What is the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative?
The Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC) was created in 2021 as a partnership network of professional engineering societies and STEM-based companies. The WCEC is working to address systemic barriers that prohibit equitable work environments for women engineers of color.
Since its inception, the WCEC has grown to 29 organizations, created a shared vision and mission, and developed a strategic plan that will guide our efforts over the next few years. In our inaugural newsletter, we want to thank you for your interest and support of our work. We hope that you will engage with the WCEC as we begin implementing the strategies aimed at tackling the following five major challenges facing women of color (WOC) in the engineering workplace:
Improve pathways to internships, scholarships, and jobs in engineering
Reduce microaggressions, racism, and sexism in the workplace
Retain and amplify women of color in the workplace
Increase network inclusivity and sponsorships for women of color
Raise openness and reduce backlash to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices
In our upcoming newsletters, we will explore each of these challenges and highlight the goals and strategies under each.
Want to Get Involved?
Are you interested in having your organization become a member of the WCEC? Read our membership guidelines and fill out an application. Learn more.
While we don’t offer membership to individuals, we do want to grow the WCEC community! Soon we will begin collecting profiles of amazing WOC engineers for our Inspiring Leaders database. We are also collecting resources from our member organizations to place in our online Resource Center. We will be using this newsletter to get the word out as these activities get underway. Please share the WCEC with your network and invite others to sign up for our newsletter through the Contact Us form on the WCEC website.
WCEC Member Highlight: SAMPE
The Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE®) is a global professional member society dedicated to enabling growth and innovation in the aerospace, transportation, construction, energy, marine and other industrial applications. SAMPE’s mission is to provide enhanced educational opportunities to all SAMPE members, guests and staff. SAMPE provides a unique forum for scientists, engineers and academicians to exchange information through a diversified range of tools and resources like online and in-person conferences, exhibitions, discussion forums and publications.
Moutushi Dey, SAMPE DEI Committee Chair and the organizational representative for the WCEC, offers her thoughts on the importance of being part of this collaborative effort.
Why is the WCEC important?
There is no doubt that diversity improves business performance and to achieve that, inclusion of people from diverse communities including Women Of Color, is very important. As per McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2022 report, intersectionality increases the risk of discrimination, lack of support and belonging to women of color resulting in multiple barriers in their career progression. The WCEC provides a platform for all the organizations to know about the tools that they can use to support WOC, and also encourages Women of Color to be creative in designing these evolving tools from their own experience and help the organizations to be more inclusive and more supportive to Women Of Color.
What is one activity that your organization is doing that aligns with the mission of the WCEC?
SAMPE North America is a professional organization that includes and celebrates diverse talents and welcomes all without regard to gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as all ages, professional areas and levels. Celebrating the diversity of our community is one of our greatest strengths and is essential for the success of our organization. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are embedded into the fabric of SAMPE. Every year, the DEI committee organizes The Women in SAMPE Forum and/or other DEI related events to offer a safe place for women and underrepresented minorities. In addition, a SAMPE DEI Award was created in 2021 to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary leadership in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the SAMPE STEM and M&P communities.
How can engineering organizations better support WOC?
Engineering organizations can better support WOC by creating fearless, supportive, bias-free and encouraging work environments. Another way of supporting WOC would be by recognizing and rewarding the leaders, who set an example by creating such a type of work environment, and recognize the contribution of Women Of Color. As these leaders are playing the most important role of “Catalysts for Change”, highlighting their effort and contribution would make equity and inclusion of Women Of Color feasible
Register for the WCEC Webinar on May 17th!
Both at work and at home, research shows that women overwhelmingly perform more of the unpaid caregiving labor than their counterparts. From childcare, elder care, and household management to teaching, mentoring, service, and emotional labor, during the COVID-19 pandemic, these gender inequities were magnified.
Studies highlight the uneven care burden women, particularly WOC, carry and the penalties that they often experience at work involving hiring, promotion, and pay decisions.
While many employers were forced to modify their policies to accommodate a remote workforce during the pandemic, a number of women in STEM are finding that some are reverting back and many have not yet addressed caregiving labor at work.
This webinar will explore how WOC manage work-life integration and what employers and professional societies can do to support them.
If you missed the February 2023 webinar, the recording is available on the WCEC website.
