Breaking through the Glass Ceiling


In a recent women’s forum I attended, several women mentioned how they encountered the glass ceiling and how they didn’t realize it until it was too late.  This glass ceiling commonly reflects a metaphor representing an invisible barrier that keeps women from rising beyond a certain level or hierarchy.  Perhaps, some of you may have experienced this while advancing in your careers and/or education pursuits.

In its description, the glass ceiling, is referred as something so transparent yet constraintive in passing through, particularly for women. As a result from this forum and other sources, I have highlighted several general strategies for women to combat this effect throughout their careers.

*Gain and maintain a supportive network

It is imperative for women to gain support from peers and other women who have perhaps tapped on the glass ceiling.  If you are able to become a part of managerial network, that would also be recommend.  Both women and men can be great allies and a part of your support network.

*Support and/or initiate workplace zero tolerance policies

Ensure awareness of bias or discrimination occurrences in the workplace and support zero tolerance for your companies whether it includes trainings and/or disciplinary actions.  In this regard, you can also be apart of recruitment policies as well as fair/equal salary negotiations whether on your own behalf or your peers.

*Do not be afraid to start your own companies

You can effectively promote fair environments and diversity driven initiatives by creating your own business and companies.  Also, women owned business could be another option when considering employers to work for and with for innovative collaborations.

Fellow GradSWEsters know change may be happening whether it may feel at a glacial pace, but it is happening. Be fierce in reaching your career goals and know you too can bring about real change in the workplace.  Efforts further advocating this shattering ceilings and other boundaries spirit can be continued with your attendance at we18.   This year’s conference in Minneapolis, MN USA carries the theme of Let’s Break Boundaries and you can be sure more topics similar to breaking the glass ceiling will be highlighted for women engineers breaking boundaries in their careers and beyond.




Embracing A New Season!

Spring is in the air, well for some of us.

This month kicked off the March Equinox and in the Earth’s northern hemisphere this marks a new season, Spring.  Similarly, this commemorates the opposite season in the southern hemisphere, Autumn. With the new seasons in bloom, this can commonly bring along shifts or new trajectories.  Hopefully this season brings trajectories toward setting new goals or completing remaining tasks over the next few months.

To stay inspired and fully bloom this Spring or to have a great Autumn harvest, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

*Set and maintain your deadlines
Keep a tab on things with deadlines. Many of your assignments or projects already have due date, but you can incorporate an internal deadline or schedule for yourself to ensure you complete them on time. Also, you can stay accountable with a peer on your progress and on your timetable for completing goals.

*Keep an eye on the big picture
Stay encouraged that you are making progress and congratulate progress whether it is in big leaps or small steps.   Take a recollection of where you are in working toward your project tasks and stay aligned in the grand scheme of things.  Keep a tab on the small steps that are adding toward the big picture. You are moving forward!!

*Use available resources/support
Make sure you use the resources around you to help propel you this season. If you are working on tasks as a group, make sure all parties are actively doing there part.  Most universities contain departments or centers, whether its a writing center or tutoring lab, that serve as sources of assistance to help students complete assignments or projects.  Be sure to make use of these resources as they are there to serve you.  You can also have a friend review something or provide you with candid feedback on your ideas, if needed. You can even make use of your GradSWE community to get insight on your efforts.

And last, but not least…

*Reward yourself
Work Hard. Play Hard. Make sure you reward yourself for progress you are making toward your project tasks and career goals.   Several of you may have the delegated traditions of “spring break” at your institutions.  Take advantage of this if you can in some way whether you select one day to sleep in, take a road trip or try that new sport
activity. Or you can officially schedule a few days off to have a spring vacation and just relax. This time “off” can assist in rejuvenating you to complete the remaining goals at hand. You can even use this time to check out the latest podcasts and gain other SWEetful insight to help propel you forward.

Go ahead and spring forward or fall into action this season!

Embracing Diversity & Encouraging Inclusiveness

As February rolls by, I was contemplating the acknowledgements of diverse scientist and engineers as this month also shines as Black History Month. In our engineering workplace environments, we may witness the lack of diversity as women and perhaps
more apparent for women of color. With this being said, I want to encourage you all to embrace diversity and each others uniqueness as that is imperative to solving the world’s most compelling engineering problems.

