Becoming a Pro at Self-Promotion

“Look at the tower I built!”  “Wanna hear me count to 50?”  “Watch me ride my bike!”

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If you’ve spent time around kids, you know that they are often uninhibited in sharing about their recent accomplishments and abilities. Maybe you’ve babysat or have nieces, nephews or kids of your own, but you know about the persistent and passionate pleas of a child to pay attention to them!

But somewhere along the way, many of us were told, overtly or subliminally, that bragging and being ostentatious is not ladylike. This culture that encourages female modesty fosters a workplace where women are less likely to talk about their achievements than men.

Advocating for oneself in the academy and industry is key for demonstrating leadership skills and therefore achieving upward advancement, but for many of us, it is also risky. When we go against the norm of humility and brag about our accomplishments, we may be perceived as too strong, pushy, and less likeable, even by other women. For introverts and anxious types it can be especially uncomfortable to bring attention to oneself. It’s not always easy, but tasteful self-promotion is something we should all practice.

Here are some tips to become a pro at self-promotion!

  1. Be proud of your successes! You worked hard for them and the world deserves to celebrate with you.
  2. Reclassify the task. Terms like “bragging” can carry a negative connotation. Consider your self-promotion “networking” or “increasing visibility.” It’s just like any other leadership skill!
  3. Be yourself. Find ways to authentically promote yourself in ways that make sense for your personality and your industry.
  4. If not your own, then promote the work of others. Women are generally more comfortable with advocating for others than for themselves and maybe with some practice you’ll feel empowered to promote yourself. Alternatively, create safe spaces for self-promotion in your lab or community!

Ready to give it a shot? Check out Carolyn’s post about developing a personal website, nominate yourself to be considered for a GradSWE Spotlight or WE Local award and be sure to share with us how you are promoting your amazing accomplishments in the comments or on social media (@SWE_grad)!

 

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Meet our WE18 Sponsors: Praxair

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We are pleased to announce Praxair is sponsoring the Graduate Student Reception (Friday, October 19th at 5:00 pm) and the Rapid Fire research presentation competition at WE18. Through this sponsorship, Praxair and GradSWE members can connect for networking, professional development, and career opportunities. Praxair is interested in students like you!

Praxair is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. With market capitalization of approximately $40 billion and 2017 sales of $11 billion, the company employs over 26,000 people globally and has been named to the Dow Jones® World Sustainability Index for 15 consecutive years. Praxair produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Our products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others.

Check out their career areas and/or career opportunities for more information. If you’d like, feel free to explore their social media on LinkedIn and Instagram!

Graduate Member Spotlight: Rasika Bhalerao

Graduate Member Spotlight

Rasika Bhalerao

Ph.D.

Computer Science

Expected Graduation Date: 2021

New York University

Rasika has been involved in SWE since her freshman year of undergrad at the University of Washington, when she joined the section of about 30 students. During her second year, she served as a Director of Evening With Industry, an annual 1000-student career fair and 200-member banquet. During her junior and senior years, she served as the treasurer of UW’s section. By the time she graduated, the section had over 400 students, and she greatly enjoyed watching it grow. This year, she is the Social Media Coordinator for the SWE Grad Leadership Team, and continues to work on her graduate degree at NYU. She has been to several SWE conferences, and you may see her at one soon!

Rasika’s hard work and dedication go further than SWE alone. She has been involved in acapella, and her most cherished award is the one that her acapella group named after her, the Rasika Bhalerao Award, in 2017. It is awarded to the most helpful and caring member. She also works as a teaching assistant in the Computer Science department.

Rasika’s research is focused on applying machine learning and natural language processing tools to cybersecurity. She is currently working on a project analyzing cybercriminal underground forums.

Rasika is keeping her options open for her future career opportunities. Her love of teaching (and research interests) inspire her to pursue a career in academia. She is also, however, currently making strong industry connections in her field.

Outside of computer science, Rasika enjoys playing the piano and rock climbing.

Fun Fact about Rasika: Despite being allergic to cats, Rasika participates in a cat fostering program.

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The Importance of “Me time”

Now that our semesters are in full swing, it is easy to forget to set aside time for yourself. Is your to-do list growing ever longer? Number of emails unread in your inbox constantly increasing? Take a deep breath and step back for a minute. Here are some good tips for returning some calmness to your life:

 

