Graduate Member Spotlight: Molly Skinner

Graduate Member Spotlight

Molly Skinner


Biomedical Engineering

May 2019

University of South Florida


Molly has been a member of SWE since 2013. As a freshman, she quickly became involved and started to make a difference in her section. Her first position, held during her freshman year, was EXPO Chair where she managed a $1,000 budget and trained over 20 volunteers to perform an ooblek experiment for students ages K-12. This event was aimed to promote STEM education. The following year, she served as Events Chair and then moved on to Big and Little Chair in her junior year, where she matched younger and older students to form mentoring relationships. During her senior year, she served as the Treasurer of the section. Her work in SWE was recognized in 2015 with the SWE Section Volunteer of the Year award. As a graduate student, she held a role in the Region D Nominating Committee. This year, Molly will be presenting her research as a finalist in the WE18 Rapid Fire Competition, taking place on Friday, October 19th at 10:15 AM in Minneapolis – be sure to check out her presentation!

Presenting at WE18 won’t be Molly’s first rodeo – she is a well-versed presenter! She has been to every annual SWE conference for the past six years! And this year, she traveled to Singapore as a participant in the International Research Experience for Students in Singapore. At WE17, Molly participated as a finalist in the SWE Poster Competition. Her diligent research work was recognized with the 2017 Recipient of Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. Outside of SWE and her research, Molly continued to give back to her campus and worked as a TA in the Unit Operations lab for the Chemical Engineering department.


After completing her masters, Molly plans to continue her research into her PhD. Afterwards, she plans to work to create treatments for blood and immune diseases, specifically for children. Immunotherapies really interest Molly because they can target something that is happening throughout the body.


Molly loves musical theatre and has seen over 30 musicals in the past four years! She also has an annual pass to Disney World, and tries to go as often as she can.


Fun Fact about Molly: Molly is the Secretary for a nonprofit called the SkinnerStrong Foundation. The foundation raises money for childhood leukemia research and has raised over $65,000 for their mission in the past two years.


Molly Skinner


Creating a Personal Website for Self-Promotion


Interested in using a personal website to help promote yourself in the job search and in general networking situations? Check out this short video to learn the basics of creating your website! Anything else you think we should add to our sites? Leave your comments below!


Share your website using this link so others can help you continue to refine it.

Graduate Member Spotlight: Rachel Tenney

Graduate Member Spotlight

Rachel Tenney


Civil Engineering (Environmental Program)

Expected Graduation Date: 2023

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Rachel Tenney first became involved with the Society of Women Engineers as an undergraduate student at Lafayette College. She held roles on the board, including Vice President in 2017, and served as a Civil Engineering SWE department representative. Rachel also participates in SWE as a member of the LGBTQ Afinity group.  Rachel attended the annual conferences in 2016 and 2017 and was able to participate in the career fair and career development sessions. In 2017, she served as a Middle School Role Model for Invent it, Build it. She plans to continue volunteering this year at WE18 as well! At WE18, Rachel will also be presenting her research in the Graduate Student Poster Competition on Thursday, October 18th – be sure to check out her poster and learn more about her research! In addition to continuing her work with SWE, Rachel remains involved with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, serves as an Alumni Admissions Ambassador for Lafayette College by conducting admissions interviews and representing the College at fairs, and has become involved with Queer Science, an organization committed to support LGBTQ high school students in STEM.

Rachel Tenney_2

Thesis Topic: Outstate Wastewater: Improving Nitrogen Removal in Treatment Ponds


In Minnesota there are over 1,000 small communities with unmet wastewater management needs, ranging from no treatment to inadequate treatment. If inadequately treated, wastewater discharges can contain high concentrations of nitrogen species. Ammonia and nitrate can negatively impact surface and groundwater quality by decreasing oxygen levels in the receiving water body, causing eutrophication, and rendering well water unsafe to drink as a result of contamination. It is therefore important to remove these nitrogen species by efficient and effective treatment. An option for treating wastewater in small communities is treatment ponds, which are very simple to operate and relatively low-cost, relying on phenomena such as wind to provide oxygen, and thereby stimulate bacterial treatment of nitrogen species in the wastewater. Unfortunately, 23% of Minnesota’s over 300 existing treatment ponds under-perform with respect to total nitrogen removal, especially during the winter and spring months. Rachel is proposing to study how pond systems operate with respect to nitrogen cycling under conditions of low oxygen and/or low temperature. This work will be performed on the laboratory scale at the University of Minnesota and will be coupled with samples from full-scale treatment ponds with the assistance of project partner Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA). Laboratory research will focus on how simple interventions such as mixing and oxygen addition affect nitrogen cycling. Recommendations based on the laboratory work will be provided to MRWA to assist in developing and, in the future, field testing improved nitrogen removal practices. The overall goal of this research is to better understand nitrogen cycling in wastewater treatment ponds, improving their management, so that they can serve as a well-operating solution for Minnesota’s small communities in need of wastewater management.

