Welcome to WE21

By attending in person, participating remotely, or reading an article here, you are engaging with the SWE community and supporting the mission.

Anne M. Perusek Director of Editorial and Publicationsopening thoughts headshot

The articles in this issue and the programming at the conference are designed to bring value and benefit to one’s personal and professional life.


The annual conference, and the annual conference issue, are highlights of the SWE year. This year is unlike any other, as it is the first hybrid conference in the Society’s history. The articles in this issue and the programming at the conference are designed to bring value and benefit to one’s personal and professional life.

Our feature story, “Male Allies Must Focus on the Details to Help Women Succeed,” is a complement to one of the conference’s Inspirational Insight sessions — “Leveraging Male Allies to Champion Gender Inclusion and Equity.” The speaker, Brad Johnson, Ph.D., has been interviewed several times on the pages of this magazine, and was well received when he spoke at the State of Women in Engineering session at WE19 (our last in-person conference). Dr. Johnson and his co-author, David Smith, Ph.D., have written extensively on how and why men should mentor women, and on the importance of male allies. You will want to hear his session, and read the article, which includes an interview with Drs. Johnson and Smith, as well as other men, including members of SWE’s own HeForSWE affinity group.

Carrying over the theme from our fall issue concerning the importance of diverse boards, and ways that board members can transform companies and organizations, our Reinvention article, “Leveraging Your SWE Experience to Gain a Company Board Seat,” is timely. The annual conference is an ideal place to gain experiences that are steppingstones toward a board position.

Our News & Advocacy section of the magazine addresses relevant and current topics. We examine recent data on engineering and computer science enrollments according to gender and citizenship. The declining enrollments of international students coming to the United States is a concern, and not one solely attributable to COVID-19. For insights, please see “A Closer Look at the Data.”

Another news item comes from fascinating work out of Ireland, where researchers have applied AI to the phenomenon known as greenwashing to uncover the facts behind companies’ claims that they are engaged in environmentally friendly practices. Meet the woman behind the algorithm-based tool developed at University College Dublin by reading “GreenWatch: AI Calls out Greenwashing Companies.”

And, as always, this conference issue provides information on special events and highlights and celebrates the accomplishments of the WE21 award recipients with an extensive awards section.

Lastly, turn to the back of the magazine for a special surprise — a chance to be creative, have a physical touchpoint related to WE21, and engage in an ancient art form that has current engineering relevance. Our origami insert located there is just the beginning, though. You can visit magazine.swe.org to download an additional add-on. So, while you might not be physically next to your fellow conference participants, you can share your origami creations on social media using: #SWEorigami and #WE21.


Anne M. Perusek
Director of Editorial and Publications