With the recent action-pack theatrical blockbuster Black Panther, we were exposed to a diverse world of unparalleled technological advances and intelligent women engineers. Even though this was a fictional story brought to life through film, this was enlightening to shimmer light on engineering inclusiveness.

Furthermore, SWE serves as an advocate for engineering inclusiveness with promoting diversity and inclusion in engineering globally which has been revealed in their connections in various organizations including World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO).  Engagement with these various organizations enables explorations of possible platforms for developing resources that would help employers to change corporate culture specifically with diversity concerns and ideally increase the retention of women working in the STEM fields.

You too can join in these initiatives with GradSWE by developing or inspiring sessions for WE18 and joining in the efforts of creating diversity and inclusion allies. Feel free to connect with our SWE’s affinity groups and/or reach our diversity and inclusion liaison at with additional ideas or suggestions.
Be sure to check out this month’s SWE’s Black History Month Featured Story here and more recent content on SWE’s Diversity & Inclusion updates.

A SWEet Start to the New Year!

Happy 2018 to All!

It is a new year which can indicate new beginnings or a fresh start on resolutions and/or goals.  There is no time like the present to get started on all the things you may have considered or thought about last year or even in the last few weeks.

In this regard, it is a new year to consider graduate school and/or maximize your graduate school experience.  SWE expands further on these graduate school resources including strategies throughout your graduate school journey, steps in applying and funding sources to consider in graduate school.

Speaking of funding sources, its a new year to apply for SWE scholarships .  The SWE scholarship application system for the 2018-2019 academic year is officially open and scholarships are available for freshmen through graduate student levels.  Scholarship applications, particularly for graduate students, are due February 15th.  So make sure you submit an application today!

This new year also brings new opportunities to network at WE Locals.  WE Local conferences brings together participants in all stages of their collegiate and/or professional journeys with a host of professional development workshops, inspirational speakers, networking opportunities and outreach activities.  With WE Local Tulsa just wrapping up, the next couple ones approaching are WE Local Phoenix and WE Local Milwaukee.  Check out the upcoming WE Local schedule to identify the next one, near you!

And 2018 is also a new year to be recognized for your efforts and a chance to acknowledge the works of others with SWE Individual Awards.  Nominations are currently open to advance and honor the contributions of SWE members and individuals enhancing the engineering profession through contributions to industry, education and the community. Be sure to check out the latest information on the SWE Individual Awards and make your nominations by the March 31st deadline.

Go ahead and take those steps into new opportunities, maximizing experiences and reaching resolutions this year.  Make it a SWEet start in the New Year!


Still time to savor 2017, GradSWE & You

As 2017 comes to an end, many people often look back over the year and reflect.  This refection period can also cause people to consider missed opportunities and even in some cases -their regrets.
When it comes to GradSWE, several of you may consider opportunities you did not serve or participate such as meetings, conferences or presentations.  With that being said I want to highlight ways you can still get involved in this last week of 2017.
A few options for you to consider include:
Joining the GradSWE Leadership Team -*Call for Graduate Programming Coordinator (GPC) -Elect*
If you are looking for an exciting opportunity to join the GradSWE leadership team and specifically work alongside the current GPC organizing graduate student focused events at the annual conference, then this opportunity is for you!  Apply here by December 31st!
Volunteering Opportunities
GradSWE and SWE always welcomes volunteers for various tasks including the request for judges for SWE Scholarships available in the spring.  For more information, click here.
Becoming A Mentor
If you are interested in growing the next generation of women engineers and/or have professional experiences you’d like to share with graduate students following a similar career path, the GradSWE mentoring program is for you!  You can sign up here and for more questions/clarifications, feel free to email our mentoring coordinators at
Staying up to date on Webinars and Podcasts
You can still gain access to informative webinars and podcasts to get encouraged as well as gain the necessary tools as you prepare toward the year ahead.
Attending Upcoming Events
You can prepare for upcoming events such as WE Local Tulsa, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Portland and Providence.  And for members interested in sharing your research, the 2018 Collegiate Competitions for both WE Local Portland and Providence are now accepting online abstract submissions.  The abstract submission deadlines for WE Local Portland and Providence are January 12, 2018 and January 26, 2018.   Be sure to sign up and share your innovative research efforts with the SWE community.
Stay connected for the latest WE Local events updates including other involvement opportunities such as conference volunteer and/or presenter openings.
GradSWEsters, there is still time to get engaged and work toward your goals!  Savor the remainder of the year 2017 and even get started on your 2018 ambitions today!

