Young Women ‘Seize the Day’ at SVWiE 2018

 Young Women ‘Seize the Day’ at SVWiE 2018 

There was no shortage of positive energy at the Fourth Annual Silicon Valley Women in Engineering Conference (SVWiE). Nearly 450 young women, 100 women industry leaders and 20 faculty members gathered on the San Jose State University campus to participate in the event, which was aptly themed, Win the Future. 

In a welcome message online, Sheryl Ehrman, Don Beall Dean of SJSU’s Davidson College of Engineering, invited attendees to “take the opportunity to soak in the collective wisdom of women and men who have broken barriers within their industry careers, in every engineering discipline” and to make it a point to “meet at least three people you don’t know, and share your stories as well as business cards. Make this the conference that improved your life.” (SVWiE) 

Greeted by a warm round of applause, Lakecia Gunter, Chief of Staff at Intel, had this to say: 

“Engineering can be daunting when you’re trying to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. When folks say, ‘Gosh we tried that a million times and it didn’t work,’ we need the voice that says, ‘Let’s try it a million and one times.’ It’s about being optimistic that in spite of challenges you can still accomplish something. It’s about not giving up.” 

Speaking in earnest, Agilent Technologies CTO Darlene Solomon shared this: 

“Looking back on my career, meeting successful women leaders at conferences like these, I always took away a few nuggets that helped me better define what I could do in life and gave me the confidence to do what I wanted to do.” 

This year’s event was organized around six themes: interacting with nature, smart living, improving health, communications, career strategies, and maximizing human potential. A newly-added Innovation Showcase and networking reception invited participants to take an active role in exploring new technologies while meeting potential employers and collaborators in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Aspiring students heard frm women leaders who are passionate when it comes to mentoring.

Lena Nicolaides, VP & General Manager, KLA-Tencor remarked that it was “exciting to see young women engineering students who are going to be our future innovators…being able to coach and mentor is a way for me to give back to this community.” 

According to Judy Chou, Global Head of Biotech at Bayer, “There are a lot of opportunities for emerging engineers to enter this fascinating field of biotech. I like being here to meet these young women and find out what they are thinking. Biomedical is a career path that holds great promise.”

Making the most of the conference, Angelina Villa’s enthusiasm was infectious. 

“Coming to the conference is our big chance to network and meet people. You truly never know who that one person is who is going to help you get that job!” 

She paused and added, “Actually, every day is an opportunity to network.” 

Hundreds of students took advantage of a full day of presentations and networking activities. They came for inspiration and learning, and they went home with new ideas and connections. 

Networking. Learning. Sharing. These students clearly embraced the vision of the SVWiE conference. As far as winning the future, they’ve already begun! 

—Dr. Belle Wei 

SVWiE 2018 was made possible through the generous support of: Title Sponsor, Mark and Carolyn Guidry WiE Program Fund; Champion Sponsor, Netgear; and Additional Sponsors, Agilent Technologies, Applied Materials, Google, HP, Intel, KLA-Tencor, Lam Research, SEMI, and Synopsys. Learn more at 

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