Grad Member Spotlight: Celine Liong

19 September 2016


Celine Liong

PhD student, Bioengineering, expected graduation June 2019

Stanford University


Celine helped to start her undergrad (University of California San Diego) SWE chapter’s first Team Tech team. She also helped in piloting the engineering school’s first overnight stay program where UCSD SWE members hosted newly admitted high school students so that they could learn more about the opportunities at UCSD’s engineering and how SWE can serve as a resource.

Celine has been awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG), the Stanford Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE)-STEM Fellowship, the UCSD Boeing-IDEA center scholarship, the San Diego SWE continuing student scholarship, and the UCSD SWE-California Space Grant Consortium Research Scholarship. Congratulations, Celine, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!


What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

Bioengineering PhD at Stanford. I expect to graduate June 2019.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
I work on electronic skin, a flexible and stretchable electronic device designed to mimic the tactile sensing of real human skin. I hope to apply e-skin to treat phantom limb pain. E-skin can be used to create active neural prostheses so amputees have a sense of touch and a way to treat nerves that are randomly firing. 

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I hope to work in industry R&D in the future, focusing on wearable electronics that have therapeutics or diagnostic applications. 

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I like to run, rock climb, and cycle. I also like to bake and take advantage of sunny California weather either by going to the beach or reading outside.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I’ve never watched Lord of the Rings.

Grad Member Spotlight: Bridget Hegarty

5 September 2016


Bridget Hegarty

PhD student, Environmental Engineering, expected graduation May 2018

Yale University


As an outreach chair for three years at her undergraduate institution, Cornell University, Bridget facilitated numerous engineering outreach events.  Since coming to grad school, she founded the Yale section of GradSWE, served as a grad student advisor to undergrad SWE, and helped to facilitate Yale’s recent application to become an official SWE section. Bridget is currently the president of Yale SWE and is working to increase SWE’s presence on campus.

Bridget was a chair for the event which won the Outreach MOU Partnership Award while she was at Cornell, she was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship as well as the Community Service Award from the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Congratulations, Bridget, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!


What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

If all my research stars align, I expect to graduate in May 2018 with a PhD in Environmental Engineering.


Give a brief explanation of your research.

I am working to develop gene-network models in cyanobacteria.  We will use these models to guide the genetic engineering of mutant strains of cyanobacteria capable of producing biofuel-precursor molecules at levels sufficient for industrial applications.


What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

My answer varies with the day.  While most of the time, I respond that “I want to become a professor,” I am still exploring and am also considering careers in academic administration and STEM outreach.


What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I travel whenever I have the opportunity; I am a voracious reader and an avid photographer.


What’s a fun fact about you?

I will be testing for my black belt in taekwondo within the next year.

Grad Member Spotlight: Ana Ramekar

22 Aug 2016


Ana Ramekar

MS Candidate, Aerospace Engineering, expected graduation December 2016

University of Maryland, College Park

Ana has served SWE on a local level throughout the Baltimore-Washington Section as the Workshop Host for “Transitioning from School to Industry ‘Backpacks to Briefcases'” and “Communication with Confidence”. She has been a Professional Development Committee member for the “Aspire To Lead” event and a Professional SWE Liaison to University of Maryland as well as the SWE Social Committee Co-Chair. Ana has been nominated for the SWE Emerging Engineer and has been awarded the Women in Color Award and the Region E Professional Development Event Award for the Aspire to Lead event.


What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

Aerospace Engineering MS candidate, January 2014- December 2016



Give a brief explanation of your research.

My research topic studies protruding aerodynamic shapes and other obstacles to better understand the aircraft performance cost and drag penalty. I’m essentially performing an aerodynamic trade study of obstacles in multiple configurations using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The results are useful to aircraft designers and planners who make decisions on where to install certain aerodynamic fairings or antennas on aircraft.


What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

I’ve realized some of the best engineering outcomes are achieved when there are few barriers between the different disciplines on project. I want to apply the skills and knowledge learned in my degree to contribute to a multidisciplinary team and make an exceptional aircraft design. Specifically I want to make Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools more accessible earlier in aircraft design process to other ‘non-aerospace’ engineering teams, such as mechanical, structural and systems engineering teams.


