWE interview, “I became involved [with the UMass SWE chapter] through meeting some of the members at an event held during the beginning of my freshman year, where multiple engineering groups tabled in the engineering quad. The ladies running the table were very friendly and passionate about their club, which was really welcoming to see as a nervous freshman.”
According to Chang, “When women come to college to start an engineering major, they’re placed in prerequisite courses and intro-to-engineering courses that are almost always mostly men. SWE offers a place for these freshmen to be themselves without feeling like they need to act a certain way to be in engineering, to learn skills in a way tailored to them, and to remind them that they do belong here.”
Chang goes on to say that “If I had to give a single piece of advice for someone looking to get involved with SWE, I would say, ‘Just do it! Just reach out and see what you can do, at any level of involvement you can sustain.’ Some people just get our newsletter, and that’s great! Some people only come to one or two meetings, and that’s great too! Some people show up for our community service events, or for the free snacks, or chat in our Slack, and all of that’s great!”
Chang adds that “No matter what you want to do with SWE, or what you’re able or unable to do, there’s always going to be something you can do with SWE because, above all, we’re not here for you to do stuff for us. We’re here to make sure you have that pillar, that community of support, at every step of your college career.”
According to the national SWE website, the organization has over 300 collegiate sections and affiliates, all of which strive 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, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.
“While these shared goals and values unite us,” the website concludes, “each SWE group also has an original story and unique point of view.”