How to Successfully Transition Your Grad Group

How to Successfully Transition Your Grad Group

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One of the most important jobs you have as a leader is to pass what you have learned onto the next generation of leaders in an effective way. This can take many different forms depending on the size of your group and the structure of your leadership. In general, the larger the group, the more structure and planning you will need. Here are some of my tips for running effective transitions.

1. Start Early

If your semester ends in April, start thinking in February who will lead your organization the next year. Some positions, like President/Director/etc. may require you to talk to your current officer team and plant that seed early. Give yourself plenty of time to advertise your officer positions and answer questions.

2. Ask for Help

If you have an entire team, ask for help in recruiting new officers. Advertise your open positions broadly, but make sure to talk to people in person. If you had a person who showed up to every single social event, email them and ask if they would be interested in becoming your Social Chair. Have everyone use their network to find excited and talented officers for your grad group or other organization.

3. Document throughout the Year

Try to keep a running list of events throughout the year. How many people came? Did it go as expected? These notes are invaluable for the next group of officers. Below is an example event summary. At the end of the year, we copy these into each officer’s transition report.

Date Event Officer RSVP Yes RSVP Maybe Attendance Cost Food Room/ Location Time Day of Week Comments
6/27/2015 BBQ Potluck on Huron River Amy & Bridget 18 14 $62.00 Enchiladas Amy’s House 12 PM – 2:30 PM Saturday We had to move the BBQ indoors to Bridget’s house because of rain. Great turnout considering the change of location. We played a Taboo like word game, it was a crowd pleaser!

4. Formal Reports Rock!

A good transition report cannot be replaced. Many people think this is a pain to do, but it is so very nice to receive. Outgoing and incoming officers should meet together if possible. A report will not replace that face-to-face time. However, reports are great to look back on later in the year.

Here is the outline I use for reports:

I. Letter to Successor
– What do you want to tell your future replacement? Free style here.
II. Position Duties
– Summarize in bullet points what your position does.
III. Timeline
– Break apart your yearly tasks by month. What should you do at the start of the semester? What should you do near the end?
IV. Event Summaries
– Complete the following table for each of the events that you put on this semester. For rating the success of an event, 5 should be taken as the best ranking, and 1 should be considered the worst.

Event Name:  
Event Date Location Event Length # of Volunteers # of Attendees % of Budget How successful was the event? (Scale 1-5*)
Actual Ideal Actual Ideal Actual Ideal
               
Event Description
 
How could this event be improved?  What would you do differently?
What would you keep the same in the future?
Additional Comments

V. Contacts
– Include a list of the different people you needed to contact for your position this semester.

Name Company/ University Department Title Event Association Role with the Event Phone Number E-mail Address

VI. Resources
– Orders Placed For Events
— Please provide information on any orders placed for events you hosted this semester.
– Other Resources Used
— Please provide information on any other resources (such as websites) in the process of planning your events.
VII. Publicity
– Include copies of any flyers or handouts that were given to you or that you generated yourself.   Event planning can be made much easier if you do not need to reinvent the wheel each time you plan an event.  (Please also include the file information in the attachments section.)
VIII. Semester Reflection
– What can be improved upon for your position in the upcoming semester?
– What went well for you, and your position, this semester?
– How did your work in this position support the mission of SWE?
– Additional thoughts or comments.
IX. Attachments
– Include filenames and descriptions if any.

5. Have fun

Lastly, have fun and enjoy the end of your term as a SWE Grad Group leader. You worked with a great group of people and planned many awesome events. Take time to reflect on your experiences and share your memories with the next crew of leaders. Remember, keep on striving to Advance, Aspire, Achieve.

Newsletter – 19 April 2016

Hello Grad Community!

 

In this newsletter:

  1. Upcoming Webinars
  2. Leadership Coaching Committee looking for members
  3. Join a SWE Committee!
  4. Grad Community Spotlights
  5. Follow us on Social Media!

 

(1) Upcoming Webinars

What does it Take, Really?

