President’s Message November


November & December Happenings

Elizabeth Peterson – President

I hope you will join us on November 10th in Newport, when NESS will hold a Happy Hour Meet-N-Greet at The Barking Crab!  We had such a good time at The Dorrance in Providence that we decided to do it again at another hot spot in our section’s region. Heads up: a Warwick happy hour is planned for this spring.

Our annual Girl Scout STEM outreach is planned in both Rhode Island and Connecticut this month. Our section’s SWE Collegiates are lining up to help out. There are never too many mentors for inspiring our local girls. If you have a few hours during the weekend, please contact NESS and let us know if you want to help out in one of the engineering workshops.These are fun events since we get to introduce the girls to many female engineering role models, share our expertise, and get re-energized by their enthusiasm!

We have an early holiday celebration planned for December 5th at Not Your Average Joe’s in Warwick.  Stay tuned for details. Each year at this dinner we collect donations for Lucy’s Hearth 24-hour emergency and transitional shelter for homeless women and children. We are able to multiply our efforts and warm vulnerable families’ spirits during the holidays.

In this Thanksgiving month, I would like to express my gratitude to you for following the New England Shoreline Section’s journey. The NESS Executive Council is here to serve our members. Please let me know if you wish us to mobilize and plan an activity that you would like to participate in.


Autumn greetings from Beth Peterson, SWE-NESS President


Outreach Observations November

SueThanks In Giving

Sue Anderson - Outreach Chair

This month as many of you gather around your food-filled Thanksgiving table, you may be considering what you are thankful for this year. It is usually for family and friends, church, or health. I would like you to consider one more thing you could be thankful for: giving your time to help young girls learn about engineering and science with you as their mentor and role model.

November is the start of our outreach season that lasts until June with numerous programs and activities that you could be involved in, with various age levels of young people that we in SWE-NESS reach out to, trying to enlighten them about science and engineering. We start off the season with our famous Girl Scout badge programs that we have run since 1994. Yes, believe it or not, this year marks the twentieth year since I developed the first SWE-NESS badge program for Junior Girl Scouts, awarding participating girls the Science Sleuth badge.

As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way, baby. We’ve gone through several different badge programs that I created over the years, trying to alternate between two science badges so girls had the opportunity to earn both in consecutive years if they wished. Juggling the requirements necessary for them to earn the badge while making the activities more hands-on and fun for them to do the activity wasn’t easy at times, but that is where the feedback helped. At the end of each workshop, girls are required to complete an evaluation form about the activities they did: what they liked, didn’t like and why, what could be better, etc. (They hand me their form and pen, I give them their badge: incentive!) With these responses, along with the feedback from the station managers as to what they saw happen with their activities and materials, I can tweak the workshop as necessary to make each year better — or create a new one for a different badge, with more hands-on activities, which I did a number of times.

Being a Master Trainer for my Girl Scout Council, I was privy to changes to the badge requirements and/or new badges that GSUSA made before they were made known to the leaders, so this helped me get a headstart on the next year’s badge workshop for SWE-NESS. Of course, this didn’t help when GSUSA decided to do away with all the engineering and science badges in 2012, making new ones that were more girl-oriented (i.e., more personal) and requirements that I could not turn into a badge workshop to suit our outreach purposes.

But never fear, there are always alternatives. At that particular time, we had created a patch to be used for any middle school group with hands-on physics activities, as we were trying to get funding for such a program through the American Physical Society, thanks to member Michele Fitzpatrick. Unfortunately, we did not get the grant, but we held a pilot program for thirty Junior GS that year, and were able to tweak the activities accordingly to make it better for larger groups. We also created our own patch for it which the kids love getting because it is so unique – it actually says “Society of Women Engineers Physics” on it, helping us to literally brand this outreach program.

So now we are alternating a Physics is Phun! workshop with a former Society of Women Engineers Council’s Own badge workshop as our two Girl Scout Junior outreach programs. I say “former”, because the council in the northwest recently decided not to carry the SWE badge anymore, complying with the GSUSA edict of no more Council’s Own awards in the 2012 redo, even though I had phoned them and asked them specifically if they would continue to carry the badge despite this edict and they had stated they would as long as people would continue to purchase it.

Like I said, there are always alternatives. I ended up creating another set of SWE badges for this outreach program since we can no longer order them from that council. So now, despite curriculum changes and badge changes from GSUSA, Girl Scouts in the SWE-NESS area will continue to get engineering and science/physics from women role models in that field — as well as a unique SWE patch.

We could use your help in running these stations at URI from 9-noon on 15 November and at Connecticut College from 1-4 PM on 22 November. If you can help, please contact Kimberly McLean for Connecticut, or me for URI. We usually have students run them from the collegiate sections, but welcome any professionals to network with them and help with the girls as well.

