Funding Opportunity: L’Oréal USA For Women In Science fellowship program


The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program recognizes and rewards the contributions women make in STEM fields and identifies exceptional women researchers committed to serving as role models for younger generations.  More than 2,250 women scientists in over 110 countries have been recognized since the program began in 1998.

In the US, the L’Oréal USA For Women In Science fellowship program awards five post‐doctoral women scientists annually with grants of $60,000 each. Applicants are selected from a variety of fields, including the life and physical/material sciences, technology (including computer science), engineering, and mathematics.

I invite you to collaborate with us and spread the word to your community about this special fellowship program for exceptional female post‐doctoral researchers who are also committed to serving as role models for the next generation of girls in STEM.

Applications will open on November 28, 2016 and are due by February 3, 2017.

The application and more information about the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program can be found here.

Grad Group Spotlight: Yale

yaleWhen did your group start?

GradSWE at Yale has existed since the summer of 2014 and led the push to get Yale SWE recognized as an official collegiate SWE section. Yale SWE’s current president, Bridget Hegarty, held an initial meeting at that time to determine if there was interest in starting a graduate SWE group. Nearly 15 people showed up, and a group of five of us formed the first eboard.

How is the group organized? i.e. how many core people are typically involved, do you have officers, how do you fit within the collegiate section, where do you get your budget (if you have one)?

Our section structure consists of an eboard of both graduate and undergraduate students that oversees two relatively independent committees–one grad and one undergrad. The grad and undergrad committees perform most of the day-to-day operations of Yale SWE. Our gradSWE committee has eight core members, including two co-directors and a number of chair positions (e.g. outreach chair, professional development chair, diversity chair, etc.). We find that this structure enables each committee member to take ownership of one or two events in their area of focus each semester, minimizing the number of group meetings required (important for busy grad students). For grad-specific events, we typically request funding on an event-by-event basis from the Graduate Student Life office and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. For events geared towards both grads and undergrads, we allocate money in the Yale SWE budget, which is provided by the School of Engineering and Applied Science each year.

What type of events do you host? How often do you host them? How many people tend to come to these events?

We hold events across four broad categories: community building, diversity awareness, professional development, and outreach/mentoring. Through our events we seek to support female graduate students in engineering, both personally and professionally. Our events are open to the entire Yale community, but are tailored to the needs of graduate students. Our events draw anywhere from 10-20 people for our informal study breaks to 30-50 people for our larger events, such as our annual Gender Bias Workshop and Etiquette Dinner. We have an event every month during the fall, every two weeks during the spring semester, and once over the summer.

What is the one event or program of which you are most proud?

We are very proud of our yearly Gender Bias Workshop. It was one of the first major events hosted by gradSWE and is widely attended by both male and female graduate students from a variety of departments. During its first year, we invited Eva Pietri, a postdoctoral researcher in social psychology at Yale, to discuss her work combatting gender bias in STEM fields. She developed a series of entertaining situational videos designed to increase the viewer’s awareness of implicit bias. Although she has now moved on from Yale, we still show the videos each year and ask a student from her lab to moderate a discussion about implicit bias and the ways we can address it in our own lives.

What tips do you have for a newly-started grad group?


  • If you are considering starting a grad group, we suggest beginning by holding an information session to see how much interest there is in SWE at the grad level. We found that many grad students were interested in attending and helping to plan SWE events that were tailored to our specific needs.
  • Surveys can be very useful in learning what types of events grad students are looking for. This can vary over time depending on the goals and interests of your members, so make sure to send these surveys at the beginning and end of each year.
  • Initially, finding funding was challenging for us. Oftentimes, there are more funding sources available to undergraduates than to grad students. If your school allows it, we’ve found it very useful to submit a combined budget that can be used for both undergrad and grad events.


  • Collaborating with other grad student groups is helpful to increase event attendance as well as awareness of your gradSWE group. When we have events with a large number of non-engineers, we give a brief overview of our mission at the beginning of the event.
  • Getting first year students involved in the planning of events has been very useful in ensuring continuity from year to year. We have a first-year liaison on our gradSWE committee to allow first years to get involved from the beginning.

What type of outreach activities does your group organize?

