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ConNEXTion Day Welcomes Incoming Women Engineers


The inaugural Women in Engineering (WiE) ConNEXTion Day took place on February 11, offering a premier event for admitted female Engineering Vols and their families to learn about the college’s student-focused approaches to support them.

“ConNEXTion Day was an excellent opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to connect,” said Women in Engineering Director Jalonda Thompson. “Our goal was to provide a welcoming environment and introduce our admitted students to the sense of belonging they will experience at UT.”

The day began with a networking lunch program in the Student Union that featured encouraging words from Thompson, Associate Dean Ozlem Killic, and others.

“We saw so many smiles as students jump-started friendships that will help them thrive within the college,” said Thompson.

Engineering Ambassadors then led attendees to the Zeanah Engineering Complex for activities that introduced Engineering Fundamentals, information on financial aid and scholarships, opportunities with Engineering Professional Practice, and a panel hosted by current students.

“The hands-on project with Engineering Fundamentals allowed our admitted students to experience the collaborative nature of engineering in the new Zeanah Engineering Complex,” said Thompson. “It was also great seeing how students organized their groups, leaders emerged in the group, and the creative ways they work through the engineering design process.”

Engineering Fundamentals Senior Lecturer Amy Biegalski also felt the day was a success. She led the hands-on engineering experience for the future Vols.

“I loved the energy in the room and the collaboration and creativity taking place,” said Biegalski. “It was an incredible opportunity to interact with our hopeful incoming female students. It was excellent to be a part of a program tailored for female students to show them the support, programs, and opportunities they’ll have to help them connect and be successful.”

Attendees echoed the feelings of TCE staff and faculty.

“Thank you for making me feel so welcomed,” said future Engineering Vol Elle Street. “The robot presentation was so interesting with how it is able to connect with patients with dementia. The food, the tours, and introductions were great. This was very helpful to me. I can’t wait to be a part of the program in the fall.”

“I had such a wonderful time and learned so much,” said visiting student Penelope Roccia. “In all honesty, I have been on the fence about engineering for most of the time I was applying to schools, and this program helped me feel confident and excited about my choice and future.”

Tom and Dede Zupanci, who attended with their daughter Abigail, also gained an appreciation of engineering at UT.

“The faculty and administration who attended were all so engaged and passionate,” said Tom Zupanci. “The information provided was relevant and helpful, and my daughter particularly enjoyed the group earthquake building activity. Hearing from current students was also very interesting and helpful, especially the information on the Engage LLC.”

The day’s activities were capped off with visits to various engineering departments and the TCE Fair in the Zeanah atrium, with representatives of campus engineering organizations offering even more information for the potential Vols.

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