Welcome to FY20!

Hi, my name is Ceci Klauber and I am the new FY20 Graduate Member Coordinator (GMC)! In this role, I work with the rest of the Grad Leadership Team to foster a strong community and network for graduate students in SWE by supporting new and continuing programming, facilitating communication between graduate students in SWE and SWE graduate student groups, and representing the interests of graduate students to the Society. 

In serving as Graduate Member Coordinator Elect last year I truly enjoyed working with the amazing grad students and young professionals who choose to use their precious free time to embody the mission and values of SWE, both at the society and section level. Y’all are amazing! 


Carolyn Chlebek (FY19 GMC) and I receiving a SWE Mission Award – Silver on behalf of the SWE Graduate Community at WE18 in Minneapolis.

Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from the last year and look forward to what FY20 has in store!

Highlights from FY19

-The Mentoring Program expanded to include graduate student mentoring of undergraduate students! Many of you volunteered to share your grad experiences and the new program was a success – enrolling over 100 undergraduates!

-We rolled out a new format for sharing our learning content – YouTube videos! If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out How to Create a Personal Website for Self-Promotion and Social Media for Self-Promotion today! We even shared tips on how to plan an event for your grad group around the videos- check out our Event Protocol Database for more details.

-We increased our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) efforts with informative blog posts about inclusion in engineering education and gender expansive engineering and a reading group. Our FY19 D&I Liaison also had the opportunity to speak at a SWE Hawaiian Islands event on underrepresented genders. You can read more about the experience on the blog!

What to Look Forward to in FY20

-WE19 planning is in full force! Keep an eye out for details on the Graduate Member Meeting, Networking Reception and Social – we’d love to meet you in person in Anaheim, CA. We will also be promoting sessions presented by graduate students, on topics such as mentoring and resiliency, and an ASEE SafeZone diversity training workshop. Consider applying for the Collegiate Leadership Institute or ALWE also!

-Have you seen the fresh new look of our newsletter? The new platform allows us to use multimedia within our emails and provides us with neat analytics that will inform future improvements to how we communicate with the GradSWE community.

-We are excited to continue well-received programming such as professional and personal development through webinars, YouTube videos, and the Mentoring Program. We are also excited to continue growing our D&I, globalization, and professional student outreach efforts.  We’ve got a great team this year!

What were your highlights of FY19? What do you hope to see from the GradSWE Leadership Team in the upcoming year? Let us know in the comments!


Cecilia Klauber is a PhD student at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and the FY20 SWE Graduate Member Coordinator.


Graduate Member Spotlight: Isabella Sanders

Isabella Sanders
Industrial Engineering
Georgia Tech

Isabella was recently selected as the new Graduate Programming Coordinator Elect for the GradSWE Leadership Team, where she will work on facilitating graduate programming at WE19 and WE20. For the past two years she has served as the Graduate SWE Leader in the Georgia Tech SWE Section. She led the effort in rebuilding a strong Grad SWE leadership team at Georgia Tech. They hosted 10 industry, academic and social events in the last semester alone. She attended WE17 and was selected to attend the ALWE program at WE18. She really enjoyed those experiences and is looking forward to contributing to the conference experience in her new role! She recently won 1st place at the 2019 WE Local St. Louis Graduate Research Competition. The same weekend, Georgia Tech selected her as the 2019 Outstanding Graduate Student at the Women of Distinction Awards. Congratulations Isabella!

Research Topic: Fresh Supply Chains

Isabella’s research on fresh supply chains focuses on hyper connectivity and physical internet applications. She is currently working on projects concerning Fresh-Cut Flower Supply Chains and Market Deployment models for farm-to-table platforms.

She will be presenting her research at the IISE (Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers) annual conference in May, EURO (European Operations Research) Annual Conference in Dublin in June where she is an invited speaker, and IPIC (International Physical Internet Conference) in London in July. She is also on the planning committee for the Doctoral Colloquium for IPIC.

In her free time, Isabella enjoys swimming, running, baking and exploring Atlanta. Her favorite spots include the Georgia Aquarium and the beltline!

Fun Fact: Isabella was a D1 rower in college!


