Using Social Media for Self-Promotion

Hello Graduate community! I recently put together a YouTube video about self-promotion on social media platforms. Find the video here! Please find additional details for how to create & maintain your social media presence! For more questions or discussion on this topic, feel free to email me at or DM me on Twitter at @Carolyn_Chlebek


  1. Steps to creating your social media platform
    1. Setting up your profile
      1. If you have old accounts that are public and not so professional, be sure to delete them!
      2. Find a good headshot that can be used for your sites.
        1. Consistent branding is key, so try to use the replicate similar photos across your platforms
        2. Use your real photo so any connections you make will be easy to maintain when you meet in person
      3. Think about your Handle and Display name
        1. For those who have completed graduate school, consider adding “Dr.” Before your name. There is a push to do this and give you  more credibility & prestige.
        2. You can change these later, but if you change your handle anything you were tagged in will no longer tag back to you.
        3. Use your real name, or publishing name, so that you are easily searchable.
      4. Bio Suggestions
        1. List the institutions you are currently affiliated with, your research, passions, alumni, society-level positions, etc.
    2. Identify your Role Models
      1. Follow the institutions, departments, etc, that you are affiliated with
      2. Find someone with a feed that looks like something similar to what you want to create
        1. Look at who they follow – you can find quite a few people to start following right away!
      3. Look at large organizations related to your field and goals
        1. Watch who frequently retweets these organizations, and watch the retweets by the organization
          1. You can get a better idea of who the prominent members of these organizations are, and identify more role models as well.  
      4. Any science blogs or podcasts you read/listen to may have twitter accounts that will make it very easy for you to engage with their content and retweet it to maintain your own presence.
    3. Tag others effectively!
      1. Want to connect directly to a profile? This could be an organization, person, etc.
      2. Use the “@“ symbol
      3. This will increase your chances of getting re-tweeted, and then seen on new people’s home page.
    4. Use effective hashtags!
      1. Going to a conference? Be sure to add the hashtag
        1. Before, during, and after the conference, be sure to check out the hashtag to see who else is active on Twitter. You may discover events at the conference that you didn’t know about, or find new people to network with.
        2. These hashtags can increase your visibility.
        3. Often, these hashtags can go directly to the conference app and allow you to get together groups of people.
          1. Example: at WELocal Providence, I called for all RPI alumni to get together and those not on Twitter were able to see the post on the app.
        4. When tweeting at conferences, be sure to make the tweets useful for those not at the conference – include summarized messages, tagging individuals, and potential links for more information
      2. Creating your own hashtag? Use effective capitalization of new words to help people read it easier
    5. Maintain your social media presence, even in the most “boring” times
      1. Set a goal for yourself – example: Check twitter once every other day, and tweet once per week.
        1. Find excuses to stay active – tweet about interesting podcasts or articles you read related to STEM, about fun things you do to entertain yourself during boring experiments, department social events!
      2. Using media (images) will help you get more interactions on your tweets
        1. Be careful when tweeting presentations though – be sure that the presenter is OK with you sharing their data/slides on twitter. Some of it may be sensitive work that they do not want released to the public
        2. Also, if you are tweeting about outreach activities, be sure that parental approval was obtained for any pictures of children
    6. Remember, if you don’t self-promote, you will not be seen.
      1. Grad community runs spotlights on the grad students on our leadership team.
        1. Last year, I did not share or self-promote and only had 12 engagements on my the spotlight post.
        2. This year (with essentially the same post), I shared on Facebook and received over 300 engagements. I was able to connect with young students interested in STEM, old friends, and got more visibility within the SWE community.
    7. Now that your profile is all set up, be sure to add your handle to the following content:
      1. Presentation slides and posters
      2. Business cards
      3. Email signature
      4. Personal website/lab site/etc
    8. Note:
      1. Everything you like on Twitter and Facebook can appear on other people’s feeds
      2. You can schedule posts to maintain your brand even when traveling or very busy.
      3. You cannot edit tweets, so double check spelling and think about your tweet before sending it through
      4. Be sure to use twitter to engage with others! Not just for traditional self-promotion


Thanks to Dr. Kate Bradford of Johns Hopkins for sharing her presentations on Twitter


If you are a grad student in SWE, nominate yourself for a spotlight! We post this on our Facebook page and twitter, as well as our own blog. This will help your google search results increase and allow people to see how awesome you are!