Please consider helping at one of these events this month. Then you can be truly thankful this Thanksgiving — and the Girl Scouts will be as well! (If your schedule just doesn’t allow for it, then watch your emails and newsletter for other outreach events coming up – you’ll have plenty of chances!)


15th: SWE GS Junior badge workshop at URI Kelley Hall, 9-noon; POC Sue Anderson

22nd: SWE GS Junior badge workshop at Connecticut College Olin Science Bldg, 1-4 PM; POC Kimberly McLean



Professional Development November

Diana Framed

At The Museum

Diana Ukleja – Treasurer

Let me sing the praises of the American Museum of Natural History, with particular attention to the pterosaur exhibit and to their online science courses.

My memory of the representation of flying dinosaurs is of a medium sized grey pteranodon.  Current theory includes pterosaurs of Birdpic PD Nov 2014all sizes … small as an insect, big as a plane … with heads as varied and colorful as a troupe of tropical birds.  A pterosaur app can be downloaded from their website.  Talking this over with some other members, we’re thinking of organizing a day trip to the museum sometime.  The pterosaur exhibit is up through January 4th–let us know if you’re interested!

The museum website also offers online science courses, 6 weeks to a course, for $595 each (extra if you want college credit).  These courses are correlated with the National Science Education Standards.  If you would like to check those standards out, see the National Science Teachers Association .  I selected Rhode Island, 5th grade, and found these topics: the human organism, the physical setting, the living environment, and the nature of technology.  No other museums are linked to the NSTA at this time.

For the first session in the spring 2015 term, the museum is offering the following:

  • The brain: structure, function and evolution (maps to neuroscience)
  • Climate change (maps to environmental science)
  • Earth: inside and out (maps to dynamic earth systems)
  • Evolution  (maps to modern evolutionary biology)
  • The ocean system (maps to integrated science)
  • Space, time and motion (maps to physical science)

The link between dinosaurs and birds is a course offered at other times.



Membership Matters November


November Membership News

Yadira Gilchrest - Membership Chair


SWE NESS Welcomes

Nathan Jaycox
Darlene Grasdock
Lauren Thompson
Sara Harvey Johnston

 to the section!



Newport Meet and Greet

SWE-NESS is happy to announce another installment of our Meet and Greet events, which is scheduled for Monday, 10 November.  Come on out and connect with your peers in the engineering community. You can find out how others are handling their work-life balance, how they are dealing with other co-workers, or how they are keeping sane in the engineering world.

This November event will be held in Newport at the popular Barking Crab restaurant.  It is free to attend: you just pay for the food and spirits that you consume. (Feel free to bring along a friend or colleague!)

Date & Time: 11.10.2014 at 5:30PM

Place: Barking Crab, 151 Swinburne Row, Newport, RI 02840

RSVP: Marti Gilchrist by 11.07.2014

Parking info:

There is no metered parking between Nov 1st thru April 30th and public parking on Mary St is open to all for free.

City Hall parking lot is free M-F after 430p

Some streets don’t have meters and is sticker parking but during the day anyone can park up til 6pm

Holiday Gathering

Friday, December 5, Annual Holiday Dinner

Location:  Not Your Average Joe’s, Warwick, RI

Time: 5:30 p.m.

October Meeting Summaries

On Sunday the 19th, NESS met in Central Falls, RI, to take the river cruise down the Blackstone River.  The volunteer guide filled us in on the history of the river and the subsequent environmental cleanup.  We saw a great blue heron and quite a few swans.  Did you know the Blackstone is the second most powerful in the country, after the Niagara?  We may want to try this again next spring or summer.

On Saturday the 25th, three of us met for fondue at Providence Place, then headed out to the lagoon for the Waterfire experience.  Whenever I’ve gone before, there was recorded music playing, but this time was different … it was drum night!  Brown University sponsored this particular night, in honor of their 250th anniversary.  This year is the 20th that Providence has been offering Waterfire from spring through the fall.  The Japanese Taiko drums were played onshore at the lagoon, in a boat circling the lagoon, and in at least one boat up and down the river.  Smell the smoke, see the flames, hear the drums–what an experience!


Tech Tales November

Newsletter EditorNESS & Social Media

Peg Goter – Newsletter Editor

If you have been a NESS member for any length of time, you probably know that we have been on Facebook  since 2009. This month, we’d like to invite you to also join us on LinkedIn and Twitter!  By joining our pages and following our posts, you will not only learn more about NESS, but you will also help us improve our chances of winning the yearly communications award, which brings us national recognition and often includes a monetary bonus for the section! Please click on the links above to Like, Follow and Join our pages!

