CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2019) –Fleming Island, Fla.-resident and Fleming Island High School student Kaitlyn Ludlam has been honored with the SWENext Global Innovator Award for demonstrating a commitment to bettering the lives of women in STEM, volunteering in outreach initiatives, and pursuing a career in engineering. Ludlam will be honored alongside her peers at a formal ceremony at the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) Annual Conference and Career Fair, WE19, on November 8, 2019, in Anaheim, California.
SWE is an international non-profit organization based in Chicago that supports women in engineering. SWENext is SWE’s program for girls 18 and younger that encourages them to be involved in the organization, learn more about engineering and receive access to resources that support their interest in engineering. SWENext has allowed Ludlam to learn more about Biomedical Engineering and find a supportive community for girls in engineering.
“SWENext is an opportunity for SWE to nurture our future generation of engineers, providing them with resources to help them learn more about engineering and exposing them to other women engineers who can help them along the way,” said Karen Horting, Executive Director and CEO of SWE. “This is the fifth year of our SWENext Awards program, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the level of enthusiasm and commitment these girls already have for a future in engineering. Kaitlyn has been an exemplary role model in her community, and we are confident that with her passion for engineering, and her commitment to the community, Kaitlyn will do great things.”
Ludlam began her SWE career through participating in clubs, local events, and online groups. In December of 2017, Ludlam founded the first SWENext high school club in North East Florida. This helped open the door to working with numerous surrounding SWE sections, speaking opportunities and teaching girls about chemical engineering within her community and across the country.
Ludlam has given back to her community in numerous ways. She wrote and won a grant by Generation W and United Way to start a community outreach program. They used these funds to donate STEM books to local Title-1 elementary schools, providing 11 low-income level schools with an entire new set of STEM books to inspire young students. At the University of North Florida, she attended their Hacking STEM Camp where she designed a leg prothesis for a local double-leg amputee, Sal. This helped her discover her ambition to be a biomedical engineer. Lastly, she founded a nonprofit called AstroBot STEM to help curious students who are looking for STEM opportunities to find role models, organizations, and opportunities in one convenient place.
“As a girl interested in engineering, I’ve noticed the huge gender gap in STEM,” said Ludlam. “I hope through sharing my story of incorporating women in STEM, this will encourage other girls to do the same.”
Click here to see a link to Ludlam’s video submission for the SWENext Global Innovator Award.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded in 1950, is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology. The not-for-profit educational and service organization is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. To ensure SWE members reach their full potential as engineers and leaders, the Society offers unique opportunities to network, provides professional development, shapes public policy and provides recognition for the life-changing contributions and achievements of women engineers. As a champion of diversity, SWE empowers women to succeed and advance in their personal and professional lives. For more information about the Society, please visit www.swe.org or call 312.596.5223.