Graduate Student Spotlight: Rita Matta

Graduate Member Spotlight

Rita Matta


Biomedical Engineering


Yale University


Rita is an all-around rockstar in SWE, and currently co-leads the Yale GradSWE group. Rita has taken the lead for collaboration with other diversity groups at Yale in order to promote diversity and inclusion. She has also planned professional development events and career panels to prep members for navigating life after graduate school and building career/academic networks.


Prior to Yale, Rita spent her summer vacations as an R&D intern at Covidien and Medtronic. Here, she was introduced to the field of industry, working in a biology and chemistry based group, and building her professional and research skills. Through these experiences and by working under a strong female PhD manager, Rita was aspired to pursue a PhD as well.


This fervor for promoting women in STEM continued at Yale where Rita has enjoyed attending local and societal SWE conferences. In 2017, Rita was awarded first place for her poster at the Region F Conference.


Rita is passionate about her bioengineering based thesis work, where she works with biomaterials to promote tissue repair post injury, highlighting the integration of cell biology and material chemistry. Additionally, Rita is inspired by her Principal Investigator, who is an admirable female mentor and motivator for Rita’s academic and professional success. Primarily, Rita focuses on observation of neural stem cell and vascular cell interactions and how the two processes, coupled, can be used to promote functional and sensory recovery post brain injury.


After graduation, Rita aspires to work in industry to connect engineers and biologists, integrating various fields similarly to how her mentors have inspired her to in the past and present.


Outside of lab, Rita enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, running, and traveling. She loves her cat, experiments with cooking, and enjoys quality time with friends.


rita matta

Weekend Programs to Help You Become a More Competitive Applicant for Academia

Interested in Academia? Some institutions and societies will offer weekend programs tailored to graduate students and post-docs that boast intensive advice and feedback from current faculty. These weekend programs are open to students from within and outside of the host institution. These weekends will contain trainings that allow participants to develop more competitive applications for academic positions, and can help you to expand your network. Occasionally, these programs are also recruiting events for future faculty positions. We have compiled a list of these workshops below, organized by previous year’s application deadline:


Postdoc to Faculty Workshop (for prospective chemistry faculty)

Deadline: April 7

Workshop Date: July 26 – 28, 2019


Asian Deans’ Form: The Rising Stars

Previous Deadline: April 2018

Workshop Date: October


University of Delaware Future Faculty Workshop

Previous Deadline: May 2018

Workshop Date: July


Michigan Engineering & Berkeley Engineering NextProf Nexus Workshop

Previous Deadline: June 2018

Workshop Date: September


Rochester Institute of Technology Faculty Recruitment

Previous Deadline: June

Workshop Date: September


University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Strive: Future Faculty Development

Previous Deadline: July 2018

Workshop Date: October


Academic Leadership for the Women in Engineering (ALWE), Society of Women Engineers

Previous Deadline: August 2018

Workshop Date: October


Virginia Tech Future Faculty Program

Previous Deadline: September 2018

Workshop Date: November


NC State Building Future Faculty Program

Previous Deadline: November 2018

Workshop Date: following April


Launching Academics on the Tenure-Track: An Intentional Community in Engineering (post-PhD applications only)

Previous Deadline: December 2018

Workshop Date: unknown


Graduate Member Spotlight: Andrea Haverkamp

Andrea Haverkamp


Environmental Engineering


Oregon State University


Andrea Haverkamp currently serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Liaison for the GradSWE community. Working with a team of committed graduate students, she works to bring more content and trainings highlighting the underrepresented minorities within the GradSWE community, such as the LGBTQ+ community. These projects aim to educate the entire organization, and create a sense of belonging across all participants. Current work includes reaching out to SWE Affinity Groups and their leadership to build connections, forming a diverse D&I team, and developing a monthly virtual GradSWE D&I reading group. She was a member of SWE during her undergraduate program at the University of Kansas and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace. At Oregon State University, she is a part of the student-led effort Grads 4 Social Justice advocating for difference, power, and discrimination educational coursework to be a part of every students program of study within engineering.


Thesis Topic: Invisiblized Gender Experiences in Engineering Education


Engineering is a highly gendered field. A lot has been written and studied regarding gender dynamics between men and women in the profession. However, almost all research on gender in engineering relies on antiquated binary categories of men and women which groups people into two universal experiences. Intersectional feminist theory and modern gender theory break apart the notion that bodies and their experiences neatly fit into two gender categories, or that these categories are fixed and cisgender. Andrea’s dissertation research seeks to address this by exploring what has not been explored. Andrea seeks to lift up and highlight the stories, experiences, and support structures of transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) undergraduate students in engineering education through phenomenological and feminist research methods.Through multiple phases, she and her research team will collaborate with undergraduate TGNC engineering students to find themes of support, resiliency, and community. Since students are the foremost experts on their own lived experiences, the students are in a central role in the research process and analysis at every phase. The research products will inform our understanding of gender dynamics in engineering education and identify gaps in institutional support structures for this student population. Andrea is motivated to do this research out of a strong commitment to social justice and a liberatory future for all LGBTQ+ people.  


