I Attended WE21 and It Was SWEet!

SWE swag? SWE swag.

So, during fall break, I attended the Society of Women Engineers’ annual conference, aka WE21, in Indianapolis, Indiana. I’d already paid for everything in the summer, and all that was left was to actually attend the conference!

Everyone had booked their flights separately, and I ended up on a flight that left Daytona Beach at about 4 PM and arrived in Indianapolis at 12:30 AM the next day. It wasn’t an ideal time, but I was able to attend all of my classes and fly out of the nonchaotic Daytona airport. I’ve flown out of the Orlando airport once, and it’s much bigger than Daytona. It also requires a larger time commitment- since it’s bigger, lines are longer, and there’s more chaos in between.

The trip to Indianapolis wasn’t too bad. One of my friends graciously dropped me off (and picked me up!) so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking, and I didn’t experience any significant delays. On the flight to Indianapolis, however, Delta Airlines had overbooked by 5 seats, and they were seeking volunteers to take the next flight in the morning. Thankfully, I had a seat on that flight, and they did get 5 volunteers, who each got $500, a hotel, and meal vouchers.

I got a pretty early start the next day at WE21. I checked in and then watched the keynote speaker, Stephanie C. Hill, the Executive Vice President of Rotary and Mission Systems at Lockheed Martin. It was super cool to listen to her speak in person, only a few hundred feet away (since I was in the back of the room).

WE21 had a lot going on. There were various other speakers, workshops, and social opportunities all included with the conference registration fee. I attended the resume review, where a lady from Honeywell reviewed my resume and gave me feedback. I ended up meeting a few other collegiate members from other schools, too! On the first day, we also took a group picture.

This year’s theme was Aspire to Inspire, and they had a wall to sign for members to leave their mark. Someone had already drawn Embry-Riddle’s logo on it (right above the “s” in aspire) so I ended up signing my name and drawing a little Cessna on it.

Aspire to Inspire!

SWE had been giving out free luggage tags, and I had a QR code that went to my LinkedIn. They also had a free computer lab, so I printed out the QR code, cut it out, and laminated it on a luggage tag. It worked well for me- I printed and laminated it right before the career fair, and it was easy for recruiters to scan. I also had a copy on the top of my resume in case they wanted to connect with me later.

I had a lot of fun at the conference. I went to several of the talks and spent as much time as I could at the career fair and resume workshops. I met a lot of other engineers, both collegiate and professional, and it was amazing! I also attended some Affinity Group meetings, which are meetings for people of similar backgrounds to meet up and connect.

The conference was definitely worth leaving Indianapolis at 7 AM. We wanted to be there early so we didn’t miss our flight, and I only ended up getting three hours of sleep the night before. I slept on the first plane to Atlanta and then ended up doing some of the coursework I’d neglected to do over break.

Flying back to Daytona!

The flight back to Daytona was pretty quick. It was on a Boeing 717, which is apparently pretty rare. According to my friends, not a lot of them were made, and not a lot of them are in circulation- plus it’s an older(ish) aircraft compared to the 737 and newer Boeing models. It was pretty cool to see- planes are beautiful pieces of engineering, and I love watching them come and go all day in Daytona. So I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully watching the planes at Riddle!