April 22, 2013

Female students, industry representatives network at style show

“As Coco Chanel once said, a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” said Jada Lewis, assistant dean for LSU’s College of Engineering Office for Diversity, to kick of the Women Impacting Style in Engineering, or WISE, fashion show and networking night.

More than 100 female engineering students, industry women and high school girls attended this year’s function sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers, the College of Engineering Office for Diversity Programs and LSU Career Services. The event began three years ago as a signature event for female students to guide their professional persona and dress – giving female engineering students a template to dress professionally, age appropriately and stylishly.

At this year’s dinner, each table was hosted by one or two industry representatives from companies such as Dow, Entergy, ExxonMobil, Halliburton and Marathon Oil. The representatives brought gifts for each of the students at their table, with bags full of a wide range of items such as engineering paper, koozies, lunch boxes, pens, sunglasses and beach balls. During dinner, industry women shared some of their fashion faux paus, advice on interviews and the importance of interview attire.

“It’s really a great opportunity to meet younger engineers,” said Sharon Hulgan, LSU chemical engineering alumna and Dow representative. “We enjoy being able to interact with the students and be able to make connections.”

The students also enjoyed the unique opportunity to talk specifically to professional women in engineering.

“I like the opportunity to network with professionals and learn about what they get to do every day,” said Laura Iverson, civil engineering sophomore.

Fifteen engineering students participated in the fashion show, each modeling an outfit appropriate for either an interview, a day in the office or a company event such as a tailgate or evening dinner. The students wore outfits provided by Dillard’s, hair and makeup were done by Tres Bella Hair Salon, Crystal LeBlanc and Donna Green and styling was provided by Yuwa Vosper, LSU Textiles, Apparel and Merchandising graduate student.
Chemical engineering sophomore Jade Bates, who modeled at the event, participated in local pageants and was on the dance team in high school, which helped her get comfortable with being on stage and in the spotlight.

“In engineering, there aren’t many glamorous opportunities, so I took advantage of the chance to get dressed up and be pampered,” Bates said.

Petroleum engineering junior Kathryn Bailey modeled some in high school, and she also decided to put her experience to good use at the show. She expressed the importance of the event for women in engineering because, unlike men, there’s a fine line between business casual and business professional dress.

“It’s hard for women to tone it down but still look professional,” Bailey said.

The event becomes more popular every year with this year’s attendance more than doubling the first event three years ago.

“I’m excited to see that all the tables are full this year,” mechanical engineering sophomore Cara Oliver said. “And I can’t wait for next year’s show.” 

About SWE

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering, and to be recognized for their life-changing contributions as engineers and leaders. SWE is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career for women through an exciting array of training and development programs, networking opportunities, scholarships, outreach and advocacy activities, and much more. For more information, visithttp://www.swe.org

About the Office for Diversity Programs

The CoE’s Office for Diversity Programs facilitates and enhances the College’s efforts to increase participation and graduation rates of women and underrepresented minority students, as well as recruit and retain high quality women and underrepresented minority faculty. For more information, visithttp://www.eng.lsu.edu/diversity.


Article written by Elise Bernard, communications intern. For more information, contact Cassie Thibeaux, College of Engineering, carcen6@lsu.edu or (225) 578-0092. 

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