Isabella at the Georgia Aquarium!

WE Local season is in full swing!

WE Local season kicked off last week in Baltimore, Maryland!

Our very own Angelica Payne from the GradSWE Mentoring Team presented a session that was well received! Titled “A Case Study on Mentoring Millennials,” her presentation used experience from our mentoring program to share about how to identify mentoring topics of interest to proteges and participants left with resources and tactics for facilitating mentoring relationships.

WE Local in Tampa, Florida kicks off today and our WE Local Liaison, Kazi, is on site, assisting the local planning committee and participating in the collegiate competitions. If you’re attending, keep an eye out for her! Check out the hashtag #WELocal on Twitter and Instagram to follow the excitement for Tampa or any of the local conference.

If you are planning to go to Tampa or one of the other conferences, comment or share to facilitate grad student meet-ups! Our Graduate Programming Coordinator and Coordinator Elect, Mujan and Isabella, will be attending WE Local St Louis and I will be attending WE Local Bellevue – we’d love to meet you!

Want to be a part of the excitement? It’s still not too late to register!

St Louis (March 1-2, 2019, Registration Closes February 15!)
Denver (March 15-16, 2019)
Bellevue (April 5-6, 2019, Early Registration Ends March 8! Save $25!)
International Options (Bengaluru and Berlin)

Consider Contributing to WE19 in November!

If you have attended a SWE annual conference, hopefully, you have experienced the quality and diversity of sessions offered by the SWE community. Do you have experience or expertise that you want to share with your fellow women engineers? Consider getting more involved with this year’s SWE annual conference, WE19, by presenting a lecture, workshop, panel, or lightning talk. Your involvement is crucial to the success of WE19!

The deadline for submissions is March 18, 2019, so there is plenty of time to develop your own idea or connect and work with other SWE members to develop a session together. GradSWE will also be hosting an idea-sharing/brain-storming conference call next month for anyone that has an idea for a session or would like to get more involved. More details to come!

The WE19 Call For Participation has helpful information on what to consider as you develop your session and information on how your proposed session is evaluated (Title, Description, Learning Outcomes, and Speaker Qualifications).

Please contact gradsweprogramming@gmail.com with any questions or suggestions!

Registrations are Open for WE Locals. What to Expect in Your WE Local!

Did you know WE Local will travel to Baltimore, Tampa, St. Louis, Denver, and Bellevue in 2019? WE Local aims to bring together women in all stages of their collegiate and professional journey to experience the excitement, energy and learning environment of SWE’s professional and personal development events. WE Locals are the places for women in engineering to meet with like-minded individuals and become part of a network that is 40,000+ large. At WE Local, you could find your next life-long friend or mentor.

At WE Locals, women in engineering and technical fields as well as collegiate women studying engineering will have access to educational sessions, workshops and networking opportunities programmed to attract, educate and retain women in STEM. As a graduate student, don’t miss the opportunity to gain benefit in terms of networking, job opportunities, and professional connections during the WE Locals. Come and join with us for a WE local right next to you! Don’t hesitate to spread the word.

The career fair at WE Locals will feature engineering and technology organizations from the local area and surrounding region. Recruiters will be present to meet qualified job candidates and conduct interviews right onsite. Companies interested in recruiting at WE Local can download the prospectus for more information.

Register now for WE Local to Meet Locally, Learn Socially. Registration options include Premier Registration for access to the entire conference; Career Fair registration for access to the career fair only and Special Events Registration for access to the WE Achieve Awards Ceremony. Download WE Local Registration Rates for detailed registration instructions, including how to create a SWE Portal profile, click here. Due to compatibility, Firefox browser is not recommended for registration use.

