Yesterday We Applied for a SWE Grant

Yesterday we applied for The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Grant.  Below are some of the details about the grant and some of the plans we outlined in our response to the grant.

Grant History

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) became a FIRST Strategic Alliance partner in 1999 to establish a framework for both organizations to jointly promote an active interest in science and technology among school-age students while emphasizing the primary goal of increasing the number girls participating in FIRST robotics programs.

About SWE

For more than six decades, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has been the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. A not-for-profit educational and service organization, SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in those aspirations and receive the recognition and credit for their life-changing contributions and achievements as engineers and leaders.  SWE now offers girls, and boys wishing to advocate for girls in STEM, free membership called SWENext.  Sign up online at SWENext Membership or visit to learn more.

Grant Details

Generously funded through the Motorola Foundation, this grant is meant to recognize teams in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) program for their efforts in creating (rookie) and/or maintaining (veteran) team gender equality in their roster.  More grant details can be found here.


In applying for this grant, the Team/Lead Mentor agree to provide/participate in the following:

  1. Teams must briefly outline their current diversity plan for recruiting new team members, especially girls and the under-served.  If the team has a written plan already in place, please attach a copy.
  2. Teams and their mentors agree to participate in a diversity awareness program available at  Of the four learning modules provided on the site, “Challenges in Outreach” is the only requirement.  Review of the other three modules is encouraged but optional.  Documentation of completion by the team, signed by the lead mentor, will be required by January 1st, 2016.  A certificate of completion will be provided by SWE/FIRST for the team’s records.
  3. Teams agree to invite their local SWE Section(s) to both a team meeting and to the regional/district event where the team will be competing.  Introductions to the Section will be provided by SWE/FIRST. Involvement beyond that, while encouraged, is at the discretion of both the team and the SWE Section.
  4. Teams agree to submit a season recap to FIRST/SWE by June 1st, 2016 including details as to how both the grant and the diversity training provided affected the team as well as a short survey from SWE. Please include season/event photos with the report.
  5. Teams agree to recognize SWE in all their team marketing materials, team shirts and on their robot via an official logo provided by SWE.
  6. All teams receiving this grant are required to submit an official 2015-16 team photo referencing the team name, number and home city/state for inclusion on the SWE website, social media (FIRST and SWE) and all joint efforts surrounding this grant program.


What the Walt Whitman Robotics Club will be Doing to Increase Diversity

  1. Create an org chart to show the team who its leaders are.
  2. Create opportunities for more people to lead.
  3. Participate in events that push the team to step out of our comfort zones.
  4. Change how we recruit students.
  5. Create a divers team of mentors.
  6. Make diversity training a requirement for all students and volunteers.
  7. Work with regional organization to learn more about how to grow diversity SWE, NSBE, SHPE

The team has already seen some success from the additional effort put into growing our team’s diversity and will be the change we want to see. Wish us luck.


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