Papers needed for peer-review workshop at WE15

Diane Peters, the Women in Academia committee chair, is hosting a session at WE15 which will teach attendees how to review academic papers. She is looking for example papers for the attendees to review. Ideally, papers should not have been submitted for publication in order to provide the most amount of feedback. Submit your conference-length paper by directly emailing Diane ( and you could receive valuable feedback to incorporate into your paper prior to submitting it to a conference or journal!

If you’re coming to WE15, check out her session:
“Reviewing Academic Papers: How to Give Useful, Effective Feedback as a Peer Reviewer” — Friday, October 23rd from 2:45-3:45pm in MCC 106B.

Article by Fareed Zakaria entitled “Why America’s Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous”


Don’t let the title drive you away from reading this article!  Interesting take on how STEM and liberal arts education fit together and why international test scores in math and science may not be the only judge of our ability to innovate.

Love to hear what people think about the opinions presented in the article.  Feel free to post your own opinions on the Facebook page!

Click here for the article

Do test scores matter?

Think back to when you first applied for admission into college. What stressed you out the most? The number of essays you had to write? Whether or not your teachers could write you a great letter of recommendation? How were you going to pay for it? Most likely it was your test scores.

Do test scores really matter?

One school in Massachusetts doesn’t think so. Hampshire College has decided to stop accepting SAT/ACT scores and the results have been astounding. They found that:

  • “Our yield, the percentage of students who accepted our invitation to enroll, rose in a single year from 18% to 26%, an amazing turnaround.
  • The quantity of applications went down, but the quality went up, likely because we made it harder to apply, asking for more essays. Our applicants collectively were more motivated, mature, disciplined and consistent in their high school years than past applicants.
  • Class diversity increased to 31% students of color, the most diverse in our history, up from 21% two years ago.
  • The percentage of students who are the first-generation from their family to attend college rose from 10% to 18% in this year’s class.”

Read the full story from the Independent in the UK here.

Let’s expand on this from the graduate perspective. Does the GRE matter when applying to grad school? Did you take the GRE when you applied to grad school? I did and had to drive 6 hours to do so. At the time there was no option to take the GRE in Houghton, MI. My friends and I drove 6 hours to Madison, WI to take the test.

On their website, the Princeton Review tries to “debunk” common myths about the GRE. They state:

MYTH #1: GRE scores are not as important as your personal statement and your relationships with faculty members at prospective schools.

FACT: While the weight placed on your GRE score in relation to other factors (undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, relevant experience in your chosen field, etc.) will vary from program to program, poor GREs can seriously hurt your chances of admission. In addition, GRE scores are an important factor when it comes to awarding teaching and research assistantships and merit–based financial aid.

In light of the first article, do you think this is an accurate description? Does a poor GRE score really matter so much if your future advisor really wants to hire you?

Let us know your thoughts about these two articles in the comments.

Reasons to attend WE15

Conferences are expensive to attend, especially if you are receiving little (or no) travel money. They also take a significant amount of time out of your week. So, why then, should you come to WE15? It’s not a technical conference, after all (slightly incorrect, see below), so why waste the time, money, and energy? Well, think of that time, money, and energy as an investment in your future.

Here are my 10 ten reasons why every graduate student should attend WE15 (and every SWE Annual Conference) if they are able.

  • I think the biggest draw for me every year is the fact that the Annual Conference re-energizes me and re-invigorates my passion for engineering. There have been many times that I return from Conference and I have so much energy that I get a lot of great work done in a short amount of time! I also come back from Conference and I’m ready to handle the next year – whatever life and/or research throws at me!
  • The reason I have left Conference re-energized is because of all the amazing workshops and networking events. The Annual Conference has something for everyone. When I was an undergrad, I enjoyed going to sessions about getting internships and improving your interviewing skills. When I was in grad school, I went to workshops on different career paths after graduation as well as on work-life balance. Now, as I begin my professional career, I am looking forward to sessions on succeeding in both my career and my family. The Annual Conference has ALL of these types of sessions! Plus, it has amazing opportunities for you to meet with potential employers and generally expand your personal and professional networks. 
  • Another reason I am re-energized at Conference is because many of the women I’ve met at the Annual Conferences are inspirations and have shown me that it is possible to accomplish everything that I want to accomplish – both in career and family. The women who have come before us have helped open the door for us to walk through and accomplish great things. I am, and I hope others are, inspired by their stories and want to continue the fight. The Annual Conference re-energizes this desire in me and sends me home ready to make a difference in the world. 
  • As a collegiate member there are plenty of opportunities for free meals! If you are a collegiate, make sure that you register for the Welcome Collegiate Luncheon, Career Fair reception & lunch, and the Women Defining the Future Luncheon. If you don’t register for these, you won’t get the tickets you need to get into the events. It’s free for collegiates, but you must register! Don’t forget about the awesome hospitality suites on Thursday evening, too!
  • There are other opportunities to cut down costs — email me ( by Sept. 30th to find a hotel roommate! For future years: apply to be a volunteer – you can get a discounted registration rate!
  • Worried about convincing your advisor and/or getting travel funds? You can still present your research! The Rapid Fire application deadline has been extended to Sept. 30th! Many universities, departments, and/or advisors will fund your travel if you are presenting your research, so click here for a link to the original blog posting containing the application link. For future years: submit a Lightening Talk on your research, or apply for the research poster competition (finalists get a travel stipend!). 
  • One of my other favorite parts about Conference is catching up with all my SWE friends. I love being able to grab coffee or lunch with people I haven’t seen in years!
  • The job fair is one of the biggest you will ever see (and soooo much swag)! So many companies have come to the SWE Annual Conference with the explicit intent to hire YOU. How awesome is that? If you are looking for a job, this is one of the best ways to get one. Make sure, though, to post your resume on the SWE Career Center soon, because companies will look at them and set up interviews for at WE15! I did this last year and ended up with my full-time post-graduation job because of it!
  • Finally, the networking is incredible. Not only for those interested in jobs or SWE leadership positions, but for collaborating on research and just developing friendships. I have met many people at the Annual Conference who I then reconnect with to host workshops, sessions, and webinars in future years.

