Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the Robert and Jill Peterson MAE Women’s Excellence Fund

“Keep your eye on where you want to go, but all you have to do is conquer one day at a time.”

Jill Peterson

In recognition of Women’s History Month, we are taking a moment to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Robert and Jill Petersen MAE Women’s Excellence Fund.

The fund was started by Dr. Peterson, the first female professor in what was the mechanical engineering department. In 2016, in honor of her late husband, Robert, she began the fund to pass on the opportunity to help surmount the special challenges women face in order to pursue their engineering dreams.

The fund has been distributed to the MAE student community in numerous ways since its inception. To name a few, there are undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, the promotion of extracurricular activities, guest lectures from female thought leaders and more.

“The key to my own success within engineering has been my support system of other women, fueled by the technical and professional opportunities SWE and other women-focused organizations provide,” said Alyssa Caples, the president of UF’s SWE chapter.

The Society of Women Engineers is made of 16 students from different HWCOE departments and even groups from outside of the college.

Caples said that the Women’s Excellence Fund is important for sustaining the future of the organization and ensuring their key programs such as design teams and mentoring.

The Robert and Jill Petersen fund has allowed SWE to send women engineers to technical skills workshops, company networking events and provide leadership opportunities.

Caples believes that supporting organizations that cater to women in the field is the key to encouraging more women to seek careers in engineering.

Cheers to 5 years of supporting the future of women in engineering!

Interested in supporting the Robert and Jill Petersen MAE Women’s Excellence Fund? Head over to https://www.uff.ufl.edu/giving-opportunities/022025-robert-jill-peterson-mae-womens-excellence-fund/.