Senior Holly McTaggart Receives Outstanding Collegiate Member Award from the Society of Women Engineers

 This last August, Holly McTaggart, a senior in the Industrial Engineering department, was recognized as by the Society of Women Engineers with an Outstanding Collegiate Member Award. According to the SWE, the award is granted to, “collegiate members who have made an outstanding contribution to SWE, the engineering community and their campus.”

A non-traditional student upon her return in 2014, McTaggart was excited to parlay her industry experience in a leadership at Amazon into a formal degree, with her sights set on a masters in Engineering Management, post-grad. A California native, McTaggart has found a balance between her education and professional pursuits, balancing her co-ops as at Jim Beam as a Maintenance Reliability Engineering Intern and current position as an IT Service Desk Agent at Compucom with her work with the SWE, which she sees as an opportunity to give back to the community.

“I have gained so much valuable leadership skills, as well have learned how to set goals and achieve them. My personal and professional networks have grown dramatically, which really sets me up for success in my career. I know that I will always have my SWE network to back me up and encourage me to create and achieve great success in my life. I am anticipating the time when I can give back to SWE and become a life member. I plan to continue encouraging females in this field and always be on the lookout for ways that I can improve someone’s future the way that SWE has improved mine,” says McTaggart.

McTaggart gravitated immediately towards the SWE. Since then, she has held positions first as the Diversity Chair, then as the Secretary, and last year as the organizations local President. Wanting to continue on, McTaggart currently holds the position of Region Collegiate Representative for Region, which oversees all 32 collegiate sections in our region. That position comes with a number of responsibilities, including helping to organize the leadership,

“When I transferred I was told that Speed had a lot of resources for women in engineering, so I was on the lookout to make sure I was utilizing all of my options. My personal goals aligned perfectly with SWE.  I firmly believe that females are much more likely to pursue a career in engineering or stem in general when they see other females already there,” says McTaggart.

She adds, “I want to be a role model for both females and males that it is okay to pursue a career in engineering even if it is not in the most “traditional” way.  I believe that SWE builds up females in engineering to be more confident and better leaders in their fields. SWE has provided me ample opportunities to build my network that never would have been accessible in other avenues.”

She took her receipt of the Outstanding Member award as an honor, humbled even to be nominated let alone recognized. Persevering through difficult times during her leadership, enduring a heavy workload and personal sacrifice, McTaggart worked against any doubts to ensure an increase in membership numbers and engagement, and feels satisfied at her accomplishments, while remaining optimistic for a continuity of her work.

“At times I felt I was putting in too much effort and was not sure if my efforts would be worth it in the end. At some point last year the tables started to turn.  I really saw my leadership team step up into their roles, I saw our members engaging and participating in our section, and I started to see how we were impacting our little community at Speed school,” she says. McTaggart adds of her team, “At the end of the spring semester I held an awards ceremony to honor all of our leaders and the effort they all put it.”