President’s Message October



Elizabeth Peterson – President

 Who is going to Los Angeles for WE14? Working overtime and nights are what I have planned for Millstone’s upcoming refueling outage. Therefore, I can’t attend this year, unfortunately. Such is the life of a cognizant engineer. Please let me know if you are attending, though, and I’ll share with you other NESS members’ contact info so you can network with them in L.A..

Besides WE14, NESS has planned several local events and perhaps you can join us: Blackstone Valley riverboat foliage tour in Lincoln, Rhode Island on Oct. 19 and Providence’s Waterfire on Oct. 25 with a stop at The Melting Pot for fondue. Check our NESS on-line calendar for logistics.

Reminder: Succession plans are necessary for every organization to ensure sustainability. Please contact me if you have interest in becoming Outreach Chair, Newsletter Editor, Professional Development Chair or Webmaster.


Happy Autumn and Happy Halloween!

Beth Peterson, NESS President


Outreach Observations October

SueContemplating the Conference

Sue Anderson - Outreach Chair

 This month, the SWE annual conference will take place in Los Angeles, California. I will not be going, but I wanted to share with you my feelings about the first SWE conference I attended fourteen years ago. It was the year 2000: the eve of the new century, the fiftieth anniversary of SWE, and it was being held in the nation’s capital — what better timing could that be? So I went and was amazed at what I saw and learned there.

Being the Outreach Chair (at that time it was called ‘Career Guidance’) for our section, naturally I attended the sessions that dealt with that topic, as well as the meeting of the CG National Committee. I left with so many new program ideas! I knew I couldn’t do more than what we were already doing in our section, but I was excited by the possibilities. I also helped others there that had no clue as to how to run a program for Girl Scouts, but wanted to start one in their section. I was networking with women from all over the country that I never met before, yet we were all there with one purpose: to get ideas for new outreach programs and/or help with ones we had for our section.

That first national conference had me hooked. I have attended it every year since, except the two times it was too expensive for me to attend (I have no company to pay for me; I’m on my own financially) – Chicago and now Los Angeles.

Although my reason for going has been to see what outreach programs are new and different, there are other sessions offered for attendees who still have to work for a living in the engineering profession. There are technical sessions on all sorts of topics, as well as poster sessions. There are professional development sessions on work-life balance issues, consulting, changing careers, and more. There are also sessions for those in academia and engineering.

I just wish I had known about SWE when I was in college. Since there were only two of us females in the whole School of Engineering, (she was chemical and I was electrical so we never saw each other), there obviously wasn’t a SWE section. I envy the collegiate now with the opportunities they have at the SWE conference. Not only do they get to find out about hundreds of engineering companies firsthand at the Career Fair, but they also have sessions geared toward their needs: resumes, interviews, how to dress, grad schools, and more. When I co-chaired the National SWE Girl Scout Group and we took high school Girl Scouts from the local conference area attending our one-day program event to an hour of the Team Tech Collegiate Competition, I was blown away by the professionalism and work conducted by the presenting collegiate teams. In this competition, the student team must be a well-rounded team, i.e., composed of various engineering disciplines. They come up with an idea and seek out an industry partner to help them turn that idea into a product. They present their research, trials and tribulations, and their prototype to the Team Tech judges at this national competition. This is the best way to learn about engineering firsthand: working with a renowned company in the field that you are interested in while you’re still in school — and creating a product people can use!

I hope our collegiates at URI, RWU, Brown, and the USCGA have the opportunity to go to this year’s national conference. I realize it is across the country, and is more expensive a trip than last year when it was closer to home in Baltimore, but this experience is well worth it. If they do go, I hope they can take an hour or so and sit in on some of the Team Tech Competition that occurs on Friday. I’m still hoping to hear or read about one of these college teams competing in the Team Tech Competition some year . . .

And if you cannot make the annual conference this year, think about next year in Nashville (Oct 22-24, 2015) or the following year in Philadelphia (Oct 27-29, 2016). I am hoping that whoever takes over my position as Outreach Chair in 2015 will be able to go to a national conference and bring back the same amount of enthusiasm and excitement (and new ideas) as it has brought me over the years.

Professional Development October

Diana Framed

ABET Accreditation

Diana Ukleja – Treasurer

I signed up for the SWE webinar on ABET accreditation — that’s Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.  To my surprise, the webinar focuses more on recruiting engineers to be accreditation evaluators than on the accreditation process.  Beth Peterson is quite familiar with ABET, but I had never heard of it.  80% of the webinar participants knew about ABET, so I am clearly in the minority.  SWE is a member of ABET; chances are, 80% of you knew that!  Jamie Rogers, Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems at the University of Texas, Arlington and the president elect of ABET was the presenter.

