Society of Women Engineers Conference 2016

This program started five months ago with our mini orientation in Houston on June 1st. Since then I have spent ten weeks in Costa Rica interning and exploring the developing region’s healthcare system, three whirlwind days in Brazil primarily doing research for my personal project, two months in Houston being a graduate student and furthering my projects, and now five days in Philadelphia at the Society of Women Engineers 2016 Annual Conference. To say the GMI program keeps you moving would be an understatement (that Texas barbecue on the other hand…).

On my last blog entry, I talked about Brazil. This entry will more focus on the SWE conference in Philadelphia. Now, I have never been to a SWE conference before. I have never even been to a SWE meeting before. It just didn’t exist at my undergraduate institution and I didn’t have much of an idea on what to expect. What I can tell you off the bat is that you’d be hard pressed to find a group of more motivated, intelligent, and passionate women—and a handful of men as well—of that magnitude (more than 10,000 girls and women in college and industry attended!) anywhere else.

The conference star feature is the career fair where companies from all industries—software to industrial, medical to aerospace—gather to advertise potential job opportunities, internships, or just offer general information and advice. With so many companies, there were plenty of opportunities to practice my elevator pitch, interview skills, and advertisement of the GMI program’s many phenomenal aspects and experiences.

Discussions, panels, and narrations made the experience even more informational and helped break up the, at times, exhausting process of career fair exploration. Women from across the industry and world came together to talk about their experiences in the field, how they handled hardships, and general information on thriving in one’s chosen career path. Throw in a bit of Philadelphia tourism in the free hours and it was an amazing trip that I would recommend to anyone whether you are searching for an internship, a full-time career, or already in a comfortable place and just looking to hang out with like-minded women.

Now that I’ve covered that shameless plug towards joining SWE and attending at least one of their conferences (seriously, it’s worth your time guys and gals), a bit on the current state of my projects. If you’ve been keeping up with the blogs, you know that my personal project is a portable dermatascope for traveling nurses in Brazil. The Solidworks sketches (first iterations shown below) are coming along and hopefully by the end of this week a finalized design will be submitted and rapid prototyped with the 3d printing technology provided by the Rice Design Kitchen.

prototype-1-image prototype-2-image prototype-3-image

Prototypes 1, 2, and 3.

The team project is likewise making headway. As a team, we came together with a list of 300 potential needs in the medical community and over the last month we’ve narrowed those needs down to a select handful that we have thoroughly researched. The next step for our team projects is initial concept generation for each of the needs to better understand which are feasible and which should be discarded. More on that as we complete the initial sketches.

Finally, Erica and I have made significant progress on our secondary implementation project: taking a sensor enabled ambu-bag for higher air flow consistency among medical nurses and professionals to clinical trials. With the creation of a more robust prototype and a slight modification to previous trial procedures and data collections, we are moving forward at a steady pace.

That’s all for now,

Jeannette Nelson

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