Anneka Swedlund

A Los Angeles native who moved to southern France at thirteen, Anneka’s no stranger to languages. In fact she speaks three. Now a computer engineering junior at South Dakota Mines, she’s embarked on her most exciting one yet: programming.

Just three years prior, she was set on attending a university in Europe, until her grandmother in Rapid City encouraged her to take a second look across the pond. One campus visit later, she was sold.

Though she’s returned to her American roots, Anneka’s accomplishments remain international in scope. Founder of the Model United Nations Club, she’s currently interning through December at Doosan Bobcat, with offices across the United States, Europe, and China.

She’s also paired her studies with a deep dive into a subject you might not expect: chemistry. Alongside Dr. Filipova, Anneka researched how to optimize dye-sensitized solar cells using eco-friendly blueberry dye.

Her future goals aim to apply solar energy to space exploration, working in alternative spacecraft power systems, with a stint in aviation along the way.

Facing a predominantly male field from college to the C-suite, Anneka says “the Women in Science & Engineering (WiSE) program is important because you need to know you’re not alone” – all the way up the corporate ladder. Pointing to a Kiewit engineer brought to campus as a WiSE guest speaker, Anneka lauds her drive and ambition, but especially her advice: “She didn’t talk to us about how to be successful as a woman in the workplace. She talked to us about how to be successful in the workplace.”

That distinction spurs Anneka to drown out the doubters and offer some advice of her own: “Prove them wrong. If anyone tells you that you can’t do it, prove them wrong.”