So, there you have it. The reasons I recommend coming to WE15. Still undecided? Feel free to email me at and we can have a private conversation.

I’m sure others have additional reasons why one should attend the SWE Annual Conference – feel free to post them in the comment section below!

Rapid Fire Submission Deadline Extended!

The Rapid Fire submission deadline has been extended until Wednesday, September 30 @ 11:59 PM CST! If you wanted to submit an abstract but didn’t have the time to write one in the past few weeks, no problem! You still have a few more days! Click here for a link to the original blog posting containing the application link.

Don’t think your research fits into the NAE Grand Challenges? Don’t have enough research background or data to reach the 500 max word limit? No worries, submit your abstract anyway! All abstracts are welcome!

There are two Graduate Rapid Fire Sessions: Rapid Fire Session I on Friday, October 23rd, and Rapid Fire Session II on Saturday, October 24th. Both are from 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM.

Please email all questions to Rachel Unruh, Graduate Programming Coordinator – Elect (

Happy writing!

Strong Women’s Club Podcast featuring Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, the Science Evangelist


I love listening to podcasts and I recently found one called the Strong Women’s Club.  It’s a great podcast where the host interviews successful women who share their stories.  I thought I would share an episode on Dr. Ainissa Ramirez who had a prestigious career in academia as an engineering professor at Yale and is now dedicated to making science fun for people of all ages.  I thought she had good advice for both teaching science and for women in science.

Click here to listen to the podcast!

Newsletter – 22 Sept 2015

Hello Grad Community!

In this newsletter:

  1. Welcome to the fall semester!
  2. Join us on Twitter and our new Facebook page!
  3. Region Grad Reps needed for Regions A and B
  4. WE15 Housing
  5. Upcoming webinars
  6. Grad Community Spotlights
  7. University of Dayton looking for mechanical and aerospace assistant professors
  8. Connect with us!


(1) Welcome to the fall semester!

Welcome back! May productive research come your way this academic year! The Graduate Community is here to serve you, and we’d like to know what you would like to see from us! Please fill out a quick Google Form to let us know your thoughts:

Additionally, if you know of other graduate students who may be interested in the Graduate Community, please forward these emails on to them, or point them to the Blog and Facebook pages! If you are part of a Grad Group, please ensure your distribution list receives these emails!


(2) Join the Grad Community on Twitter and our new Facebook page!

The Grad Community Facebook Group is transitioning to a Facebook page in order to streamline all the posting across all the social media platforms. Continue to receive the Community updates by liking the page:

Make sure to check your settings: The Default setting is that the Page post appears on your Newsfeed at the time it was posted. The “Get First” allows you to see it at the top of the Newsfeed. Also, make sure Notifications are enabled so that it pops up in your notifications with updates.

The Grad Community is now on Twitter! This is another fantastic way to stay connected with the Grad Community! Follow us on Twitter @SWE_grad


(3) Region Grad Reps needed for Regions A and B

Graduate students, or recently graduated grad students! Are you looking to get involved at the region level? We are currently in need of region graduate student representatives (RGR) for Regions A and B. As RGR, you participate in the region leadership meetings and represent graduate students by voicing concerns or providing input to the activities and plans of the region. The purpose of the RGR position is to increase awareness and participation of graduate students in each region. You’re encouraged to reach out to collegiate and professional sections to help them boost their graduate student participation. In many regions, the RGR also helps plan graduate student involvement at the region conference.

For more information, check out the blog post:


(4) WE15 Housing

Are you coming to WE15 and wanting to share a hotel room? Send an email to Katharine at and indicate whether you’re looking for a room, or whether you have a room reserved and are looking for roommates!

We want to help people facilitate filling and/or finding rooms, if they desire. Katharine is looking for an additional 3 people for her room at the Hampton Inn if anyone is interested — please email!


(5) Upcoming webinars

6 Oct 2015, 2-3pm EDT

Conference Intelligence – Getting the most out of WE15 by Shawna Fletcher and Kaitlyn Bunker, PhD

The upcoming SWE annual conference, WE15, will include many sessions and opportunities for graduate students. Join Shawna Fletcher, Director of Women in Engineering at Texas A&M University and Dr. Kaitlyn Bunker, an Associate with Rocky Mountain Institute and recent graduate to learn how graduate students can make the most of their SWE conference experience.  The career fair is an important aspect of the conference and we will suggest steps graduate women can take to prepare for the career fair, how to interact with companies during the event, and tips for securing an interview.  Another key aspect of the conference is the sessions and we will highlight many sessions that are most relevant and interesting for graduate students.  Finally, we will give an overview of some of the main conference events and the suggested dress code.  As past conference attendees, including attendance as a graduate student and academic professional, we plan to share our best advice for graduate students will who be attending WE15 this October!

Register here:


(6) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the September Spotlights? Make sure to check out Rebecca’s awesome contributions to research and SWE.

Rebecca Reck (7 Sept 2015):

University of Michigan Grad SWE (21 Sept 2015):

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here:


(7) University of Dayton looking for mechanical and aerospace assistant professors

Check out more information on the Blog:


(8) Connect with us!



Twitter: @SWE_grad


As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at!