SWE raises money for cancer research

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Eleven years ago, Rowan civil and environmental engineering Professor Dr. Kauser Jahan joined a team of Rowan engineering students in a new mission—fostering an interest in engineering among seventh and eighth grade girls through the College’s “Attracting Women into Engineering” (AWE) program. Engaged in hands-on engineering projects, among them creating lip gloss, bridge designs and soda bottle rockets, many students took on a new view of engineering. Brighid Burgin, of Mantua Township, did a whole lot more.

Eleven years ago, Rowan civil and environmental engineering Professor Dr. Kauser Jahan joined a team of Rowan engineering students in a new mission—fostering an interest in engineering among seventh and eighth grade girls through the College’s “Attracting Women into Engineering” (AWE) program. Engaged in hands-on engineering projects, among them creating lip gloss, bridge designs and soda bottle rockets, many students took on a new view of engineering. Brighid Burgin, of Mantua Township, did a whole lot more.

Burgin, a graduate of Jahan’s first AWE class, is now a sophomore chemical engineering major at Rowan University—where her interest in engineering began.

“AWE’s the reason I came into engineering,” says Burgin. “I knew from that point on that I wanted to be a chemical engineer.”

Today, Burgin takes that interest to her position as treasurer of Rowan’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Advised by electrical and computer engineering Professor Dr. Linda Head and mechanical engineering Professor Dr. Jennifer Kadlowec, SWE provides “young women in any technical field— engineering, the hard sciences and computer science—with a support group as well as social group,” according to the chapter’s website. 

The group’s latest project raises funding for the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer research. The chapter will sell ribbons in the atrium in Rowan Hall, $1 each, during April 12-16; host a bake sale in the Rowan Hall atrium on April 16; and participate in Rowan University’s annual Relay for Life event on Friday, April 16 into Saturday, April 17. The SWE chapter also will display posters in the Rowan Hall Atrium during the week to raise awareness of Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer.

“SWE’s goal is to empower young women to become leaders in math, science, technology and engineering,” said Burgin. “Making sure that the women who inspire us every day are taken care of and live healthy lives is integral to that goal.”

Joining Burgin in planning the week’s fundraising is the rest of the chapter, most notably the club’s executive board, including President Kelli Martino, of Eldora, junior, mechanical engineering; Vice President Lauren Newbert, of Marlton, sophomore, mechanical engineering; Secretary Caitlin Dillard, of Sicklerville, sophomore, chemical engineering; Events and Fundraising Coordinator Dana Demiduke, of Pitman, sophomore, chemical engineering; and Student Government Senator Sarah Bauer, of Woolwich Township, freshman, civil engineering.

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