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Invent It. Build It.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Indiana Convention Center 
100 S. Capitol Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Invent it. Build it. (IIBI) is SWE’s annual event for girls in grades 9-12. At IIBI, girls participate in hands-on engineering activities and learn about how engineers help people and make a difference in the world. They’ll also have an opportunity to talk to real women engineers about their careers.

The event includes a parent’s and educator’s program for information on engineering careers and scholarships, as well as an EXPO featuring engineering clubs, engineering camps, competitions, after-school programs, and more from the local community.

Despite performing at similar levels as their male counterparts, girls’ confidence and interest in engineering and math experience a decline during school. This is largely due to a lack of support and a lack of resources/programs available to girls that encourage their interest in STEM.


Invent it. Build it. (IIBI) is an experience designed to encourage girls to choose a career in engineering and technology. This is achieved through a three-pronged approach:

  1. SWE Girls Program for high school students
  2. Parent Educator Program (PEP)
  3. EXPO

All girls registered for the SWE Girls Program will participate in a hands-on engineering experience with members of the Society of Women Engineers. While the girls are having fun building and inventing, parents and educators will learn about engineering careers, scholarships, college admission, and resources.

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Both groups will learn about engineering clubs, camps, afterschool programs, and competitions from a wide variety of exhibitors at the Invent it. Build it. EXPO.

Download the IIBI Infographic for more information.

Invent it. Build it. is made possible through a generous grant from ExxonMobil.


IIBI Health & Safety Requirements: 

SWE is requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a test within 72 hours of IIBI & PEP for all attendees spending the day at the event. 

  • IIBI High School attendees must bring and show an original or copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record (images on a smartphone will be accepted) or a printed or electronic negative COVID-19 test taken on or after 10/20/21 to security at time of entrance. Participants will receive a wristband and will then be allowed to pick-up their registration badge. 
  • Parents and educators attending the Parent Educator Program and SWE volunteers/exhibitors should show their green Clear Health Pass at time of entrance. Details are here.

SWE will not collect, store, or use any personal or health data associated with this requirement. 


The SWE High School Girls Program is also a major event at Invent it. Build it. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience the creative and innovative sides of engineering through hands-on projects alongside real engineers. The program will run from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Participants are asked to stay for the entire program.

The students will:

  • Explore the Invent it. Build it. EXPO to learn about clubs, camps, competitions, and engineering career options
  • Work on hands-on engineering activities
  • Meet real engineers and learn what they do
  • Participate in conversations with SWE members from around the world and learn how to navigate a career in a male-dominated field
  • Have lunch with SWE engineers (lunch provided)
  • Receive information on how to select the right college, where to find scholarships, and how to be a successful engineer
  • Make new friends
  • Get an Invent it. Build it. t-shirt, bag, and other goodies

The cost to attend is $0.

Parents, guardians, teachers, counselors, administrators, and leaders are encouraged to participate in the PEP. The program will run from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Participants are asked to stay for the entire program.

Parents and educators will:

  • Learn about engineering careers, scholarships, college admission, and available resources
  • Network with SWE members and other parents and educators
  • Complete a hands-on activity and learn best practices for engineering projects with girls
  • Explore the Invent it. Build it. EXPO
  • Have lunch with the SWE engineers (lunch provided)

The cost to attend is $0.


Meet The Panelists for Invent It. Build It. Parents & Educators Program

Katherine Kiang

Katherine Kiang, Senior Scientist, Eli Lilly and Company
Katherine has a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Since graduation, she has worked as a scientist at Eli Lilly and Co supporting frontline manufacturing and clinical trial technical transfer to manufacturing. She also has been heavily involved in STEM outreach efforts and is the Central Indiana SWE section’s Outreach Coordinator. Outside of SWE, Katherine loves finding good gluten free options around Indianapolis, traveling, and being involved in other community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Indianapolis Public Library.

