About SWE CI



In 1990, a callout was made to determine interest in establishing a section in the area. Over 100 women attended the callout and about 15 women formed the Central Indiana Interest Group. This group performed the activities necessary to establish a chapter including defining the Section’s boundaries, conducting meetings and documenting participation, and collecting fees and donations. Their efforts paid off, and the SWE-CI Section was charted in February 1991.

Over time, the Section became inactive resulting in another callout in 1997. A favorable response led to the election of officers for the 1997-1998 fiscal year. It has been through the hard work of the officers and chairs since 1997 that we are able to offer and participate in several programs and activities. The section has also established a scholarship program for females pursing a college degree in engineering and technology within the state of Indiana.

The Central Indiana Section has expanded over the years; we now have over 100 professional members, and are located in the geographical area surrounding the City of Indianapolis. SWE-CI helps support several universities in the area including the University of Evansville, University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, Trine University, Valparaiso University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Silhouette Photo of Person During Golden Hour

Rubianne Garcia


FY24 SWE-CI Executive Council

Debi Bardhan-Akala

Vice President of External Affairs

Randa Franzen

Vice President of Internal Affairs

Hayde Silva


Sarah Helmondollar


SWE-CI Awards

SWE Beer & Cider

SWE-CI worked with two local, women owned breweries to craft custom brews (a beer and cider) in honor of WE21 being held in Indianapolis. 

​In July 2021, SWE-CI ran a contest to select the beverage names and labels. SWE-CI members submitted over 30 entries, and the executive board selected the top designs, running the designs past the SWE HQ marketing team and the breweries for approval.

The beer and cider were sold at WE21 events and at local restaurants during the conference. There were several events leading up to conference.

About the SWE CIDER

The apple cider was created in collaboration with women-owned Ash & Elm Cider Co.

It’s named “Inspire Cider” to echo the WE21 Conference theme. The label had an apple shaped light bulb filled with gold liquid.

About SWE Beer

The beer, a Raspberry Kolsch, was named “Equ{ale}ity”. The label included two cartoon berries. 

The Berry on the left is named after Beatrice Alice Hicks – the first president of SWE
Engineer, inventor, and business owner, Beatrice Hicks was a pioneer in gaining recognition for women engineers at a time when less than 1% of all U.S. employed engineers were women. In 1963, Bea was the recipient of SWE’s Achievement Award. Bea was the first woman engineer to be hired by Western Electric, and both co-founder and first president of the Society of Women Engineers. Despite entering the field at a time where engineering was seen as an inappropriate career for a woman, Hicks held a variety of leadership positions and eventually became the owner of an engineering firm.

When Bea was elected President of SWE, she was Vice President and Chief Engineer of Newark Controls, her own company. Bea pioneered in designing, developing, and manufacturing pressure and gas density control for aircraft and missiles. During her time there, Hicks developed a gas density switch that would be used in the U.S. space program, including the Apollo moon landing missions. 

Bea’s husband, Rodney D. Chipp, a prominent engineer, was a valued friend of SWE. The Rodney D. Chipp Memorial Award was established in memory of his efforts with and help to SWE.

The Berry on the right is named after Alice Hamilton, an Indiana born Physician Pathologist who specialized in industrial diseases.
Alice helped save workers’ lives by forcing reforms in the workplace and protection from dangers such as lead poisoning. Alice trained at the University of Michigan Medical School. She became a professor of pathology at the Woman’s Medical School of Northwestern University in 1897. Her scientific research focused on the study of occupational illnesses and the dangerous effects of industrial metals and chemical compounds.

Alice’s best-known research included her studies on carbon monoxide poisoning among American steelworkers, mercury poisoning of hatters, and “a debilitating hand condition developed by workers using jackhammers.” At the request of the U.S. Department of Labor, she also investigated industries involved in developing high explosives, “spastic anemia known as ‘dead fingers'” among Bedford, Indiana, limestone cutters, and the “unusually high incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis” among tombstone carvers working in the granite mills of Quincy, Massachusetts, and Barre, Vermont.

In addition to her scientific work, Alice Hamilton was a social-welfare reformer, humanitarian, peace activist, and a resident-volunteer at Hull House in Chicago from 1887 to 1919. In 1919, she became the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University. She was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, most notably the Albert Lasker Public Service Award for her public-service contributions.

SWE Beer Brew Day

On September 2021, SWE-CI hosted a beer brew day where members got a chance to help brew forty barrels of beer and learn about the science behind how beer is created.