Registration open for the upcoming WE Local 2019 conferences are:

WE Local Baltimore
February 8-9, 2019
Baltimore Convention Center

  • Early Registration Deadline: January 11, 2019
  • Regular Registration Deadline:  January 25, 2019

WE Local Tampa
February 15-16, 2019
Tampa Convention Center

  • Early Registration Deadline: January 18, 2019
  • Regular Registration Deadline:  February 1, 2019

WE Local St. Louis
March 1-2, 2019
Hilton at the Ballpark Downtown

  • Early Registration Deadline: February 1, 2019
  • Regular Registration Deadline: February 15, 2019

WE Local Denver
March 15-16, 2019
Renaissance Denver Stapleton

  • Early Registration Deadline: February 15, 2019
  • Regular Registration Deadline: March 1, 2019

WE Local Bellevue
April 5-6, 2019
Hilton Bellevue

  • Early Registration Deadline: March 8, 2019
  • Regular Registration Deadline: March 22, 2019

WE local conferences take place all over the world. Don’t forget to Register! For more information, visit welocal.swe.org. Questions about WE Local can be directed to welocal@swe.org. Come and join us for WE Local and know how it can help your future!

Grad Student Spotlight: Caymen Novak

Caymen Novak
Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan

Caymen Novak has been a committed member of SWE since her undergraduate studies at Oakland University, where she contributed as the Outreach Chair and President. Since beginning graduate school at the University of Michigan, she has gotten involved with their Graduate SWE group, again serving as the Outreach Chair from 2014-2018.

Caymen’s accolades also include the Marian Sarah Parker Prize for academic excellence, leadership qualities and outstanding contributions to the University and/or community and the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement. In addition to being a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, she has also received recognition through SWE, receiving scholarships in 2011 and 2015 and participating in the Rapid Fire Competition at WE18.

Caymen Novak

Caymen Novak, University of Michigan

Thesis Topic: The Effects of Mechanical Stimulation and ECM Stiffness on Ovarian Cancer Cell Phenotypes

Caymen investigates how different mechanical stimuli innate to the ovarian cancer micro-environment affect cancer progression and drug treatment response. The goal is to identify critical pathways that can be targeted in the future for better clinical outcomes.

After graduation, she would like to become a professor in biomedical engineering. Caymen has always loved teaching and is especially drawn to the opportunity it provides to connect with people.

Caymen enjoys running and artistic activities. She also teaches workout classes!

Fun Fact about Caymen: She can juggle but not well!

Graduate Member Spotlight: Jennifer DiStefano

Jennifer DiStefano
Ph.D. Candidate
Materials Science and Engineering
Northwestern University
Expected Graduation: 2020


Jennifer began her SWE career as an officer on the inaugural GradSWE board at Northwestern University three years ago. In her first position as Professional Development Chair, Jennifer introduced programming that has continued to this day, such as luncheons with women professors at Northwestern. Jennifer has been on the officer board since then; in fact, she now leads the GradSWE at Northwestern group. She is passionate about introducing STEM fields to girls at a young age, but also believes it is critical to nurture their interest in STEM while they look towards higher education and future careers. To that end, she is focusing on expanding the outreach and mentoring initiatives of GradSWE by making women graduate students visible and accessible to K-12 girls and undergraduate STEM students alike. Her SWE conference engagement includes presenting a workshop on elevator pitches at WE Local Milwaukee in 2017 and placing first at the Rapid Fire research presentation competition at WE18.

Jennifer is recognized as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow as well as a Northwestern International Institute of Nanotechnology Ryan Fellow.

Thesis Topic: 2D Material Nanocomposites

Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, 2D materials have drawn considerable interest for their potential in future electronics. These materials are ultra-thin – only a few atoms thick – and this reduced dimensionality leads to a host of properties not found in traditional electronic materials, including flexibility and transparency. Some of these atomically-thin materials are semiconductors, making them promising candidates for future electronic and optical applications, including solar cells and LED lighting. If these 2D semiconductors could be combined with other functional nanomaterials in nanocomposites, an even broader array of properties – and with that, future applications – would result.  Jennifer’s research focuses on exploring the formation and properties of new structures that combine 2D materials with other useful nanomaterials such as gold and silver.

After graduation, Jennifer is interested in a career in science policy or scientific consulting. Outside of work, she enjoys bird-watching (which Chicago is surprisingly good for!) in addition to reading and hiking.

Fun Fact: Jennifer is from a beautiful, but quite rural, part of Pennsylvania. So rural, in fact, that her high school had an annual “Drive Your Tractor to School Day,” in which several students inevitably participated.