WiE Did It Again

For the third year in a row, hundreds of engineering students from various universities gathered with SJSU faculty, staff, volunteers, and industry leaders for a day jam-packed with information and tools for empowerment.

Guests enjoy a break between sessions. Photo by David Schmitz.

Hosted by the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, and principally sponsored by the Mark and Carolyn Guidry Women in Engineering (WiE) Program Fund, The WiE Silicon Valley 2017 Conference took place on the San José State campus on Saturday, March 25.


Throughout the day, attendees could choose from several sessions devoted to personal growth and development or emerging technologies. Career panels in the afternoon featured women who shared about their day-to-day work in a variety of engineering companies. The catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided opportunities to network and to listen to keynote speakers.


Dr. Ping Hsu, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, said, “As a professor, I’m used to rating everything in terms of school grades - A, B, C, etc. This conference gets an A+. More people are here this year, there’s more diversity in what’s being presented, and the caliber is extremely high.”


Topics ranged from climate change to cybersecurity to self-driving cars. Panelists and keynote speakers candidly shared how they entered a market dominated by men and succeeded, through strategy, persistence, mentorship, and sometimes luck.


Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering, and conference presenter, Nicole Okamoto remarked, “I was really glad to be able to be a part of this conference. I was often the only woman in my class. I got a lot of studying done, since there was no social life!  But it was often very lonely. The students at this conference get a chance to team up with each other and not be so isolated as they launch their careers.”


Nancy Pham, from nonprofit Vision New America, attended the conference. The 2017 WiE Conference Chair (and former College of Engineering Dean) Dr. Belle Wei was on Vision New America’s Board of Directors several years ago. “This conference has been outstanding,” Pham said. “I was so impressed by the breadth of experience of the panelists, and they were also so open and warm. The day’s events were very professionally run.”

Read more about the conference.