Andrea plans to become an engineering teacher and to teach environmental engineering courses, such as water/wastewater treatment, alongside topics of engineering ethics, social justice, and peace studies. She wants to create classroom spaces that are equitable and where we can critically engage in our role as engineers in a morally complex world. Through her research, Andrea aims to help push our engineering community towards a daily practice of social justice.


Outside of work, Andrea’s life mostly revolves around her dog Spaghetti, who is a 2 year old pug-chihuahua mix. She also goes to a lot of concerts and is a DJ on the local college radio station. Andrea used to play a lot of music on the banjo, electric guitar, trumpet, and through singing, and that’s a hobby she keeps close to her.
Fun Fact about Andrea: Andrea grew up raising cattle and pigs in rural Kansas, and her first pig was named Floppy!



Graduate Member Spotlight: Chima Chukwuemeka

Graduate Member Spotlight

Chima Chukwuemeka


Chemical Engineering


Tennessee Technological University


Chima has been a committed member of SWE since 2014. His contributions have included undergraduate student mentorship, volunteering, and advocating for more youth minority women to engage in STEM education.  


Chima’s work has been recognized with the NSBE Golden Torch Award for Graduate Student of the Year for 2017-2018. This award recognizes excellence among graduate students and is an incredibly high honor. He also received the Graduate Minority Research Award and Graduate Teaching awards from Tennessee Technological University.


Thesis Topic: Comestible Herbs in Wound Management: Effects of Allium sativum, Asparagus officinalis, and Pinus strobus Extracts on Staphylococcus epidermidis.


Effective wound management is one of the key ways to minimize complications and infections in wounds. The rise in antimicrobial resistance, in addition to recent reports of nosocomial infections and the impacts of synthetic antibiotics on aquatic environments, present additional challenges to wound management. Generally, repairing any damaged tissue involves a series of complex, imbricating physiological processes that can be disrupted by many local and systemic factors, such as infection. Infections usually cause wound chronicity as well as prolonged inflammatory phase, and may contribute to other sequelae of events that would result to the formation of abnormal scars, such as keloids. Chima’s work evaluates the effects of crude aqueous and ethanolic extracts from garlic (Allium sativum) cloves, garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) stems, and white pine (Pinus strobus) on Staphylococcus epidermidis for inhibitory properties. His results are expected to present a potential opportunity to explore herbal extracts for the development of antibiotics and/or antiseptics, thereby helping to address the burden of antibiotic resistance and the rising cost of wound management.


Chima’s career goals are to advance his contributions to the engineering field in both industry and academia with special focus in creating value that promote sustainable livelihood.


Outside of lab, Chima enjoys playing soccer, scrabble, and chess. He also enjoys cycling and traveling.


Fun Fact about Chima: Nigeria, Chima’s motherland, has over 500 spoken languages!




Increase networking in your organizations & colleges easy coffee hours!

Increase networking in your organizations & colleges with easy coffee hours!


As graduate students, we are confined mainly to our departments, interacting primarily with those students in our labs and cohorts. While this allows us to build deep bonds with our current and future colleagues, our network can easily remain small. For part time and professional students, the network can be even smaller. Unlike the undergraduate culture, our work styles are not conducive  to frequent opportunities to meet and interact with other students. Club participation and student group activities often don’t feel relevant to graduate students.

But you don’t need to stay in your lab bubble! One particularly interesting talk at WE18, given by Marlo Abramowitz of HDR, introduced a new model for easy networking. Marlo created a randomized coffee hour to encourage employees at her company to create more internal connections. All employees interested in participating in this networking program signed up through a link. Marlo then randomly assigned the participants in pairs. The pair was emailed and asked to set up their coffee meeting. This coffee hour is an easy way to network and build connections with both people you already know as well as those in other departments. In companies and organizations, the pairs could be lateral matches as well as matches containing people at different levels which could lead to potential mentor pairs. Marlo decided to set up these meetings approximately once a month, for a total of 8 months a year (no meetings during holiday and summer months).

Interested in meeting more graduate students at your university? Try setting up a similar program and let us know how it goes!