Cal Poly SWE President Achieves National Recognition

Woman standing on front of JPL sign.
Alyssa Liu has interned at NASA’s JPL Laboratories.

Computer Engineering student and Cal Poly Society of Women Engineers President Alyssa Liu was recognized for her involvement in the club and professional success, achieving the Outstanding Collegiate Member award presented by the national SWE organization.

The award is only given to 10 SWE members nationwide each year who exhibit exceptional club activity, academic proficiency, and professional pursuits.

Faculty advisor Helene Finger (Left) with Alyssa Liu (Right).

A member of the club since her freshman year, Liu has been very active in Cal Poly’s SWE branch, serving as club president this past academic year. With that came the challenges of transitioning the club back into an in-person experience rather than purely meeting online.

“Despite the setbacks that faced us, I was so happy to be elected. This last year has been a rollercoaster, but the SWE executive board is full of amazing student officers as well as our faculty advisor Helene Finger, who has been amazing on this crazy journey as well. We all pitched in to bring back in-person events, such as our Evening with Industry night,” said Liu.

Finger said the great work accomplished by Liu as president of Cal Poly SWE showcased how deserving of the award she is.: 

“Alyssa has been a highly dedicated, inspiring and effective leader in the Cal Poly section of the Society of Women Engineers for the last four years,” Finger said. “One example of Alyssa’s impact was her leadership focus on promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As a direct result of Alyssa’s vision to have liability waivers for SWE outreach events available in languages other than English, liability waivers translated into Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean were available with help from the CSU Chancellor’s office. This is the first time ever that outreach waivers have been available (to any of the 23 CSU campuses, over 485,000 students) in any language other than English – an incredible legacy for CP SWE!”

Liu (Right) receiving the award from President Armstrong at SWE’s 2022 Evening with Industry.

Liu, who has been interning at NASA’s JPL Laboratories for the past few summers, credits her experience at SWE for her ability to get an internship with JPL. During SWE’s annual Evening with Industry night at Madonna Inn her freshman year, Liu connected with a member of the JPL team, eventually leading to her internship, which now includes working on NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. Liu credits Cal Poly and SWE for giving her many opportunities like these for personal and professional growth.

“SWE and Cal Poly provided me with an opportunity to take advantage of my ambition and have a platform to connect with those in industry, and I definitely think from those experiences I kind of gained a lot more confidence,” she said.

Liu is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship, and a graduate degree in Biomedical Engineering in Cal Poly’s blended program.

“One other thing I really want to emphasize about Cal Poly is how it helped me to find my interests and shape me into the person I am. I’ve been able to find faculty members willing to support students like me that want to explore high-level topics and spread their wings in different areas. And of course, I also have to extend my gratitude to my dad, mom and sister for being an amazing support system that has always been there for me, supporting my interests and ambitions to go and do great things.”


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