Conferences are expensive to attend, especially if you are receiving little (or no) travel money. They also take a significant amount of time out of your week. So, why then, should you come to WE15? It’s not a technical conference, after all (slightly incorrect, see below), so why waste the time, money, and energy? Well, think of that time, money, and energy as an investment in your future.
Here are my 10 ten reasons why every graduate student should attend WE15 (and every SWE Annual Conference) if they are able.
- I think the biggest draw for me every year is the fact that the Annual Conference re-energizes me and re-invigorates my passion for engineering. There have been many times that I return from Conference and I have so much energy that I get a lot of great work done in a short amount of time! I also come back from Conference and I’m ready to handle the next year – whatever life and/or research throws at me!
- The reason I have left Conference re-energized is because of all the amazing workshops and networking events. The Annual Conference has something for everyone. When I was an undergrad, I enjoyed going to sessions about getting internships and improving your interviewing skills. When I was in grad school, I went to workshops on different career paths after graduation as well as on work-life balance. Now, as I begin my professional career, I am looking forward to sessions on succeeding in both my career and my family. The Annual Conference has ALL of these types of sessions! Plus, it has amazing opportunities for you to meet with potential employers and generally expand your personal and professional networks.
- Another reason I am re-energized at Conference is because many of the women I’ve met at the Annual Conferences are inspirations and have shown me that it is possible to accomplish everything that I want to accomplish – both in career and family. The women who have come before us have helped open the door for us to walk through and accomplish great things. I am, and I hope others are, inspired by their stories and want to continue the fight. The Annual Conference re-energizes this desire in me and sends me home ready to make a difference in the world.
- As a collegiate member there are plenty of opportunities for free meals! If you are a collegiate, make sure that you register for the Welcome Collegiate Luncheon, Career Fair reception & lunch, and the Women Defining the Future Luncheon. If you don’t register for these, you won’t get the tickets you need to get into the events. It’s free for collegiates, but you must register! Don’t forget about the awesome hospitality suites on Thursday evening, too!
- There are other opportunities to cut down costs — email me (email@example.com) by Sept. 30th to find a hotel roommate! For future years: apply to be a volunteer – you can get a discounted registration rate!
- Worried about convincing your advisor and/or getting travel funds? You can still present your research! The Rapid Fire application deadline has been extended to Sept. 30th! Many universities, departments, and/or advisors will fund your travel if you are presenting your research, so click here for a link to the original blog posting containing the application link. For future years: submit a Lightening Talk on your research, or apply for the research poster competition (finalists get a travel stipend!).
- One of my other favorite parts about Conference is catching up with all my SWE friends. I love being able to grab coffee or lunch with people I haven’t seen in years!
- The job fair is one of the biggest you will ever see (and soooo much swag)! So many companies have come to the SWE Annual Conference with the explicit intent to hire YOU. How awesome is that? If you are looking for a job, this is one of the best ways to get one. Make sure, though, to post your resume on the SWE Career Center soon, because companies will look at them and set up interviews for at WE15! I did this last year and ended up with my full-time post-graduation job because of it!
- Finally, the networking is incredible. Not only for those interested in jobs or SWE leadership positions, but for collaborating on research and just developing friendships. I have met many people at the Annual Conference who I then reconnect with to host workshops, sessions, and webinars in future years.
So, there you have it. The reasons I recommend coming to WE15. Still undecided? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a private conversation.
I’m sure others have additional reasons why one should attend the SWE Annual Conference – feel free to post them in the comment section below!