After Winning National Award, UA Women Engineers to Host Conference

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, or SWE, was awarded the gold level Outstanding Collegiate Society Award at the SWE National Conference in Houston, Texas.

UA SWE President Rachel Mitchell said the award was based on an annual report the officer team presented detailing their involvement in the previous year.

“Our chapter’s success is a direct result of the commitment of our adviser, Dr. Beth Todd; our officers; and our members,” Mitchell said. “Our membership has stepped up to the plate and been involved in everything from general meetings to the ‘WOW! That’s Engineering! Event’ we hosted in September.”

UA SWE also won the bid to host its regional conference in 2014 on campus. Officers Grace Hoover and Alexandria Romine presented a proposal, including a preliminary budget, theme and locations for the conference.

Mitchell said she expects sections from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Puerto Rico to attend the 2014 conference.

In 2012, the UA SWE section was one of four sites nationwide to host a “Wow! That’s Engineering!” event. More than 140 teenage girls came to the September event meant to spark an interest in engineering and technology through hands-on opportunities.

Besides recognition for the chapter, the following members also received awards at the national conference held in early November:

  • Ashli Barnes, a junior studying computer engineering from Sumiton, was awarded the IBM Corporation Scholarship.
  • Jordan Easter, a senior in mechanical engineering from Pell City, won second place in the undergraduate poster competition.
  • Elizabeth Junkin, a 2012 graduate in chemical engineering from Duncanville, was one of five to receive the Outstanding Collegiate Member Award at the national conference. Now a medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Junkin was president of UA’s SWE chapter last year.
  • Rachel Mitchell, a senior in chemical engineering from Tuscaloosa, was awarded the Susan Miszkowicz Memorial Scholarship.
  • Kelsey Terry, a senior in mechanical engineering from Moulton, was awarded the DuPont Scholarship.

“The entire officer board has worked tirelessly over the past year and a half to give our members ample ways to get involved and grow professionally, to provide opportunities for young girls to learn about engineering, and to prepare the 2014 Region D conference bid,” Mitchell said.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 3,900 students and more than 110 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz and Truman scholars.


Judah Martin, engineering student writer,; Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444,