Rachel’s hard work has been recognized through numerous awards. In 2015, she received the Chief Executives Network of Manufacturing scholarship and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Freshman Recognition Award. The following year, she was identified as a Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Research Scholar. The Clare Boothe Luce Program provides support for women seeking to study in STEM, and at Lafayette, the program provides research and travel funding for women studying engineering, as well as professional development opportunities. As a CBL Scholar, Rachel conducted research on non-Newtonian liquid mixing and developed an instructional laboratory protocol that was successfully piloted in 2017 in an upper-level unit operations course. In 2017, Rachel placed first in the environmental division of the Undergraduate Poster Competition at the American Institute of Chemical Engineering Annual Meeting, and was also awarded the Daniel P. O’Neil Award which provided financial support for her honors thesis research. This year alone, Rachel has already been awarded with an Honorable Mention at the David and Lorraine Freed Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the Mattachine Award, which recognized her tireless efforts to advance LGBTQ rights at Lafayette College. She developed Lafayette’s first LGBTQ mentoring program for students, faculty and staff, facilitated a confidential, student-led support group, and helped organize community-building events.

After completing her PhD, Rachel plans to become a professor or find another way to devote her career to research. Outside of research, Rachel enjoys reading, biking, and community-building. She can also often be found snuggling her cat, or attending performances from opera and musical theater to comedy and open mics.

Fun Fact from Rachel: She hates wearing shoes!


Graduate Member Spotlight: Emily Hoffman

Graduate Member Spotlight

Emily Hoffman


Materials Science and Engineering

Defended 2016

Northwestern University

        This year, we are excited to have Emily Hoffman serve as the Collegiate Competitions Coordinator for WE18. In this role, she has been hard at work organizing the Rapid Fire and Poster competitions, from finding judges to supporting the graduate and undergraduate students participating in these competitions. Emily was very active in the GradSWE community throughout her graduate career. She played a key role in the creation of the GradSWE group at Northwestern University. She served as part of the society-level graduate team in two-year role of Graduate Programming Coordinator. In this role, she worked to ensure that graduate programming was present at conferences. She helped to organize graduate student abstract submissions, increasing the number of graduate student presenters at conference. Emily’s hard work was recognized at WE17 when she received the Outstanding Collegiate Member award.

Emily will be presenting at WE18 and will discuss how SWE leadership skills translate into a job. She has previously presented at WE conferences going all the way back to WE14! Emily is currently a member of the New York City professional section, and has undertaken the position of a local collegiate section liaison.


Thesis Title: Tribology and Corrosion in CoCrMo Alloys and Similar Systems


Emily worked with a transmission electron microscope to understand corrosion and tribology at the nanoscale. The research was performed to better understand the alloys used in hip implants and the mechanisms of solid lubricants. During graduate school, she was supported by the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship and participated in the Mirzayan Fellowship at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C.

After defending, Emily started a job in Life Sciences consulting at Charles River Associates. This draws on her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering. She analyzes scientific, regulatory, and business information to help pharmaceutical companies develop new products. CRA specializes in rare disease, oncology, and biologics. Emily’s long-term career interests are working in medical regulation and policy.

        Outside of work, Emily likes to relax by eating and exercising. She took up yoga in graduate school as a way to manage stress while completing her thesis, and she still practices regularly now in Brooklyn. Emily lives in a historically Italian neighborhood, so on the weekends you can find her walking around to all the shops for fresh bread, baby mozzarella, and cannolis!

Fun Fact from Emily: Emily can see Times Square from her office!


Graduate Member Spotlight: Emine Sumeyra Turali-Emre

Graduate Member Spotlight

Emine Sumeyra Turali-Emre


Biomedical Engineering


University of Michigan


Sumeyra is an active member of the University of Michigan’s GradSWE group and will be attending WE18, where she will be involved of several facets of the conference. In addition to serving as a volunteer, Sumeyra has been accepted into the Graduate Student Poster Competition. If you are attending WE18, be sure to stop by her poster on Thursday, October 18th and learn more about her research! At the University of Michigan, Sumeyra has participated in faculty-student mixers and is an active outreach volunteer!