You are NOT a Failure: Just Lessons are Learned

Recently, I contemplated the idea of failure. Its such as daunting word and one which many people would rather not acknowledge. Commonly, failure can be regarded as not succeeding or omission in a task or one’s goal. And honestly, who would actually like to admit that?

However, I encourage you all to consider failures or mistakes as a step toward your success. When we fail or rather not succeed in our goal, lessons are learned and options can be crossed off. This typically will leave you in a better position to succeed going forward. Some regard failures as stepping stones for greatness and regarded as a step in which you simply fail gracefully. Embrace the mistakes and things along your path that makes your adventure your own!  Do not take it personally!  If your idea or goal was not a success, it should not equate to you being deemed as a failure.

Remember to continue to move forward -get back on the horse or back in the game! This can also create a moment of gratitude in knowing what did not work and going forward with an improved direction. You can be thankful and proud that you took that step of courage. Be excited about that move you did make even though it may have not  turned out as expected.   Know you gave it your best effort and made it that far as other people may not have been able to reach it to that step.

I say all this to hopefully encourage you all, but also highlight that in your future steps and path, you can take advantage of not only your GradSWE network, but our larger SWE family.  Our SWE membership consist of a talented range of women who could provide you guidance or insight on your paths ahead -do not be afraid to network!

Also, be sure to keep a look out for webinars & podcasts announcements, which can cover a range of topics whether considering graduate school, starting a business or transitioning careers. For more information on previous GradSWE webinars, click here! Also, if you have a relevant topic you would like to discuss for a webinar, click here!

As 2017 is winding now, be fearless and take those chances exploring new and exciting opportunities! You are stronger than you think -stay encouraged GradSWEsters!

Being Social Media Savvy!

So much excitement is in the air with we17 just around the corner!

With that being said as Social Media Chair, I just wanted to share a few tips for being smart and savvy on your social media networks. As networking is a huge part of we17, there is great possibility that you can meet your future employers, business colleagues and intellectual collaborators. With our technology advancing world, you can be sure that many people will view your social media profile, posts, tweets, videos, pictures and more to learn as much as they can about you.  In this case, being aware of your social media presence or rather what it says about you is pretty important for building your brand and/or reputation.

So a few general tips in putting your best foot forward are as follows:

Convey your Aims/Interests
Your media outlets serve as representation of you and your interests, goals and personality.  Be sure what you want to show to future collaborators or colleagues are represented, you never know who is looking at your tweets, profile or posts. You can even have a friend or two browse over your profiles and websites to help give opinions on your material if your message comes across and even if it may or may not be appropriate.

Be Selective on Photos
You know there is a saying “A picture is worth 1000 words”, so be sure the best pictures are present conveying the best message you want representing you. Definitely enjoy life, but be cautious about what you share (in which this could also be a matter of understanding your privacy/sharing settings). In this digital world we live in, we can
be sure we are judged by the company we keep and what we post. Be visible, but you may not want to show everything (pun intended).  Be aware what the public sees can be interpreted as a reflection of you and your lifestyle.

Being active, showing well rounded personality/likability
If you have an account established, go ahead and use it! Be sure to highlight the good stuff in your life which can include academics such as those publications and research presentations as well as the not so academic such as that chorus performance or home run you hit out of the park. Enjoy your browsing and like or tag articles/posts or other things you agree with and/or support, but again be conscious that it can be interpreted as a representation of your beliefs/values.

These are just a few tips to get you started. There are many many more tips available out there and some sources can even provide specific feedback depending on which social media outlet is being used.  Be sure and do your homework, GradSWEsters!

Happy and Smart Posting! And for many of you, see you in Austin, TX!