There are now 2200 volunteer evaluators, but they project a need for 2700 in the next few years.  They would also like to increase the diversity of the evaluators, who need to be technically current, effective communicators with good interpersonal skills, team-oriented and well-organized.  ABET provides a required training course; the various professional societies may set additional standards.  Note that training fees are waived for evaluators.

The process begins when an institution requests accreditation, ABET assigns a team chair and the professional societies assign the evaluators.  The team makes a one or two-day pre-visit to the target campus, followed by a three day evaluation visit.  Further details are available at the ABET website,  Teams will vary in size depending on the number of engineering disciplines to be evaluated, and may be swelled by the addition of observers.

Travel expenses are paid by evaluators for evaluation visits, or by the professional society when an initial observation visit is required.  If an observation visit is recommended rather than required, the society will usually not pay expenses, but an industrial employer probably will, as the experience is considered valuable.

Training begins with about 20 hours of online training including quizzes.  There are four hours of pre-work before the two days of face-to-face training in Baltimore.  The face-to-face training simulates a campus visit; each new evaluator is assigned a mentor.  In response to a question, Ms. Rogers replied that an academic should probably wait till mid-career, after tenure, to apply to be an evaluator.  Each evaluator defines areas of conflict for herself, so that she will not be assigned to a team inappropriately.

Qualifying and serving as a mentor will provide you with professional development credits, as well as a network of colleagues across geographical and discipline boundaries. You also learn about the programs of schools other than your own, and have input on the accreditation criteria.

For your employer, the experience provides insight into what students are learning, the tools being used, the students’ areas of interest and provides a bridge between the university programs and industry.

An evaluator must be a member of a discipline society which is an ABET member; SWE does not accredit any programs itself.  I encourage interested NESS members to visit the ABET web site, or to view the webinar on the SWE website.



Membership Matters October


October Membership News

Yadira Gilchrest - Membership Chair

 SWE NESS Welcomes

Lauren Thompson

 to the section!

 This month is full of local and social activities for our members.  These social events provide us with the opportunity to network in a casual setting.  Feel free to bring family members and friends to these upcoming events.  I hope to see you soon!!!

2014-10-19-Blackstone Sunday, October 19 – Blackstone Valley Riverboat Tours, Tickets can be bought on the website or on the spot, $10 / $8 seniors and children.

Time:  3 p.m.

Location: 6 Manville Ave, Manville, RI 02838

POC: Diana Ukleja,, 508-415-8920

RSVP not necessary, but appreciated.



2014-10-25-ProvSaturday, October 25 – Providence Waterfire Event – Meeting for dinner at the Melting Pot first at 5:30 p.m.

Time:  5:30pm – 9:30pm

Location: the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. 199 Providence Place, Providence, RI

POC: Diana Ukleja,, 508-415-8920

RSVP not necessary but appreciated for  reserving a table.




Friday, November 7, Newport Happy Hour

Location: TBD


Friday, December 5, Annual Holiday Dinner

Location:  1149 Restaurant, 1149 Division St., East Greenwich, RI

Time: 6 p.m.


If you are attending the SWE National Conference, Oct. 22-25, please let us know and we’ll connect you with other NESS members who are also attending.


Wit-NESS October

Newsletter Editore-Birthdays

Peg Goter – Newsletter Editor

I just celebrated another birthday, and while some people my age feel conflicted about getting older, I usually like to say, “It sure beats the alternative!”

If you are active on Facebook, you know that you can choose to have your birthday made public, and you can also be notified of friends who will be celebrating a birthday in the upcoming week.  You can post greetings on their “wall” and even send a virtual gift card. I think it’s actually pretty nice to be able to easily reach out to somebody to let them know you are thinking of them.

My dentist sent virtual cupcakes!So, who else is getting in on the act? This year, I received birthday greetings from my dentist (Thanks for the cupcakes, Dr. Nelson!), my insurance agent, and my Subaru dealership. Starbucks offered me a free coffee (I didn’t go to claim it) and Savers offered a discount on my “special day” if I sign up for their rewards-card.

This morning I sent an e-card to my best friend, though I will see her this weekend for a joint celebration.  I suppose some people may feel that these techie greetings lack the sincerity of those in days-gone-by,  but it is WAY easier than schlepping to the store, picking a card, writing in the card, finding the stamp, finding the mailing address, and posting said card by snail-mail. Frankly, these are greetings which might otherwise be late,  forgotten, or never even considered with today’s hectic pace. I have four grandchildren… ask me how much I love Amazon Gift Cards!

So when it comes to the electronification of birthdays… I say YAY!