WE17 – Record Numbers!

This year at WE17 we had a record number of attendees.  Please check out a blog post by one of our GradSWE members, Josa Hanzlik. She explores the increase of male attendees at WE17.

Also, please feel free to reach out to us with your thoughts about the conference!


Creating Your Mentoring Network

A mentoring network is your group of mentors. When you are considering a major career or life decision, having a group of mentors that share their thoughts and advice is critical. Often we start mentoring relationships but do not always keep them active. One mentoring relationship I have kept active for over 10 years is with my master’s advisor. I took her biomaterials class in 2006 and since then have kept in touch through email and phone conversations.

How to Keep the Mentors You Have

If you already have mentors, it is important to keep in contact with them. Most mentors are understanding that you are busy and will email or call when you want to talk. It’s good to email them every 3-6 months with an update on your career and if you are comfortable, your personal life. My emails generally talk about my current job, if I am considering a switch in careers and an update about my daughter who just turned one. Consider the mentors you have now, when was the last time you contacted them?

What Types of Mentors Do You Need

For the mentors you already have, what are their careers? Are you considering a career move soon, going to graduate school or moving somewhere else?

If you find you have a lack of mentors in the career path you are interested in, it’s time to find new mentors. Recently, I am deciding if I want to stay in industry or pursue an assistant professor job. It became clear that those paths require different mentors.

How to Find Mentors

Finding mentors can be difficult. There are programs you can enroll in. I have found success in meeting mentors through classes, research, events, etc.  GradSWE has a mentoring program, if you are interested, find the links below to join. You can reach out to people within your network.  You can network and find new mentors. See the link below to a blog post about how to network.

How Many Mentors Do You Need

The number of mentors each person needs can vary. Currently, I have 25 mentors that cover academia (10), industry (10), retired and other (5).  You can really have mentors that span any industry, age, demographic, etc. I also include in that total, peer mentors that are similar in age but also have great advice. One of my mentors is retired and she was extremely successful in the business sector. Her field is very different from my own, but she gives great advice about work/life balance and working in a male-dominated field. So how many mentors do you really need? You want enough diverse mentors to give you a good sampling of careers and feedback, however not too many that you cannot maintain the relationships.

Attending WE17? – Check out these events

  • SWE Mentoring Session Thursday, October 26th 4:30-5:30 PM (ACC –  Room 7)
  • GradSWE Reception Friday, October 27th 5-6:30 PM (MARR – Brazos)
  • GradSWE Mentoring Meet-up 6:30-?? (Meet at MARR-Brazos)


Networking Where to Start


GradSWE Mentoring Program

For Mentors:


For proteges:


How to Make the Most of Your Mentoring Relationship

You finally have found a mentor through a program or strategic networking. Now what?

The first thing you want to do in set goals for the relationship. The goals could be anything:1) emailing the mentor every month, 2) discussing career options or 3) even just ask a new open ended question monthly.

Once you have your goals, it is time to introduce yourself and share your goals. Communication in the mentoring relationship is critical. As the protege, it is your job to email your mentor. It is better to communicate with your mentor in the beginning of the relationship. If you are only going to email them when a problem arises, tell them that!

Suggested Questions

We have compiled a list of suggested questions to keep the conversation going.

  • How did you land your current role?
  • If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult boss? How did you handle it?
  • How did you learn to embrace failure?
  • What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how is it valuable
  • What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?

State of Mentoring Program

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a relationship between two individuals (mentor and protege) based on a mutual desire for development towards career goals and objectives.

Why is mentoring important?

When a professional issue arises, having a mentor allows you a safe place to discuss the issue. Mentors can serve as a resource for proteges. Mentoring is proven to keep women in engineering. As women, we are often the minority in a male dominated field.

GradSWE Mentoring Program – What is it?

The GradSWE mentoring program matches proteges and mentors. We are currently revamping the program to include an online community and weekly emails about mentoring and other career topics. We’d like this program to set women in engineering up for success, and allow others to give back to the engineering community.

What do we do?

Our goal is to grow the support system for GradSWE participants. We will match proteges and mentors on a rolling basis.  We will send out content to participants regularly on helpful topics, such as the value of mentoring and how to mentor or use a mentor. We will track our progress with participants, participant experience, and participant retention in an engineering field.

What do you do?

If you are already enrolled in the program, sit back and get ready for the revamped program. To join as a protege or mentor, contact us as shown below! We’re also always looking for ways to improve the program. Send us your thoughts!

Mentoring program email – gradswementoring@gmail.com

Joining mentoring program – You must fill out the form by August 4th 2017 to be matched in this round.

Mentor form – https://goo.gl/forms/BquyV6ez1fvGRqB43

Protege form – https://goo.gl/forms/BXTYWIjV8Dj2OC6k2