SWE: Welding an Interest in Engineering

Megan Sheehan, Writer, Graphic Artist

Recently the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) had the opportunity to participate in a welding class at Calhoun Community College. The girls learned about the importance of welding in a variety of fields, as well as learn metal inert gas welding (MIG welding) and try for themselves.

Madeline Anne See, a president of SWE, commented that she “really enjoyed learning about all the tools that are used to weld; it’s very interesting to see how much goes into a small task.”

Earlier in the year, SWE members also attended a soldering class provided by STI Electronics.  Soldering is the process of joining electrical components to a printed board by melting metal to make a permanent connection. In this year’s class, members constructed working LED Christmas trees.

“I enjoyed following the instructions on how to apply all the tiny parts onto the board, and I really liked seeing an improvement through each solder I did compared to the beginning. The final product of a real working light up Christmas tree was super cool!” Madeline Anne See expressed.

These trips allow girls interested in technology and engineering to learn about topics that relate to their potential future career paths that are not offered in school. They also connect girls with others who share the same interests as themselves, establishing relationships and encouraging girls to consider STEM carriers.

“I enjoy being a part of SWE because it’s very encouraging to see other girls who are also interested in engineering. It feels more like you’re on a team than going into college and the workforce alone,” commented Claire O’Neal, junior SWE member.

According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, only 14% of today’s engineers are women, partly because women are more likely to switch majors than men because many women feel like they just don’t fit in. Organizations like SWE create a community of like-minded young women, showing them that they aren’t alone in the engineering world, even if they are the only girl in their engineering classes. Bob Jones’ chapter of SWE, with almost 50 members, is an important step in the journey to a world where all girls and boys believe that they can pursue any career they choose.