Jenny Patel’s advocacy for women in engineering, as well as her pursuit of advancing the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at the University of Tennessee, have made her stand out from among her peers. Due to her vision and leadership skills, Patel has been awarded several honors. She received the Most Outstanding Freshman of the Year Award and the Leadership Award from the UT Section of SWE, and she was also recognized for outstanding leadership for the WomEngineer’s Day Conference in its inaugural year.
Within SWE, Patel has served as an officer for three of her four years, and her uplifting personality and passion for engineering has allowed her to be a successful leader. Patel currently serves as president and has worked to increase meeting attendance by over 70 percent by offering networking opportunities with company representatives throughout the region. She not only promotes engineering through her involvement with SWE, but also serves on the WomEngineer’s Leadership Council to coordinate an annual WomEngineering Welcome Dinner for incoming freshmen and to motivate women in STEM fields throughout the college. Additionally, Patel has been a coordinator for the biennial WomEngineer’s Day Conference, since its inception in 2015.
Most recently, her commitment and enthusiasm for engineering allowed her to gain an internship at Siemens Healthineers, where she served as a mechanical engineering intern and worked with PET and CT scanners.
Membership Retention Award
The Society of Women Engineers at UT strives to provide opportunities for our members to aspire to their dreams, advance their profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders. Activities and programs are aimed to foster mentoring and the development of professional and personal networks—emphasized by the SWE Core Values. At the beginning of the year, the executive board met to determine how to improve membership retention—they realized more professional opportunities were needed.
“An Evening with Industry” was an event planned to do just that. This fall event provided an opportunity to network with professionals from over 10 companies. In the spring, SWE hosted a networking event with an interactive workshop focusing on reviewing resumes, mock interviews, and critiquing elevator speeches. Meetings also emphasized professional growth by welcoming a number of industry professionals to share their expertise and advice. Professional growth is also achieved through the SWEeties Mentoring Program, aimed to recruit new members and retain current members. The program’s focus is to improve retention of female engineering students and support them with mentoring and networking.
While much of SWE’s focus is to provide professional opportunities to members, events like SWEek and the annual Halloween celebration foster a way to strengthen community. These events range from ice cream socials and cookouts to intramural sports and costume competitions.