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.
Barrier #4: Increase Network Inclusivity and Sponsorships for Women of Color
Mentorship can offer plenty of benefits and can be a transformative experience. Mentorship offers knowledge and guidance, allowing the mentee the opportunity to learn from a mentor’s experience and example. Sponsorship goes further, expanding a person’s visibility within the organization and their profession. Sponsors help to increase a WOC’s network, involving them in experiences that provide opportunities for career advancement.
Strategies to address this barrier include:
Recommend actions to help leaders mitigate bias in workplace policies, programs, and practices. Research has shown the impact that bias in these areas can have on recruiting and retaining diverse talent.
Ensure awards and award processes are inclusive and promote WOC as pillars of excellence. Engineering organizations, including professional societies, must consider ways in which bias may unintentionally influence who gets recognized and promoted.
Promote and market profiles/stories of WOC on STEM-centered workplace websites and social media. Engineering organizations can ensure that their media sites are inclusive and demonstrate their commitment to diversity in engineering. Promoting the stories and experiences of WOC in STEM can also help with recruitment, serving as a visual representation of who belongs in STEM.
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. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges that negatively impact diversity and inclusion efforts. Join us as we explore the role that professional societies serve in supporting, maintaining, sustaining, and enhancing workplace retention efforts during our webinar on Thursday, February 23rd at 4 pm EST.
We are pleased to announce our panelists for the WCEC webinar:
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.
National Academies New Report on Advancing Antiracism DEI in STEMM
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine just released a new consensus report that looks at systemic racism in the United States and how it has harmed and continues to harm people from minoritized groups, specifically looking at how systemic racism has resulted in unequal representation in STEMM. The report outlines actions that top leaders and gatekeepers in STEMM organizations can take to foster a culture and climate of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion that is genuinely accessible and supportive to all.
The report offers recommendations to leverage STEMM professionals and organizations to improve people’s individual and interpersonal experiences in STEMM educational and professional environments, including recommendations that align with the WCEC Strategic Plan. Actively recognizing minoritized individual’s contributions to STEMM, collecting and examining data to identify patterns of bias, and including DEI responsibilities in leadership role descriptions and requirements for advancement into management positions will help improve access and retention for all in the engineering profession.
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!
ASCE DiscoverE Engineers Week February 19-25, 2023
ASCE partners with DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation) to shine a spotlight on engineering. Engineers Week is a time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers, and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents. Learn more and access materials.
ASEE CoNECD Conference New Orleans, LA, February 25-28, 2023
The vision of the CoNECD (pronounced, “connected”) Conference is to provide a forum for exploring current research and practices to enhance diversity and inclusion of all underrepresented populations in the engineering and computing professions including gender identity and expression, race and ethnicity, disability, veterans, LGBTQ+, 1st generation and socio-economic status. Learn more & register.
AAAS Annual Meeting Washington, D.C., March 2-5, 2023
See Plenary and Topical Lectures, Scientific Sessions, Workshops, and more, highlighting the importance of our multiplicity. The 2023 AAAS Annual Meeting will feature multi-disciplinary research that advances knowledge and responds to the needs of humanity. Learn more & register
WE Local Conferences Hartford, CT, March 3-4, 2023 Seattle, WA, March 31-April 1, 2023
WE Local conferences take place around the world and are organized by the Society of Women Engineers to bring together participants in all stages of their collegiate and professional journey. The conferences create space for engineers and partners to connect through professional development sessions, inspirational speakers, networking opportunities, and more. Learn more & register.
TMS Annual Meeting and Exhibition San Diego, CA, March 19-23, 2023
The TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition brings together more than 4,000 engineers, scientists, business leaders, and other professionals in the minerals, metals, and materials fields for a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary exchange of technical knowledge. Learn more & register.
NSBE Conference Kansas City, MO, March 22-26, 2023
The 49th Annual Convention is a four-day constitutional event with over 10,000 attendees, 300+ company career fair and a 3,000+ General Session. During the Annual Convention, the Society conducts organizational business, elects national and regional leaders, holds competitions and provides professional and personal development, networking and celebratory activities. Learn more & register.
SAMPE Conference Seattle, WA April 17-20, 2023
SAMPE 2023 Conference and Exhibition is exclusively dedicated to advanced materials and processes. Produced by the North America Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), this event brings together leading companies, engineers, scientists, and professionals from throughout the advanced materials and processes industry. Learn more & register
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 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.
AWWA 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
Call for Participation
Consider presenting at an upcoming event! Member organizations offer the following opportunities for participation.
2023 AISES Leadership Summit River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma April 30 - May 2, 2023 Proposal Deadline: February 22, 2023
The AISES Leadership Summit provides personal and career development through leadership training specifically designed for Indigenous students and professionals. AISES is currently seeking engaging and innovative session proposals focused on leadership development designed to support Indigenous college students and professionals on their educational and career journeys. Learn more
2023 WE23 Conference Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA October 26-28, 2023 Proposal Deadline: March 14, 2023
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will host a hybrid WE23 on October 26-28. More than 200 sessions will be selected for the world’s largest conference for engineers and technologists.. The in-person conference will take place in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more
2023 ADVANCE Equity in STEM Community Convening Durham, NC, June 5-7, 2023 Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2023
At the 2023 ADVANCE Equity in STEM Community Convening, researchers, practitioners, and change agents have an opportunity to share new research findings and exchange resources; brainstorm strategies; collaborate in novel ways; and demonstrate effective programs and interventions for greater collective impact. Learn more
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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, Awards 2040634 and 2310386, 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.