WomEngineers Day returned to UT for its third installment on Saturday, bringing together students, speakers, and invited guests for a day meant to help engineering students of all genders with issues such as leadership, inclusion, and work-life balance.
“It was great to see all the people come out for this year’s event,” said Jess Ossyra, who helped plan and coordinate the conference. “We had a lot of interesting and important discussions, ones that should continue beyond the scope of just this particular gathering.”
The conference—one of the first major events in the newly-opened Student Union—kicked off with a breakfast and opening remarks from Tickle College of Engineering Interim Dean Mark Dean and included workshops, several networking opportunities, panel discussions, and three breakout sessions. More than 200 people attended.
The breakout sessions are always a popular part of the day, with three choices offered per session. This year, those options included topics such as negotiating salary, career planning, overcoming bias, and communication skills, among others.
WomEngineers Day is held biennially and was begun in 2014 after students, including Jessica Boles, attended a national conference and noticed support other engineering colleges were giving their students.
Boles and Alyx Wszolek discussed ideas with the college’s Board of Advisors, in particular Eric Zeanah and Bennett Croswell, and the event was born.
Although the number of women studying engineering at UT has steadily grown in recent years and is on par with the national average, the college is still behind where it wants to be, so events like WomEngineers Day prove doubly important by not only helping students with personal growth, but also building a sense of community that can lead to better retention and both personal and professional success for students both before and after graduating.