Our panelists explored the role that professional societies serve in supporting, maintaining, sustaining, and enhancing workplace retention efforts. Recent studies of women in engineering have highlighted real-world experiences of implicit bias and discrimination, including issues of retention and promotion in the workplace. These challenges are often multiplied for WOC in Engineering, who are typically held to stricter standards of competence than their counterparts.
Listen to the recording to hear from our fabulous panelists:
Linda Calvin is the Chief Impact Officer for Reboot Representation, an organization dedicated to doubling the number of Black, Latina and Native American (BLNA) women graduating with computing degrees by 2025. A 20-year veteran of the private IT sector, Linda collaborates with Reboot tech coalition partners to help create cultures that attract and retain BLNA women in tech. As a woman of color in tech, she is committed to diversity and being visible to youth and those who aspire to tech careers in the community.
Brooke Coley is Founding Executive Director of the Center for RARE JUSTICE, Assistant Professor in Engineering at the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and Principal Investigator of the Shifting Perceptions, Attitudes and Cultures in Engineering (SPACE) Lab at Arizona State University. Brooke brings expertise in racial equity, justice, and sociotechnical innovation in the context of engineering. She recently received the 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering for her commitment to creating and fostering a diverse and inclusive environment.
Rachel Yellowhair is a member of the Navajo Nation and has been involved with AISES for more than 25 years. Rachel is the West Region Site Services Manager at Raytheon, where she leads a team to support about 13,500 employees across several business locations in the west region of the United States. A highly motivated Digital Technology professional with over 20 years of experience in technical, project management and leadership areas, Rachel received AISES’ Blazing Flame Award in 2022.
Bianca McCartt currently serves as the Talent Pipeline Development Leader for the Engineering Division, where she is responsible for the strategy to engage with external engineering associations for GE Aviation. Bianca has a passion for the technical career growth of engineers, inclusion and mentoring, and a drive to implement process improvements. She has served as a member of the WCEC leadership team since 2021.
Upcoming WCEC Member Events
The WCEC shares the numerous professional activities offered by our member organizations. Member organizations are committed to creating a supportive, encouraging, and inclusive environment for WOC in engineering. Find out more about their events and register to attend!
AISES Leadership Summit
Tulsa, OK, April 30-May 2, 2023
Through workshops and sessions — along with built-in time to relax, socialize, and have fun — the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Leadership Summit delivers on strategies that enable Indigenous STEM professionals, students, and leaders to learn from each other, network, and find support. Learn more & register.
2023 ADVANCE Equity in STEM Community Convening
Durham, NC, June 5-7, 2023
Since 2019, the NSF-Funded ADVANCE Equity in STEM Community Convening has served as the convening for NSF ADVANCE grantees in a format that facilitates engagement with change agents within and beyond the NSF ADVANCE community. The ADVANCE EiSCC brings together a variety of change makers from higher education, professional societies, industry, government, and non-profits in an engaged exchange of knowledge, resources, and support to drive systemic change in STEM. Learn more & register.
ACE23 National Conference
Toronto, ONT, June 11-14, 2023
ACE, where the water community comes together to learn, connect, and be inspired to solve global water challenges. Be a part of the water revolution that addresses critical issues about the world’s most important resource. Regardless of where you are in your career, there is something for everyone at ACE. Learn more & register.
ASEE National Conference
Baltimore, MD, June 25-28, 2023
The premier event of its kind, the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition fosters an exchange of ideas; enhances teaching methods and curricula; explores how to manage engagement, retention, and return on learning experiences; and provides unparalleled networking opportunities for engineering and engineering technology education stakeholders, including deans, department chairs, faculty members, researchers, and industry and government professionals. Learn more & register.
2023 AISES National Conference
Spokane, WA, October 19-21, 2023
The Annual AISES National Conference is a unique, three-day event focusing on educational, professional, and workforce development for Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers. Learn more & register.
CAMX: The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo
Atlanta, GA, October 30-November 2, 202
CAMX brings all aspects of the world's composites and advanced materials communities together for one all-encompassing event. CAMX is where the industry meets to do business and discover the latest in products, solutions, and advanced industry technology. Learn more & register.
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Funded by the National Science Foundation Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science Program, Award HRD-2040634, the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC) is a partnership network of professional engineering associations, STEM-based companies, and higher education institutions dedicated to addressing systemic barriers that prohibit equitable work environments for women engineers of color. Through the WCEC, partner organizations will better leverage their resources to promote systemic change while working collectively to decrease the barriers that lead to the attrition of women engineers of color.