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SWE Receives Alcoa Grant for Outreach and Mentoring Programs

The Alcoa Foundation awarded the Society of Women Engineers a US$50,000 grant for K-12 outreach and college mentoring programs on four U.S. college campuses. In this two-project initiative, more than 600 students will benefit from outreach programming while a pilot mentoring program for college students occurs on the same campuses.

“We know that mentoring plays a significant role in retaining women in the workplace, and that network is built over time,” said Karen Horting, SWE’s executive director and CEO. “This grant not only allows us to pilot a formal collegiate mentoring program aimed at keeping women in the educational pipeline, it empowers our sections to go out into their communities and get more girls interested in the profession.”

The Alcoa Foundation grant will fund outreach programs at Purdue University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Tennessee. For the outreach component of the grant, SWE collegiate members will leverage SWE’s array of K-12 outreach resources to spark girls’ interest in engineering and technology.

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Through these events, girls will understand the diversity of work engineers complete, enhance their understanding of what an engineer does and heighten their interest in pursuing a career in engineering. Girls who have participated in the programming report that their confidence and ability to work like an engineer improved after the event. The outreach is in conjunction with a mentoring program these universities will pilot prior to a nation-wide rollout. Through this mentoring initiative, SWE will work to retain more women in engineering education and learn how to best facilitate ongoing relationships between students, professionals and educators.

“The SWE mentorship program is a great opportunity for female college students to share their knowledge with girls K-12 and show them what a career in engineering entails,” said Scott Hudson, Education Programs Manager, Alcoa Foundation. “We are proud to support SWE, an organization that provides great resources for educators, mentors and students to create awareness and build a pipeline of students who might not have pursued STEM without that the additional education and encouragement.”

To learn more about SWE collegiate sections or these events, please visit

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