Thursday, April 21st, 2016 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (EDT)

About the Webinar:

Join Christy and Kathy as they share their unique brands of strategic leadership to inspire and equip you to reach that next level.  Despite their very different paths to becoming directors at Northrop Grumman they share common lessons learned about what it takes to become a successful leader as a woman in the engineering domain. They will discuss the importance of WHAT you know, WHO you know, and HOW to present yourself. By the end of the session, participants will know what it takes to be poised for  leadership opportunities in large complex organizations.

Presenters: Christy Predaina, Kathy McLernon

Register for this Webinar

The Impact of Mental Models in Higher Education

Monday, April 25th, 2016 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (EDT)

About the Webinar:

This engaging webinar will provide an overview of a cognitive process known to impede the advancement of women and minorities in higher education and beyond.  Empirical research will be explored and strategies for remediation will be discussed.

Presenter: Christine Kaunas

Register for this Webinar

 

(2) Leadership Coaching Community looking for members

The Leadership Coaching Committee provides proactive leadership coaching to SWE

organizational units, including sections, regions, and MALs.  Trained Leadership Coaches

provide Society leadership with the coaching and support essential to maintaining healthy, vital,

and growing section, region, and MAL organizations.  Training modules on various aspects of

SWE operations, and/or necessary leadership and management skills for SWE success, are

delivered to sections via local venues, delivered to sections and regions through the Region

Conferences, and are delivered to all members of SWE at the Society Annual Conference.

Leadership Coaches have prior SWE leadership experience which is essential in having the

perspective needed to tackle section and region roadblocks and hurdles. Leadership Coaches can have either a professional or collegiate section focus.

 

There is especially a need for coaches in Regions F and G, as well as professional focused          coaches in Region H.

 

If you are interested in being part of the Leadership Coaching Committee please contact your region lead LCC_Region_X@swe.org or the FY16 LCC Chair Faith Chu at faith.swe@gmail.com

 

(3) Join a SWE Committee

Graduate students are a valuable resource on many of the SWE Committees! Find a committee that matches your interests and availability in FY17. There are a wide range of opportunities and levels of commitment. Changes for FY17:

  • The government relations and public policy committee is changing from a committee and chair to a coordinator role based on the functions of this group.
  • A great amount of progress has been made by the Governance subgroups in FY16.  A smaller task force is being formed to further develop and work the remaining actions into FY17.  Ideal candidates will have participated in one of the FY16 subgroups, and have a good grasp of the work yet to be done and the direction the Society is heading.
  • With region conferences transforming into WELocal conferences, the conference advisory board has created a subgroup to focus on these smaller conferences. Its charter will be updated to reflect this addition. The inaugural group was created from members of the region conference task force and key constituencies.

If you would like to continue serving on a committee, please confirm with your current leader. For any new roles, please complete the simple online volunteer interest form by May 1, 2016. Questions about a committee? Find contact information for current chairs on the committees page.

 

(4) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the most recent Spotlights?

Stephanie Moffitt (4 April 2016):

https://swegrad.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/grad-member-spotlight-stephanie-moffitt/

 

Hannah Chang (18 April 2016):

https://swegrad.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/3062/

 

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here: http://goo.gl/51Oh1H

 

(5) Follow us on social media!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SWE_grad

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SWEGrad  

Blog: https://swegrad.wordpress.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8412361

 

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at grad-coordinator@swe.org!

 

-Katharine

Grad Member Spotlight: Hannah Chang

18 April 2016

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Hannah Chang

Master’s student, Aerospace Engineering, expected December 2016

Georgia Tech

 

Hannah has been the Georgia Tech Grad SWE President for the past two years. She was an involved SWE member since her undergrad days and loves being in SWE for the mentoring and fostering of the community and support. Hannah has the NASA Space Grant Fellowship and has previously been awarded the Gear as well as the Outstanding Georgette P Burdell awards. Congrats, Hannah, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

 

 

 

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

MS in Aerospace Engineering, expecting to graduate in the December of 2016

 

Give a brief explanation of your research.