K-12 STEM outreach is a large part of our grad group’s mission. Each semester we host at least one event with our largest event, a day-long Engineering Day for middle schoolers, happening each spring. Last year, this event brought 33 New Haven students to Yale’s campus, where they performed hands-on activities and built their own light-tracking robots. This year, we are expanding our outreach endeavors to high schoolers and will be hosting another engineering day, focusing on building a self-watering garden, in December. We host our outreach events in collaboration with the Yale Pathways to Science program, an initiative for students in grades 6-12 designed to promote the sciences, particularly among underrepresented groups. Pathways provides us with the resources and student population for our events, which allows us to focus on crafting innovative and challenging activities for the students. Through these events, we seek to expose students, particularly girls, to engineering and inspire them to pursue STEM further.

How can someone contact your group if they’re interested in participating?

To learn more about gradSWE at Yale and to join our group, people can visit our website or Facebook page or email us at

Grad Member Spotlight: Forough Ghahramani

forough_ghahramaniForough Ghahramani

PhD student, Higher Education Management

University of Pennsylvania

Forough is passionate about SWE at the local, regional, and national level. As a collegiate, she was a member of the Villanova University section where she had a leadership role. As a professional, she held regional leadership positions in Region F (New England), led SWE partnership with AT&T to develop a women in engineering documentary while in Chicago, and has served on the SWE Public Policy Committee. In addition, she has served as a Faculty Advisor for the DeVry Philadelphia section. Forough also championed partnership with SWE NJ and Verizon for women in Engineering college events and Introduce a Girl to Engineering high school event, and led the creation of a multimedia Women in Technology Leadership tool working with Verizon women leaders around the globe and NJ women College students. Her involvement in SWE shows that SWE Grad Community members are at all stages of their professional careers.

Forough has received many awards during her SWE career. Most recently, she was selected for SWE’s Inaugural Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering Institute in 2015. Past awards include, HP Software Excellence, DeVry University PRIDE, and the Verizon Foundation Women in Engineering. For her work in public policy, she has also been named as one of the Women Impacting Public Policy Woman to Watch and received the Euro-American Women’s Council Artemis Award for contributions and advocacy for the future generation of women leaders in STEM fields. Congratulations, Forough, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

My education includes a doctorate in Higher Education Management from University of Pennsylvania  (Officially completed degree August 2016), an MBA in Marketing from DePaul University, MS in Computer Science from Villanova University, and BS in Mathematics with a minor in Biology from Pennsylvania State University.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
My research interests include “bioinformatics, the challenges and opportunities associated with the convergence of biotechnology and information technology in accelerating biological research”, and “institutional factors for promoting pathways for women innovators in science, engineering and technology fields”.

My dissertation focused on the qualitative exploration of the ways in which the various degrees of entrepreneurialism and commercialization shape female graduate student training and socialization across science technology and engineering fields.  This study explores institutional conditions at three selective and private U.S. research universities that cultivate innovation and entrepreneurship in graduate students to introduce patents, start companies, and/or work in leadership roles in start-ups and corporations.  A focus of the study is on institutional factors important to women with doctorate degrees in the STEM fields – science, engineering, technology and mathematics.  Critical factors in each institution’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem are explored, including the institution’s role in building innovation and entrepreneurial pathways, their commitment and resources for innovation and entrepreneurship, their culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and their commitment to diversity and inclusion for increasing participation of women in innovation.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
My short term goal includes an Executive Leadership position in Academia, preferably to apply my doctoral research findings in an innovation ecosystem of a research institution. My long-term career goals include Chancellor, Provost level, and college president.  I hope to be able to make an impact on students and increase the number of women in STEM.

I have recently joined the Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute as Associate Director. In this role, I provide leadership for the operation of RDI2, internal and external partnerships, as well as in collaboration with the RDI2 Director and AVP of Economic Development, continue to develop the strategy for the Institute.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
My hobbies include combining my dedication to training of young women leaders in STEM fields with a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship and advocacy. I have concentrated volunteer efforts on developing programs to mentor women in STEM and advocating for support from leading policy makers for women in business and STEM education initiatives.

