WE13: Graduate Student Sessions Round Up

WE13 was a success!

To highlight all the great sessions at WE13, we will be posting summaries of the graduate session over the few days.

If interested in joining the graduate programming team for WE14, please email Elly at esinkala@berkeley.edu.

Comparing and Contrasting Research Positions in Academia, Industry, and Government

The goal was to share information about working as a researcher in each of these areas, to help current and potential graduate students think about which type of research positions might be right for them after completing their degrees.  The panel was well-attended, and lots of great questions were asked of our panelists, who have diverse work experiences in academia, industry, and government.  Thank you to everyone who attended, and also to our panelists!
Dr. Carol Barry is a Professor of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  She is co-director of the Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence, and Associate Director of NSF Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing.
Dr. Gretchen Hein is a senior lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals Department at Michigan Technological University, with research interests in student persistence. She has been advising the Michigan Tech SWE section since 1999.
Dr. Karen Lyle is a senior research engineer in the Structural Dynamics Branch at NASA Langley Research Center.  Karen began working at NASA Langley in the Structural Acoustics Branch in 1984, and has completed research in various capacities.  Since 2010, Karen has been supporting revitalization of the spacecraft dynamics capability in the Structural Dynamics Branch.
Dr. Patricia O’Neill-Brown is Chief, Skunkworks, at the CIA.  In this capacity, she provides scientific and technical vision and leadership, leading teams to identify and develop cutting-edge technologies to positively impact the mission.

Dr. Raquel Perez-Castillejos is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  She is co-director of the NSF-funded REU summer program for Neuroengineering and faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at NJIT.

Dr. Deborah Wilhelmy is currently a Technical Fellow at the Alcoa Technical Center in Alcoa Center, PA, which is the world’s largest light metals research and development center. As a Technical Fellow, Debbie is currently leading the R&D effort in colloidal science for a technology program focused on next generation aluminum smelting technology.

How to Effectively Communicate Data and Research Results

The room was filled with almost 40 attendees!  The presentation covered tips on how to effectively communicate research results which is essential to success in STEM fields.  The speaker was Donna Vogel, MD, PhD.  She is currently the Director of the Professional Development Office for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.  During the presentation, she was able to talk about both written and oral communication of research as well as the critical role planning and organization plays!  Attached to this email is a handout that can be included with the description.

Global Opportunities for Graduate Students and Post-docs
In this session, three graduate student panelists explained their overseas experiences and answered questions about conducting research in a different country. Richelle C. Thomas, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, established a translational research laboratory collaboration at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, WI through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in 2012. Her project was dedicated to identifying the effects diabetes may have on the peripheral nervous system. Samantha Knoll, a PhD student in the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart Germany from May – August 2012.  She worked on a collaborative project studying how the mechanosensitivity of primary Neurofibromatosis 2 cells contributes to tumor formation. Marcella Vaicik, a Biomedical Engineering doctoral candidate in Cell and Tissue Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology, was selected in 2011 as a National Science Foundation (NSF) East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellow. She traveled to Taiwan to conduct collaborative research with the department of Reconstructive Microsurgery at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. The next half hour was spent answering questions from the audience about topics including potential research opportunities; how to apply to those opportunities; and how to be an effective researcher in a different culture.

WE13: Graduate Involvement in SWE Sections

How can graduate students get involved in their local sections? Do I join the local collegiate or professional section? Do we have separate Graduate Sections? How do you attract graduate students to your section? These and many other questions may concern current and future graduate students.

We began our session by taking a quick snapshot of each of our panelists local sections and the graduate involvement there. We discussed the graduate group mission and leadership structure, outlined some of the specific events that each section holds, and highlighted some of the funding sources and partnerships utilized to achieve success.

Once every panelist described their group, we moved on to Q&A. As most of our audience was graduate students we had a good discussion of specific structures, dealing with funding complications (including fixed budgets, limited cooperation, spending restrictions), and different types of potential programs to run. One particular program to highlight is UIUC’s upcoming weSTEM graduate conference in the spring (weSTEMillinois.com).

Our panelists were:

Moderator – Tabitha Voytek (Carnegie Mellon University) – tabitha.voytek@swe.org

Anne Rocheleau (Cornell University) – adr65@cornell.edu

Danielle Joaquin (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) – joaquin1@illinois.edu

Yasmine Aly (New Jersey Institute of Technology) – yha2@njit.edu

There is also a webinar version of this session from September 2012 on the SWE website.


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