My research focuses on the topic of metamaterials in homogeneous media. Current, I am working on acoustic cloaking using piezoelectric disks. The end goal of this research is to be able to control the shape of the cloaked region using only piezoelectric disks.

 

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

I hope to take my knowledge of structures and dynamics to spaceflight. I am currently interning for SpaceX, so to be able to apply my degree there would be the ultimate goal.

 

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I do triathlons. I love swimming, biking, and running. Most of my (little) free time is usually spent on doing one of those activities

 

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m left handed

Newsletter – 5 April 2016

Hello Grad Community!

 

In this newsletter:

  1. Leadership Coaching Committee looking for members
  2. Join a SWE Committee!
  3. Grad Community Spotlights
  4. Blog Basics: Grad Leadership Team

 

(1) Leadership Coaching Community looking for members

The Leadership Coaching Committee provides proactive leadership coaching to SWE organizational units, including sections, regions, and MALs.  Trained Leadership Coaches provide Society leadership with the coaching and support essential to maintaining healthy, vital, and growing section, region, and MAL organizations.  Training modules on various aspects of SWE operations, and/or necessary leadership and management skills for SWE success, are delivered to sections via local venues, delivered to sections and regions through the Region Conferences, and are delivered to all members of SWE at the Society Annual Conference. 

Leadership Coaches have prior SWE leadership experience which is essential in having the perspective needed to tackle section and region roadblocks and hurdles. Leadership Coaches can have either a professional or collegiate section focus.

There is especially a need for coaches in Regions F and G, as well as professional focused coaches in Region H.

If you are interested in being part of the Leadership Coaching Committee please contact your region lead LCC_Region_X@swe.org or the FY16 LCC Chair Faith Chu at faith.swe@gmail.com

 

(2) Join a SWE Committee

Graduate students are a valuable resource on many of the SWE Committees! Find a committee that matches your interests and availability in FY17. There are a wide range of opportunities and levels of commitment. Changes for FY17:

  • The government relations and public policy committee is changing from a committee and chair to a coordinator role based on the functions of this group.
  • A great amount of progress has been made by the Governance subgroups in FY16.  A smaller task force is being formed to further develop and work the remaining actions into FY17.  Ideal candidates will have participated in one of the FY16 subgroups, and have a good grasp of the work yet to be done and the direction the Society is heading.
  • With region conferences transforming into WELocal conferences, the conference advisory board has created a subgroup to focus on these smaller conferences. Its charter will be updated to reflect this addition. The inaugural group was created from members of the region conference task force and key constituencies.

If you would like to continue serving on a committee, please confirm with your current leader. For any new roles, please complete the simple online volunteer interest form by May 1, 2016. Questions about a committee? Find contact information for current chairs on the committees page.

 

(3) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the most recent Spotlights?

Jessica Rimsa (21 Mar 2016):

https://swegrad.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/grad-member-spotlight-jessica-rimsza/

 

Stephanie Moffitt (4 April 2016):

https://swegrad.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/grad-member-spotlight-stephanie-moffitt/

 

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here: http://goo.gl/51Oh1H

 

(4) Blog Basics: Newsletters page

Have you missed these newsletters in your email in the past? Check out the Newsletters page for all the previous newsletters! https://swegrad.wordpress.com/newsletters/

 

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at grad-coordinator@swe.org!

 

-Katharine

 

Grad Member Spotlight – Stephanie Moffitt

4 April 2016

SteStephanieMoffittphanie Moffitt

 

PhD Student, Materials Science and Engineering, expected graduation spring 2017

Northwestern University

 

Stephanie has been an active SWE member at Northwestern since 2012. She served on the planning committee for NU SWE’s biggest outreach event, Career Day for Girls, in 2013 and 2014. Starting in the fall of 2014, she began serving on NU SWE’s executive board as the first graduate student liaison (at least in recent memory). At this time, Stephanie also began to lead and further develop GradSWE at Northwestern. This has included obtaining a university grant, increasing membership, and developing programs.  This past fall, Stephanie was excited to attend her first SWE conference, WE15. At the conference she co-presented the talk “Preparing Powerful Application Essays”.