  1. Check out this “meditation” trend everyone is talking about! The reason there is so much chatter is because meditation can actually help you reset, reduce stress, control anxiety, and even sleep better. Try to build a short meditation into your schedule – to start and/or end your day, and bring more clarity to your life. Once it is a habit, you will reduce the overall stress and anxiety in your life.
  2. Schedule time to work out or exercise. Yoga goes hand-in-hand with meditation and can kill two birds with one stone – you can get the great endorphins from the exercise, as well as the the calming benefits of meditation. While the fall weather starts up, take advantage of the outdoors – go for a short hike, bike ride, or even try a couple of runs! Be sure to check out what you local gym offers – group fitness is a great way to make friends and get your exercise in.
  3. Make a personal to-do list, and set aside time to complete “tasks” which make you happy. Even if this means setting aside time to do laundry, or cook a nice meal, if it will enhance your life and reduce your stress, make the time for it!
  4. Consider taking up a diary or a bullet journal. Be sure to write about the positive things that have happened in your life – take maybe twenty minutes per day. If you ever start to have a bad day, just flip through the book and remember all the successes you have had thus far.
  5. Stay in touch with friends and family! Graduate school can be very fast-paced and isolating. Be sure to pencil in time to call and chat with family and friends. Do you have experiments with long wait steps? Give someone a call, and escape grad school for a little bit.
  6. Schedule small day trips around your university – be sure to truly live in the city you live in! Do you live near lots of parks? Do you live near a big city? Take advantage of your location! You may not live here for the rest of your life, so take the time to check it out.

 

As we head into a busy fall, be sure to keep yourself a priority. There is always time for more research, but mental health and comfort cannot be overlooked. Try out one or two of these strategies and see if they have a positive impact on your life. Do you have other suggestions of ways to deal with stress and ensure you are a priority in your own life? What works best for you? Share below!

Meet our WE18 Sponsors: Autodesk

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We are pleased to announce Autodesk is sponsoring the Graduate Student Reception at WE18 (Friday, October 19th at 5:00 pm). Through this sponsorship, Autodesk and GradSWE members can connect for networking, professional development, and career opportunities. Autodesk is interested in students like you! They hire interns in many business functions including Engineering, Design, and Business so feel free to come prepared with questions you may have about their program!

Whether you are attending the conference or not, be sure to check out their Careers Page for more information. Learn about their career opportunities for graduating students.

Check out their LinkedIn and even their Instagram!

Graduate Member Spotlight: Megan Beck

Graduate Member Spotlight: Megan Beck

Graduate Member Spotlight

Megan E. Beck

Ph.D.

Materials Science and Engineering

Expected Graduation Date: Summer 2019

Northwestern University

This year, we are excited to have Megan Beck serve as our Graduate Programming Coordinator, where she has been instrumental in ensuring there is a graduate student presence at WE18. She has organized abstract submissions by graduate students and is organizing the graduate student meeting at WE18. Her hard work has ensured the graduate presence at annual conference so if you are planning to attend conference, be sure to meet Megan! Before she joined the societal GradSWE team, Megan gained substantial SWE experience at the section-level. She has worked diligently over the last two years to establish and grow a GradSWE group at Northwestern University. Her work has paid off, as the group is officially recognized by NU, and they have secured a $3000 grant to fund a suite of professional development, outreach, and social programming.

Megan has also been involved in her graduate community outside of SWE. She has worked over the last year and a half to co-found a new group in her department (Material Science and Engineering). This new group, Materials Science Alliance for an Inclusive Community (MatSAIC), advocates for inclusion and diversity in STEM fields. The group works to promote interactions between graduate students and professors from a variety of backgrounds by inviting Materials Science and Engineering Department colloquium speakers who demonstrate outstanding efforts in promoting inclusion in STEM to take part in the quarterly MatSAIC seminar series on their own experiences and how they promote diversity and inclusion. She also serves on the NU Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Student Leadership Team.

Megan has proved her technical merit and has been recognized with a long list of awards. Most significantly, she was awarded fellowships though both the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduation Research Fellowship program. Megan has demonstrated great interest and skill in teaching and has received a Teaching Certificate from Northwestern SEARLE Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. This summer, she was selected by the Kellogg School of Management at NU and received a Management for Scientist and Engineers Certificate.

 

Research Topic: Self-Aligned van der Waals Heterojunction Diodes and Transistors

Because numerous novel and attractive properties have been revealed in atomically thin, low-dimensional materials, it is possible to envision a future comprised of low-power, tunable, flexible, ultra thin devices. Toward this goal, it is necessary to develop fabrication methods specifically for these atomically thin materials instead of relying on the conventional silicon based methods.  Megan’s Ph.D. research at Northwestern University has focused on developing device fabrication processes that allow us to fully leverage the properties of low-dimensional materials and make more complicated electronic device geometries. Specifically she and her team developed a processing platform that has (1) minimized short-channel effects (channel lengths < 200nm) and improve current saturation in MoS2 transistors, (2) enabled dual-gate control of antiambipolar behavior in MoS2-black phosphorus thin-film junctions via e-beam lithography and (3) been adapted to wafer-scale processing via photolithography for dual-gated self-aligned MoS2-CNT heterojunctions. Overall, this self-aligned fabrication method represents an important step toward the scalable integration of van der Waals heterojunction devices into more sophisticated circuits and systems.

After graduation, Megan sees herself working in scientific consulting or R&D in the semiconductor industry. Outside of her technical endeavors, Megan is very involved in her church community and spends her free time cooking, crocheting, and playing with her rat terrier, Una.

Fun fact about Megan: Megan grew up in a small town (pop. 2400) in rural northern Idaho. She is one of a handful of people from her town who moved more than an hour away for their undergraduate degree and one of an even smaller number that left the state after undergrad.

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