Rapid Fires are Returning for WE13!

Do you want to hone your communication skills? Looking for a reason to help convince your research adviser to let you attend the WE13 Conference this year? Or maybe you need an outlet to showcase your research so you can apply for travel funding? Present your research in our Rapid Fire sessions! 

We are proud to to once again host the Rapid Fire sessions at the WE13 Conference in Baltimore, Maryland (October 24-26). This year, the sessions will be recorded and broadcast, as part of the “Lightning Talks” track, for Virtual Conference attendees! Like last year, they will consist of back-to-back five minute presentations by graduate students, focusing on topics from the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering.

Here’s what Samantha Knoll, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, had to say about her Rapid Fire experience at WE12:

 “I really enjoyed sharing my research in an applied context. It was a great opportunity to practice presenting technical work to a broader audience. Learning about what my peers are working on in various research areas at other universities was exciting and proved to be a great conversation starter for networking throughout the conference!”


Read on for more info!


The purpose of the Rapid Fire sessions is to offer a venue for graduate students to hone their presentation skills for a general engineering audience, outside of their special technical focus area. Emphasizing the development of effective communication skills in a multi-disciplinary team, this will be a rare opportunity for you to share your work with fellow SWE members, all while considering the broad implications of your research on society. In these sessions, we challenge graduate student researchers to compress their thesis/dissertation research down to a five minute presentation. Audience members and judges from industry, academia, and government will provide friendly and constructive feedback on your presentation style and delivery.

Abstract & Application Guidelines

Before you begin the submission process, we highly encourage you to review the NAE Grand Challenges to frame your abstract around the broader implications and key take-home messages of your work. Visit: www.engineeringchallenges.org/

Please prepare an abstract of no more than 500 words (plain text, no images) and be prepared to indicate which of the NAE Grand Challenges is most applicable to your research. You will also need to supply a 200 word (maximum) response as to why you would like to participate in the WE13 Rapid Fire Sessions. Please think through your responses prior to initiating your application.

Abstract Selection Timeline

Submission Deadline: Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 11:59PM ET
Abstract Review Process: June 16-July 15, 2013
Notifications: by July 31, 2013


We are happy to answer any questions you have! Submit a question in the comments below, or send us an email. Looking forward to reading your abstracts!

Good luck!

The WE13 Rapid Fire Team

Prinda Wanakule, PhD (WE11 Graduate Programming Coordinator)

Katherine Alfredo, PhD (WE12 Graduate Programming Coordinator)

Marcella Vaicik
WE13 Graduate Programming Coordinator


3 thoughts on “Rapid Fires are Returning for WE13!

  1. Pingback: Ways to get Involved in SWE as a Graduate Student | Society of Women Engineers – Graduate Students Blog

  2. Pingback: Presenting Research at WE13: Deadlines Approaching | Society of Women Engineers – Graduate Students Blog

  3. We’re posting answers to FAQ’s here in the comments section!

    Q: Do I have to be a graduate student to submit an abstract for the Rapid Fires? (e.g. I am an undergrad or postdoc)
    A: Yes, unfortunately, the Rapid Fires were created to provide professional development opportunities for graduate students at the WE Conference.

    Q: Aside from the 500-word limit for the abstract, are there any extra restrictions or formatting requirements?
    A: There are no restrictions on the formatting of your abstract, apart from the 500 word limit. Feel free to organize your abstract in whatever way works best (or makes sense) for you.

    Q: Do I need to address a specific Grand Challenge and mention it in my abstract?
    A: Yes, it is recommended that you directly tie your research to a Grand Challenge (if applicable) within the abstract section. We know it may seem to be quite a lot to fit into 500-words, but remember that this will not be a highly technical and specialized presentation. Try to keep your focus on the challenge/application and take-home messages. Keep in mind that there is another 200-word section that asks why you would like to participate in the sessions. You may choose to add further explanations about your research applications there, and/or focus on how participating in the sessions will help you to grow professionally. These responses will also be taken into consideration during the abstract review and selection process.

    Q: My research does not directly apply to a specific Grand Challenge. Can I still submit an abstract?
    A: Yes! We understand that it may feel like a bit of a slight that the NAE didn’t highlight the awesomeness of your research as a Grand Challenge. However, we encourage you to look again, and more closely at the Grand Challenges. Some of them, such as “Engineer the tools of scientific discovery,” cover a range of research and applications. Try to “challenge” yourself to see all of the long-term implications and applications of your work, perhaps outside of your home field or department. If you still can’t find a good fit, go ahead and submit it as an “Other,” and use the abstract or extra 200-word section to really sell us on your work!

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