Stephanie currently holds a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. In 2014 she was selected to attend the International Center for Materials Research Summer Mini-School and Workshop on Advances in Oxide Materials at the University of California at Santa Barbara. This winter Stephanie was invited as a round table speaker to SWE in the City, NU SWE’s first daylong professional development event in downtown Chicago.

Congratulations, Stephanie, on all that you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

 

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

I am a 4th year Materials Science and Engineering PhD student. I expect to graduate in spring of 2017.

 

Give a brief explanation of your research.

The unique combination of optical transparency and electrical conductivity is required by many applications. Large-area flexible displays are the current driver of the field of transparent conducting oxides. In my research I study the distinct property changes that evolve in transparent conducting oxides when they are deposited under conditions compatible with flexible plastic. Specifically I am interested in how the arrangement and composition of atoms informs their performance. Oxides compatible with plastic present a significant challenge to study because they lack long-range order. This precludes the use X-ray diffraction and computer simulations that rely on periodic boundary conditions. To overcome this challenge I use element-specific local structure X-ray measurements combined with electrical measurements to gain an understanding of how these materials function on a fundamental level.

 

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

After completing my PhD, I hope continue developing my skills as an independent researcher through a post-doctoral position at a national laboratory. This position will prime me to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming a tenured professor at an R1 research institution. I aspire to act as a role model and mentor to women pursuing careers in science and engineering. As a professor I will interact with students at the undergraduate and graduate level; I will have the status to inspire even more students.

 

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I’ve been a dancer all my life. As a graduate student I still find time to take class at Foster Dance, a local studio. Next year I plan to enter the “Dance Your PhD” contest. I also really enjoy playing intramural flag football on my department’s team. This year we won the Corec division!

 

What’s a fun fact about you?   

I grew up flying airplanes. My grandfather help found a recreational airport in California. I spent much of my time growing up at that airport helping my dad fix small airplanes and flying around the western United States.

 

Transitioning to the workplace – part 2

As I continue to adapt to the “real world” after having been in school my whole life, I have been keeping track of things that seem to be helping me be successful in my post-PhD life. Check out this earlier post for more tips.

Disclaimer: These are things I’ve done or noticed and have greatly helped me be successful and effective so quickly. These tips may not work for everyone. 

 

Tips on Networking

  • Go to as many meetings/workshops/conferences as your job allows — this allows you to meet the maximum number of new people. Try not to call in to meetings, if teleconference is an option. By attending in person, you gain valuable face-to-face time.
  • Talk to the speakers after their talk/meeting– have a few questions to ask so it’s not awkward.
  • Find people in positions you aspire to and ask them how they got there and any recommendations as you embark on this path.
  • Have an elevator pitch ready and tailored to whoever you’re talking to — who you are, what you do, what you want to ask them.
  • Have a mentor/supervisor introduce you to people doing what you aspire to do.
  • Keep a spreadsheet/document of all your contacts and relevant information — contact information, how you know them, when you last contacted them.
  • Send regular updates/check-ins to stay in contact. Meet them for coffee, lunch, etc.

 

Other general tips:

  • Decide on one or two things that you absolutely want to get done on a particular day. Often with all the meetings and last minute things, you won’t be able to get through a long list of items. By keeping a shorter list, you help focus your time on the important thing of the day. This goes for at home too! Especially those heavily involved with SWE or other organizations, this helps to focus your limited personal time!
  • Schedule time on your work calendar to work on these priority items. You’ll be surprised how quickly your day will get filled up with other things and having dedicated time to accomplish these tasks will make you more productive.
  • Keep a longer to-do list in case you happen to finish the priority items mentioned above. Keep adding things to this longer list as you think of them. This helps keep you from going down too many rabbit holes!
  • Be prepared to spend a few extra hours each week reading or catching up on what your office does.
  • People remember faces. Whenever possible, introduce yourself in person and then follow up via email afterwards. E.g. people remember my face from an internship 5 years ago. My name has changed, but they still remember me.
  • It’s a small world — be careful to not burn any bridges. Be kind to everyone, you never know who may end up being your boss, or being on your team in general. 
  • Know what you’re being graded on for promotions. If you care about career progression, make sure to accomplish the necessary items to be considered for promotion.
  • Pay attention in meetings and contribute when possible. It sounds like a no-brainer, but in the workplace, people expect you to be engaged and much of the work gets done in these meetings and conversations. Plus, this allows you to gain face time and credibility to bolster your reputation.
  • Say “Yes!” to as many things as you can handle – additional office duties, extra-curricular work projects, work-related volunteer/outreach opportunities, etc. This shows your passion and seriousness for your job. 
  • Make sure to find several mentors – people in various positions to help you in various ways. Don’t just rely on one person!