Outside of SWE, Sumeyra is part of the Graduate Rackham International, where she has served as Outreach and Professional Development chair for 2 years. As part of the Society of Biomaterials, she helped to organized Society of Biomaterials days at her university last year. This year, she is also serving as Co-Chair at U-M Engineering Graduate Symposium. Through the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student Council, Sumeyra serves as treasurer.


Research topic: Inorganic nanoparticles for drug and DNA delivery


Gene therapy is one of the biggest research area in cancer treatment field. Viral and non-viral therapies have been widely investigated for gene and drug delivery. Researchers are looking for a vector that can be as effective as viruses with eliminating its side effect. Sumeyra is working with inorganic nanoparticles for their similarities with proteins to make artificial viruses. Sumeyra’s hard work and diligent research has been recognized with several awards, including travel grants from the Rackham Graduate School. She has also received the Best Research Poster in Biological Science Award at the Michigan Microscopy and Microanalysis Society Annual Meeting, and placed first in the Tissue and Cellular Biology Session at the UM Engineering Graduate Symposium.

After graduating, Sumeyra plans to become a professor. Before transitioning into academia officially, Sumeyra plans to gain more experience by completing a post-doc in industry, and feels that this would be helpful when later advising students.


Sumeyra’s hobbies include swimming, reading, and riding her bike through nature with her son.


Fun Fact about Sumeyra: Sumeyra has a three-year-old son who is growing up along with her PhD thesis! Shoutout to Sumeyra for being a superstar mom & graduate student!

Emine Sumyera

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!

Graduate Member Spotlight: Shreya Dwarakanath

Graduate Member Spotlight

Shreya Dwarakanath


Materials Science and Engineering

Expected Graduation Date: 2019

Georgia Institute of Technology  


Shreya is very active in GradSWE and currently holds the role of International Graduate Team Leader on the Societal GradSWE Team. She hopes to expand the international team and create additional resources for the growing international graduate section.  She joined SWE in 2015 and has been to the WE15 conference.

At Georgia Tech, she held the role of Industry Relations in FY15, where she initiated and led several activities involving mentoring, leadership, technical guidance, and professional development. As part of the board of GradSWE at Georgia Tech, Shreya initiated and led activities involving professional development, technical guidance, and mentoring  by organizing panel discussions, networking events and social events. Shreya has also been a part of the Leadership education and development (LEAD) programs at Georgia Tech and helped frame the teams for tech initiative. She has been a teaching assistant for 4 courses including 2 laboratory courses where she led lab sessions and taught students clean room based fabrication procedures as well as trained students on materials characterization techniques and data analysis.


Thesis Topic: Electronics Packaging


Shreya’s research interests include inorganic-organic hybrid polymers and interfaces, automotive electronics, and  high-temperature reliability characterization. Her current research looks at improving the interfacial adhesion between polymer dielectrics and metal layers. She has given two oral presentations at IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference (IEEE ECTC- 2017 & 2018) and several poster presentations. Shreya’s work has been recognized with awards such as the Best Student Paper at International Microelectronics and Packaging Symposium (IMAPS), and the best session for advanced electronics in 2016. She also placed second in the poster competition for Future Car Electronics (FCE).

Shreya received the Jewell Fellowship for Fall 2018 based on her academic achievements and service to Georgia Tech. She was also awarded the Scheller School of Business Dean’s Fellowship on merit basis to pursue a fully funded joint MBA at Georgia Tech. As an undergraduate, Shreya received the Ministry of Steel scholarship, which funded three years of tuition.

After graduating, Shreya plans to leverage her skills in order to work on projects that connect science, technology, business, and people. She is passionate about technology improving lives and wants to influence how technology can help solve challenging social problems.

       Outside of work, Shreya loves new experiences and enjoys to travel, follow her on insta at @shreyad001. She recently went tandem skydiving from 13,000 feet! She likes going to concerts, and can also occasionally be heard strumming her guitar along with the latest pop singles. She also enjoys exercising, dancing, and spending time with friends.


Fun Fact from Shreya: Shreya has a pet bamboo plant named Freya!



Shreya Dwarakanath 2017 Full Time MBA Student Scheller College of Business Georgia Institute of Technology