10 Aug 2015
Heather Sauder, Grad SWE President
Our first Grad Group spotlight shares the success of the Iowa State Grad SWE group. Read about their group through the Q&A below, or check out the website mentioned above.
When did your group start?
Our group began in Fall 2011 as a committee within the SWE section at Iowa State. In Spring 2014 we became an independent organization in the eyes of the university although we are still of committee within the SWE section in the eyes of the Society.
How is the group organized? i.e. how many core people are typically involved, do you have officers, how do you fit within the collegiate section, where do you get your budget (if you have one)?
Our organization has 6 officers: President (Heather Sauder), Vice-President (Katie Hinkle), Treasurer (Hannah Bgyd), Secretary (Helena Khazdozian), Director of Events (Radhika Rao), and Director of Outreach (Desmond Bonner). We also have a few people who help out on the events and outreach committees. We typically have around 20 to 30 people at each of our events. Our budget comes from support given by each of the engineering departments on campus who are more than willing to support our efforts. We are an independent organization in the eyes of the university from the SWE section at Iowa State in order to have events and activities that are catered to graduate students and to be able to obtain and manage our own funds. However, we still hold joint events with the undergraduate section like the Welcome Picnic and some other events throughout the year. Our organization is working to build up our relationship with our undergraduate section in order to provide more resources for the undergrads planning to go to grad school.
What type of events do you host? How often do you host them? How many people tend to come to these events?
We have three main types of events: General Meeting Lunches, Social Events and Discussion Groups/Book club. Our General Meeting Lunches are held 2-3 types a semester and consist of a speaker or TED Talk with a discussion. We also provide lunch at these events. We usually have around 20-30 people attend our lunches. We hold several social events throughout the semester, everything from Wine and Games at a local wine bar to Berry Picking during the summer. These events usually have between 5-10 people in attendance. Finally the discussion groups and book club are meant to focus on some of the more serious issues facing women. We began these events in Spring 2015 with 4-5 people at each of book club events. Attendance at these vary based on the interest in discussing these issues.
What tips do you have for a newly-started grad group?
Try to make a personal connection to new graduate students and then they will be more likely to attend your events. We hand out welcome packets at the beginning of each semester to new graduate students and we are also making an effort to attend every department’s orientation. People are more likely to get involved with your group if they already know or have met someone involved. Also, if you are having trouble getting funds from departments or your college of engineering offer something in return. We occasionally meet with prospective graduate students in engineering at the request of the department or because they contacted us. This can help the department get more female graduate students and gets you more involved members. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from another GradSWE section. We are all more than happy to provide event ideas or suggestions!