 

Do you have other tips or tricks for transitioning from grad school to the work place quickly and effectively? Write them in the comment section below!

 

Newsletter – 22 Mar 2016

Hello Grad Community!

 

In this newsletter:

  1. Apply for FY17 Graduate Coordinator positions!
  2. Upcoming Region D Conference
  3. Grad Community Spotlights
  4. Blog Basics: FAQ page

 

(1) Get more involved with SWE as a graduate student! Apply for FY17 Graduate Coordinator positions!

The Graduate Leadership Team (consisting of the Graduate Member Coordinator, the Graduate Programming Coordinator, and their coordinator-elects) is looking for new coordinators for FY17, starting in July 2016!  This is a great opportunity for grad students to get involved in the SWE Grad Community. The three positions are:

 

Graduate Member Coordinator-Elect (GMC-Elect): Supports the Graduate Member Coordinator in working to foster a strong community and network for graduate students in SWE by facilitating communication between graduate students in SWE and SWE graduate student groups, and by representing the interests of graduate students to the Society. The GMC-Elect assists the GMC, in preparation for assuming the GMC role the following year.

 

Social Media Coordinator (SMC): Ensures that all the Graduate Community social media and online outlets have current and regular content in order to allow graduate students to stay up to date on relevant information.

 

Webinars Coordinator (WC): Assist in coordinating the webinars hosted by the Graduate SWE community, by selecting topics, inviting speakers, and coordinating logistics with SWE headquarters to ensure webinars are advertised and routinely presented.

 

The applications are due by April 01 2016 11:59 pm CDT (Midnight).

GMC-E, SMC and WC application: http://goo.gl/forms/DfmUAJrw7T

 

SWE HQ application (for GMC-E specifically): https://app.smarterselect.com/programs/30036-Society-Of-Women-Engineers

 

Note that the GMC-Elect position requires the SWE HQ Committee Chair application. The SMC and WC application includes an area where you indicate whether or not you submitted the GMC-Elect application and allows you to rank your preferences. Both applications require similar information and responses, but please make sure to follow the directions!

 

Applicants will be notified within the week after the deadline if there any additional questions and to schedule a phone interview. If you have any questions, please contact Liz at grad-coordinator-elect@swe.org.

 

(2) Upcoming Region D Conference

The final region conference of the season is only a few weeks away!! If you’re in Region D, make sure to check out the Region D conference website to see what’s in store for you!

31 Mar – 2 April : Region D — http://www.sweregiond.org/conference

 

(3) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the most recent Spotlights?

 

UCLA Grad SWE (7 Mar 2016):

https://swegrad.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/grad-group-spotlight-ucla-grad-swe/

 

Jessica Rimsa (21 Mar 2016):

https://swegrad.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/grad-member-spotlight-jessica-rimsza/

 

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here: http://goo.gl/51Oh1H

 

(4) Blog Basics: FAQ page

Do you have a question about being a Grad Student in SWE? Check out the FAQ page! Not finding what you need? Email grad-coordinator@swe.org and we’ll get the answer for you, AND add it to the FAQ page (your information will be protected).

FAQ page of the blog: https://swegrad.wordpress.com/faqs/

 

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at grad-coordinator@swe.org!

 

-Katharine