Meaghan Paulosky, SWE President

Every week a new report surfaces of how women are underrepresented in the workplace. Women are not as confident, we are told. They don’t ask for enough, they are overlooked. They are left out of executive positions and discouraged from the profitable and growing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. The challenges that we face as a gender make organizations like The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) so incredibly important, especially on a campus like ours.

Meaghan Paulosky is currently the president of Drexel’s SWE chapter and she really is the woman for this job. Paulosky is 22, a Biomedical Engineering student from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She joined SWE as a freshman and took the position of Newsletter Chair as an outlet when her course load picked up sophomore year. Ever since she has been hooked on the organization, trying new officer positions and eventually working her way up to president.

Of her experience Paulosky said, “SWE gave me a way to contribute my interests and connect with other girls who understood how I was feeling. It developed a confidence in me that had been lacking in school.”

As president, Paulosky oversees 11 committees and 21 officers whom she calls “incredible.” “It’s my job to coordinate their efforts and help create opportunities to make them bigger, more innovative, and more responsive to the needs of our members,” said Paulosky.

Think that sounds like a lot? The mission of SWE is to “Stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders,” but Drexel’s chapter does much more. “We use our co-op experiences and utilize Drexel’s growth to help each other identify our personal “full potentials.” Then we provide the support to achieve them,” said Paulosky. “We exist so that everyone can celebrate a diverse engineering community and be empowered to work toward it.”

Since taking on her latest role, Paulosky has gone above and beyond in reaching these goals for her peers and organization. SWE has grown its membership by 70%, expanded its formal mentorship program, created highly technical workshops for middle and high school students, held new networking and forum-based events, held their first-ever alternative professional skills workshops, supported an alternative spring break trip, introduced yoga and wellness workshops, AND secured the bid to host the 2015 Region E conference for SWE under her leadership. While Paulosky was in a different leadership position, the group even won a national award!

Feel like an underachiever? So do we – but we’re also incredibly impressed. Paulosky, however, knows to give credit where credit is due.

“These metrics are the direct result of a lot of work and creative thinking by the Drexel SWE officer team,” Paulosky said, “I tend to be overzealous with new ideas and feared that my excitement was either unrealistic or would wear them out. I was very, very wrong. Each officer on our board has a frightening amount of talent, insight, and passion.”

SWE is able to accomplish all of this with the help of some strong internal structure that lets them focus on what is important: creating great programs using organization, professionalism, and communication. “Just wait to see what we have planned next!” said Paulosky.

The 2014-2015 school year will see Paulosky stepping down from her position and preparing to graduate, but she is not worried that SWE’s momentum will slow down. “I have no doubt that next year’s leadership will take the section to its best year yet,” she said. The hardest part of her position, however, is know it can’t last forever. “For the last four years, Drexel SWE has been an enormous part of my life and has had a key role in shaping me and my future.” Though she will remain on as an alumni mentor while launching her own career, she admits, “it’s hard not to feel a little sad.”

It’s easy to believe that the massive transformation Paulosky has helped SWE complete has come two-fold back on her. Though she never thought she’d go beyond her newsletter writing duties, she found herself at the helm of an important organization and it changed her life. When she first joined SWE, Paulosky wasn’t as in love with her major and career path as she had hoped, and working in the organization helped her nurture the excitement she craved. “The community and activity of SWE allowed me to discover it in my own way and it is without a doubt the reason I am graduating next year as a biomedical engineer,” she said. Paulosky says a huge perk of being the president of such an influential organization is getting to see similar growth occur in her peers.

Paulosky will be slowing down her involvement with SWE, but she surely won’t be slowing down. When she graduates next spring, she wants to use her biomedicine and engineering solutions training to “revolutionize the medical industry” as she so boldly puts it. (We believe her!) With previous co-ops in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and health insurance, she plans to use those experiences to help improve the health care system. “Right now I’m working with data science and information technology, but you’ll have to wait to see exactly what I plan to do!” she said.

The speed with which she works is a direct result of her work with SWE. “It made me want to try new things at an alarming pace. In short, it’s why I pursued entrepreneurship and computer science. Though I didn’t have experience in those fields, I knew a background in each would be necessary to achieve my health care goals. As turns out, I really enjoy and have some ability in both,” Paulosky said.

As a writer for That Music Magazine, an online Philly-based publication, Paulosky happily writes for free concert tickets. She’s also recently nurtured a love for running, she said. “I guess after I’m president you’ll find me running and writing to fill my abrupt onslaught of free time.”