Debi Bardhan Akala

Debi Bardhan-Akala, Director – Regulatory Affairs, Citizens Energy Group
Debi has a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology in India.  At Citizens Energy Group, Debi is responsible for the development, implementation, and administration of Citizens’ regulated utilities’ rates, charges, and Terms and Conditions for Service.  Previous assignments included being Manager, Planning and Design, for the DigIndy Tunnel Program and Director for Program and Technical Services.  Debi is a graduate of the United Way Leadership Program and serves on several Boards and Committees in Central Indiana, including the Julian Center and Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. Debi is a resident of Fishers where she lives with her husband, Vasant, and their sons, Daivic and Vijeet.

Tracey Lassiter Levy

Tracey Lassiter-Levy, Partner, LevCo Technologies
Tracey has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Southern University and A&M College, an M.S. in Telecommunications Systems from DePaul University, and is an alumna of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business Diversity Business Program. A former Enterprise IT Architect with IBM, she has spent the last 12 years as an entrepreneur, primarily in tech start-ups and growth through mergers and acquisitions. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Society of Women Engineers, where she serves as the Teller.

Lisa Laws

Lisa Laws, Chief Operating Officer, 1871
Lisa earned a B.A. in Physics from Xavier University of Louisiana, a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tulane University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  Lisa began her career in construction before shifting to the public sector as Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago.  She has held various roles in the public sector, including Chief Operating Officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation.  Lisa is currently the Chief Operating Officer at 1871, a non-profit digital startup incubator in Chicago.  Lisa has been a speaker for NSBE and Project SYNCERE and has dedicated herself to being a mentor for young people of color in STEM fields.

David Bowker

David Bowker, Director of the Office of Future Engineers, Purdue University
David has a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration, both from Purdue University.  In his role as Director of the Office of Future Engineers, David oversees the recruitment activities for Purdue’s globally-recognized undergraduate engineering programs. He also teaches academic and career planning courses at Purdue and is a certified Gallup Strengths Coach. David has a passion for helping and encouraging young people to find their niche and takes pride in being a small bridge on their pathway to success.

Schedule for High School and Parent Educator Program

  • 9:00 AM – Registration Opens.
  • 9:00 – 12:00 PM – IIBI EXPO (all students, parents, and chaperones) Walk the EXPO floor. Location: Sagamore Ballroom 1-2
  • 9:30 – 10:45 AM – High school speed mentoring (Pre-Registration Required) in Exhibit Hall F, Level 1
  • 11:50 – 12:00 PM – Transition to Lunch
  • 12:00 – 12:30 PM – Lunch
    • Students will pick up lunch as they enter the High School program room in Sagamore Ballroom 5-7 and eat lunch at tables
    • Parents will pick up lunch as they enter the Parent Educator program room in Sagamore Ballroom 3-4 and eat lunch at their seat
    • Volunteers and Exhibitors will eat lunch in a designated area in the Outreach Expo in Sagamore Ballroom 1-2
  • 12:30 – 3:30 PM – IIBI Program Activities in each room.
  • 2:15 – 3:00 PM – PEP Educator Breakout Room
  • 3:00 – 3:25 PM – Raffle & Closing Ceremony
  • 3:30 PM – Program Dismissal

The girls participating in the SWE Girls Program and those participating in the PEP program will have the opportunity to explore the EXPO from 9:00 – 11:50 AM. During this time, the EXPO will be an open house, and participants may come and go as they please.

Come to the EXPO to learn about:

  • Careers in engineering and technology
  • Engineering clubs
  • Engineering camps
  • Competitions
  • After-school programs
  • Scholarships
Boston Scientific Corporation - $15,000+

The WE21 Outreach EXPO is made possible through the generosity of Boston Scientific.

  • America’s Navy
  • Arizona State University SWE Section
  • BP
  • Boston Scientific
  • Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo SWE Section
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Cummins Inc.
  • DiscoverE
  • FIRST Indiana Robotics
  • Girl Scouts of Central Indiana
  • Hardware Science
  • Indiana University, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Motorola Solutions, Inc.
  • National Girls Collaborative Project
  • Reinvented Inc.
  • Sweet Briar College
  • SWE Member Showcase Engineers
  • SWENext and SWENext Educator Resources
  • University of Illinois SWE Section
  • Virginia Tech SWE Section

Download a PDF file — EXPO Service Manual

Thank You to Our Sponsors
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