OU students build connections, explore careers at engineering conference
Members of the Society of Women Engineers Oakland University student chapter recently attended the organization’s national conference where they presented research, gleaned inspiration from women leaders and learned about diverse career paths for aspiring engineers.
“There were presentations by female engineers with lessons on leadership, breaking stereotypes, pioneering the future, and much more,” said OUSWE President Janel Asmar. “I was also able to make lifelong friendships with girls who share the same passions and relate to the same struggles as me. In the future, I wish to extend the benefits the conference provided me to others.”
During the conference, OUSWE Vice President Sanjana Chintalacheruvu presented her research on Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO), a process that generates clean energy from the mixing of freshwater and saltwater. She is investigating the role heat plays in improving PRO.
Chintalacheruvu, a Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering, participated in the SWE Graduate Collegiate Rapid Fire Competition, which emphasizes the ability to concisely and dynamically present technical information.
“Only 10 graduate students are selected for this national competition,” she said. “So I am very glad I got the opportunity to be one of them. Later, the competition judges provide feedback as well, which is very helpful.”
Chintalacheruvu said the competition was especially beneficial because it challenged her to convey complex information to those unfamiliar with her topic.
OUSWE Vice President Sanjana Chintalacheruvu presented research at the SWE national conference.
“Presenting to someone who is an expert in my field is something I gain experience through our energy conversion lab's weekly meetings, where I present my research to our lab group. I also get this experience while going to technical conferences focused on my research area,” she said. “But for this competition I had to think about preparing my material in a way that I can present to anyone, keeping in mind most will not have knowledge about my research.”
Chintalacheruvu is active in the SWE Leadership Development Program, an intensive program designed to help collegiate members expand their leadership potential and overall SWE knowledge. At the conference, she networked with members of her program cohort and learned about opportunities for doctoral students post-graduation. She will serve as a judge for the collegiate rapid fire and poster competition at a local SWE conference in Detroit in February 2023.
The three-day national conference featured a career fair with over 100 employers from various engineering sectors across the U.S. For Asmar, an undergraduate majoring in mechanical engineering, the experience offered a glimpse into the many job opportunities she could pursue after graduation.
“After having conversations with employers from the military, aerospace industry and food industry, I learned that I could have a job in mechanical engineering almost anywhere,” she said. “There were many companies that I never previously considered working for until I learned more about their impressive contributions to the world. My goal as an engineer is to help as many people as I can through advanced technology, and this career fair opened up my eyes to see the numerous ways I can achieve this goal.”
To learn more about the Society of Women Engineers Oakland University student chapter, email email@example.com.