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SWE 2014 Team Tech - from left to right: Ji Yeon Lee, Victoria Jaramillo, Kristena Moules (team captain), and Marielle Cortez

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Congratulations to Pacific's Society of Women Engineers

Team Tech 2014 Wins Second Place in the International Boeing Team Tech Competition
Jan 20, 2015

Congratulations goes to Pacific's Society of Women Engineers (SWE) 2014 Team Tech who took Second place at this year's 2014 SWE Conference held in Los Angeles. This wonderful achievement came with a $2500 prize, which went back to Pacific's SWE chapter for future projects as well as providing awards for each team member. Working with an industry sponsor, Team Tech designed a package integrity testing apparatus for the competition.  This device will help the sponsor evaluate package quality throughout their supply chain.

The SWE annual conference is for women engineers and this year had over 8,300 attendees from 43 countries. There were 7 universities competing this year in the Boeing Team Tech Competition from across the U.S. with one team from Puerto Rico. Along with presenting their project at the conference, the Team also attended workshops, lectures, presentations, and a career fair that had over 300 industry representatives.

Pacific Team Tech 2014 was made up of students majoring in mechanical, bioengineering, and civil engineering, which provided for a collaborative and comprehensive solution. This year's project had more of a mechanical focus, so other engineering members had the opportunity to adapt to the mechanical aspect and learn outside of their discipline while still offering perspective from their own disciplines.

The industry sponsor gave Team Tech design requirements, project deadlines, and a budget.  Team Tech began their brainstorming by doing market research at retail stores to observe product damage. The team had numerous conference calls, face to face meetings, and email correspondence with their sponsor and industry advisor and went through several designs before their final design was proposed to sponsor stakeholders in May of 2014 for approval. They built 2 prototypes made from scrap material in March & April that helped them build their final design for competition in October. The sponsor is currently using the apparatus in their product testing lab.

"Being part of Team Tech and coming up with a project was a real engineering experience where we worked with industry and had to meet deadlines, practice communication skills, and breakdown components of a system in order to design a project. The beauty of this particular project was that the final design met the industry's extensive requirements yet was so simple in design and got the job done!" says Kristena Moules, captain of Team Tech 2014.

Throughout the whole experience, the team dealt with obstacles, roadblocks, and lessons learned. Having a smaller team meant Team Tech spent long hours working on the project in addition to regular school obligations. Communication was key for the team to be effective and productive with the time that they had. Team Tech also learned that in order to be effective with any design it is necessary to do not only market research but also development research. "A lot of time and energy could have been saved if we knew how the device was going to be manufactured. We had to learn which parts were standard and could be purchased whereas others, had to be produced which added to the cost of the design."

In addition to the competition, Team Tech attended the career fair and conference. "It was amazing to be able to attend the massive career fair at the conference and to speak with big name engineering companies," stated Kristena. Two team members received interviews at the conference and both have been offered internships with those companies (Toyota in Michigan and Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach) anticipated to begin this summer.

One of the most important things about the Society for Women Engineers is that it encourages women to join the engineering field. The School of Engineering and Computer Science is dedicated to supporting its SWE chapter and providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for female engineers and computer scientists. The School boasts 20% of its faculty are female, a much higher percentage than many of its peer institutions. "By providing scholarships for female engineers we are able to attract students that might not consider joining a traditionally male-dominated industry. We are fortunate to have many alumni who are passionate about this issue and have chosen to support us in changing that dynamic," says Dean Steven Howell. "We are very proud of all of our students and our faculty and alumni are excited to be able to give them the education, mentorship, and financial support to attend and compete in these incredible opportunities." In describing the conference, Kristen noted, "At school, there are usually 1-2 girls in a classroom of 20-30 students. It was a great feeling to be at a conference where there were over 8000 women engineers. Finally, I had the chance to be a girl and an engineer. The SWE Conference provided us an opportunity to no longer be in the minority - a girl in a classroom full of guys." Kristena is hoping to inspire other women engineers to step up and participate in SWE by talking with other students about her experience and encouraging women to join the team for next year's competition.

For more information about Team Tech, SWE, or Pacific School of Engineering and Computer Science please contact or 209.946.2151.

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