Society of Women Engineers

Wow! Innovation Challenge Past Winners

Wow! Innovation Challenge Past Winners

SWE salutes our members for their innovative efforts. We encourage you to review challenges from past winners as you plan for your next outreach event.

FY18 Winners

Challenge #4 (Outreach Funding and Optimization): Outreach from SWE of Stevens Institute of Technology located in Hoboken, New Jersey, goes above and beyond throughout the year. They are able to do this by stretching their budget and resources every way they can by being very cost effective and making sure they can utilize their resources in the most efficient way possible.

The Stevens Institute of Technology winning submission to the WOW! Innovation Challenge expands on the budget, stretch resources, and reaches out to a variety of ages, all the while keeping their mission at the heart of it all, which is to “Create an inter-organizational STEM outreach event that would benefit students in Hoboken and surrounding communities regardless of age or gender.” Check out their winning submission here.

Congratulations to SWE University of Hawaii Manoa, the winner of the 2018 Wow! Innovation Challenge #3!

The SWE University of Hawaii Manoa incorporates diversity in all aspects of their section, particularly outreach events. Hawaii has its own unique story, which comes alive through the food and culture highlighted in the section events. They partner with other organizations to host a mentorship program aimed at underrepresented groups in STEM and use slogans to attract diversity in membership.

Members of the section are passionate about their island and its well-being. They are environment-oriented with a desire to bring the island’s story to the mainland. They are a “mixed plate” in both ethnicity and chosen majors. Their backgrounds range from mechanical to civil to electrical and computer engineering.

UH Manoa’s winning submission has great tips for including and highlighting diversity in outreach events. Check out their YouTube video ( for more information on their efforts, including culture-based community service!

Challenge #2 (Raising funds for outreach events): Hartford SWE, our SWE section covering the Central and Northern sections of Connecticut as well as Central Massachusetts., won challenge #2 for their tips on how to use Amazon, sponsor partners and other creative and replicable ways to raise funds. Check out their winning entry here.

FY17 Winners

Challenge #1 (Planning Outreach Events for High School Students): UT SWE, our SWE section at the University of Texas at Austin, won challenge #1 for their work in engaging high school students in unique, meaningful design challenges, and emphasizing that engineers solve important problems, collaborate with each other, and have a positive impact on the world and future generations of STEM leaders. Check out their winning entry here.

The following sections were recognized with honorable mentions:

  • UIUC SWE – the members of the SWE section at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were chosen for their commitment to planning events to engage a variety of learning styles, and for involving external partners and professional engineers. Check out their Snapguide.
  • PITT SWE – the members of the SWE section at the University of Pittsburgh were chosen for their specific event-planning style and for including a wealth of information about the college experience itself. Check out their Snapguide.

Challenge #2 (Building partnerships with SWENext Clubs and/or Educators): Edina High School’s SWENext Club, won challenge #2 for sharing how they are partnering with the Minnesota professional section to learn more about engineering and engineering careers. This SWENext Club has many great ideas for other SWE sections and local schools looking to deepen their partnerships. Click here to download their winning entry.

Challenge #3: Drexel University won the third challenge for their creative approaches to assessing the success of an outreach event, and for explaining why we do outreach (which is critical to choosing the benchmarks of success). View their winning video here.

Challenge #4: University of Wisconsin – Madison won the final FY17 Wow! Innovation Challenge for their effective approaches to expanding the reach of their STEM outreach events, which enables their section to have an even greater impact on K-12 students and their adult influencers. View their winning video here.

FY16 Winners

University of Pittsburgh won SWE’s first Wow! Innovation Challenge for their unique, innovative approach to recruiting participants for outreach events.

Georgia Institute of Technology won SWE’s second Wow! Innovation Challenge! Check out their unique and innovative approach to developing & executing outreach programming for parents & educators.

Central Illinois is SWE’s third Wow! Innovation Challenge winner for their unique and innovative approach to partnering with external organizations to host an outreach event.

Drexel University is SWE’s fourth Wow! Innovation Challenge winner for their unique and innovative approach to recruiting volunteers for Outreach Events.

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