A major ongoing initiative of the Lehigh Valley Section of the Society of Women Engineers is to provide scholarships for young women who intend to major in engineering in college. Scholarship money is provided by area businesses while SWE volunteers administer the program.
Founded in 1950, SWE is a not-for-profit educational and service organization, a driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. It empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and be recognized for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders.
This program is open to high school seniors who live in zip code areas beginning with 177 though 187 and 195 or 196. Criteria for the one-time scholarships of up to $5,000 are academic achievement, extracurricular/leadership activities, a recommendation and an original essay.
Applications are due this month, and this year the section will host an awards brunch on May 5 to honor the scholarship winners. More information can be found on the section website www.swe.org/regione/sections/E002LHV or by emailing email@example.com.
Since the Lehigh Valley Section program began in 2001, 81 scholarships totaling $228,000 have been awarded. When the program started, there were doubts as to the number of qualified applicants. However, the section – which was chartered in 1980 – continues to be impressed by the number of accomplished local women who are planning to become engineers.
Scholarship recipients have attended Bucknell, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, University of Delaware, Lafayette, Lehigh, MIT, the Naval Academy, Notre Dame, Penn State, Princeton, Purdue, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and many other prominent engineering schools.
The SWE-LV scholarship committee consists of Jennifer Doyle, Heather Marshall, Susan Schierwagen and Khue Tran. The committee solicits donations from local companies, contacts area high schools with scholarship information, reviews the applications and selects the recipients.