During my free time, I enjoy bicycling and hiking with my husband and spending time with family, including my two children.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I love bicycling. My memorable experiences include bicycling through Vermont and the Coast of Oregon, and most recently my husband and I hiked through  the Alps through Austria and Northern Italy August 2016

Archived Webinars


Here are some past webinars that you may find useful. Email Celine at if you have any webinar topics you’d like to see!

Earn $100,000 to Fund your Engineering Education

School is expensive, but your engineering education and degree are well worth the investment! Scholarships and fellowships can be extremely helpful for a number of reasons. In this talk, I will share a handful of tips and tricks to help you earn money for school through engineering scholarships (provided by SWE and other organizations and companies) and graduate fellowships (like NSF and NDSEG). I’m here to share tips and tricks that I haven’t seen elsewhere that have worked well for me. This information can also be applied to school applications.


Career Planning for College Students: I Am About to Graduate – What on Earth Do I Do Now?

Whether you started career planning and job searching a year ago, a month ago or today, there are a few things you can do to get the ball rolling to land a job you enjoy. Number 1: Don’t Panic! It’s never too late to launch a thoughtful strategy designed to land you employment. Number 2: Know you are valuable in myriad industries and ecosystems. In this webinar, designed specifically for students who are still in school/early in their career, you will learn specific tasks you can do RIGHT NOW to get a job and advance in your career. You will emerge with a solid and strategic plan that you can adapt at any stage of your career, but is especially valuable for those who are about to graduate or finish their postdoc and haven’t lined up a position yet. And perhaps equally important, you will leave the webinar feeling more confident and excited about what your near (and far) future holds for you.

Conflict Management Skills for Women (3 Part Webinar Series): How to Practice Patience, Show Confidence & Get the Results You Really Want: Part 1

They Don’t Teach Corporate in College

  • This one-hour webinar will address the most critical aspects of twenty-something on-the-job behavior and communication, and will provide attendees with concrete strategies they can use immediately to succeed in a professional environment. Understand the importance of the professional persona – or the mature, competent face you project to the work world – and the first impression.
  • Learn the basics of communicating assertively and using verbal, nonverbal, and ecommunication vehicles in an effective manner.
    Master the essential steps for networking effectively and securing a mentor and/or sponsor in your organization.
  • Troubleshoot negative emotions that arise in the workplace, including anger, frustration, and hurt.

Women Empowered in STEM (weSTEM) conference

Check out this event from GradSWE at Illinois! The Women Empowered in STEM (weSTEM) conference is a forum for graduate women to inspire one another to become leaders in their fields and to develop solutions to the technological challenges of society. The weSTEM conference is also an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded graduate women in STEM.  Applications accepted through November 20th.


Grad Member Spotlight: Sandra Kopecky

skprofSandra Kopecky

PhD student, Computer Science

Pace University

Sandra has been involved in SWE as  both a professional and a collegiate since 2009. As a professional, she served on the Long Island, NY SWE section board. Currently, as an adjunct faculty member, Sandra is involved with the SWE section at New York Institute of Technology.

Sandra has received a SWE scholarship from her local SWE section for the past two years as a graduate student. She is also a lifetime Girl Scout. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is highly praised by her students. One student said, “Sandra was a fantastic professor with a deep understanding of the material gained from her experience in the field.” Another said, “She took time out of her way to help her students when they were falling behind.”  Congratulations, Sandra, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

I am working on my PhD in Computer Science at Pace University. I am trying to be able to defend a dissertation in December 2016.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
I am doing qualitative research on the usability of cyber security methodologies from a user’s perspective.
What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I am planning on becoming a full-time professor at New York Institute of Technology
What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I enjoying baking and cooking as well as various crafts.  I recently took a weekend break from things and made some soaps shaped as guitars.
Free time, ha! Looking forward to completing my degree and enjoying some free time.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I am currently a college student (PhD) as well as both of my children (son is a sophomore at University of Missouri and daughter, also a SWE member, is a senior+ at University of Alabama-Huntsville).

Graduate Community Events at WE16!

Mark your calendars for these events hosted by the SWE Graduate Community! We have grad student sessions each day. Also monitor our social media pages for real-time updates about the sessions and other social events! See the image below for links to our various social media pages, and talk up these sessions at the conference!