What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I cherish every moment I get to spend alone. I enjoy photography, drawing and being active. Two years ago took a plunge and enrolled in a yoga teacher training program and immediately started teaching at the campus gym when I got my certification. I taught a 7 am course and tried to help fellow students and undergraduates feel good about being dedicated to their health and setting aside time for quiet reflection. It was a very rewarding experience!


What’s a fun fact about you?

I learned to windsurf in the Gunpowder River where I live and pilot a Cessna 172 aircraft so I can attempt to intuitively understand aerodynamic forces and how they dynamically interact with lifting surfaces like sails and wings. At least that’s what I tell myself…

Grad Member Spotlight: Jordan Rutledge

8 Aug 2016

Jordan Rutledgeheadframe

MS candidate, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, expected summer 2016

Colorado School of Mines

Jordan says she is, “lucky to be a member of the largest SWE collegiate chapter here at the Colorado School of Mines.” She says her favorite events to be involved with have been Up ‘Til Dawn to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research and Girl Scout Badge Day. Jordan has also been involved with Evening with Industry, where students get to meet and have dinner with female mentors just before Career Day on campus. During graduate school, Jordan volunteered with the Denver School of Science and Technology, a specialized STEM middle school that focuses on underprivileged students in Denver, where she was a science and math tutor and mentored several science fair projects. Jordan has also served as the Vice President for her department’s graduate women’s group, WiMMN (Women in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Materials Science, and Nuclear). This club welcomes all graduate students and focuses on a wide range of graduate life including professional development, career planning, financial planning, stress management.
Jordan has been awarded the Mary and Charles Cavanaugh Memorial Award, the H.L. Hazen Award in Process Metallurgy, the Most Outstanding Service Award Blue Key, and placed 3rd in the poster competition at the 2016 Society of Mining Metallurgy and Exploration Annual Conference. Congratulations, Jordan, on all your accomplishments! Keep up the great work!
What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?
I’m completing a Masters of Science in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in the Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy. I expect to finish my thesis and graduate in the summer of 2016.
Give a brief explanation of your research.
My research is on using tannins as a depressant for copper sulfide flotation applications. Copper metal is primarily produced from ore, where it is mined, crushed, put through a flotation circuit, smelted, and finally refined into pure copper. Flotation is the process where the copper is first concentrated, and it’s best described as a bubble bath for minerals. In the flotation cell the ore is introduced with chemicals and air, and is agitated. Different types of reagents (collectors, depressants, modifiers, frothers) are used to create the perfect conditions for separating copper from the rest of the minerals. With the right collector, the valuable copper minerals will become hydrophobic and cling to air bubbles going to the surface. Depressants like tannins are used to depress other minerals in the ore.
What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I will be working for Silvateam, the company that sponsored my thesis, as a technical support and sales associate.  This job will let me visit mines around the world and apply tannins to different operations. Ultimately I would like to have a teaching position at some point in my career, but for now I’m eager to learn and explore the field.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I grew up in Colorado and was lucky enough to start snow sports when I was young, so you’ll typically find me snowboarding all winter. I love to travel and take every opportunity to see somewhere new.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I’ve been to 5 continents and 26 countries, here’s to exploring!

Grad Member Spotlight: Astha Khanna

25 July 2016


Astha Khanna

PhD Student, Bioengineering, expected graduation May 2017

Clemson University


Astha has served as the professional Outreach chair of the Society of Women Engineers for the academic year 2015-16. During her tenure, she was very actively involved in raising around $600 to sponsor registration fee and travel of Clemson SWE members to attend the WE15. Astha was involved in organizing info-sessions conducted by representatives from GE Healthcare and Deloitte consulting on tailoring resumes and preparing for co-ops, internships and full-time positions. Astha has served as the Vice-President of the Clemson Bioengineering Society as well mentoring Bioengineering undergraduates in designing biomedical devices.

Astha has served also as the President of the International Student Association at Clemson University for the academic year 2015-16 for which she conducted dialogue sessions to address the academic and professional needs and concerns of graduate population at Clemson. As President, she organized the sponsorship of 10 female graduate students at Clemson to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference. held at Clemson in Feb 2015.

Astha was a finalist of the Three minute thesis contest held at Clemson University in Mar 2015. She was nominated for the Outstanding Women Graduate Student Award in Clemson University in Feb 2016 for outstanding academic accomplishments and multiple leadership roles. Astha was awarded a professional enrichment grant (PEG) by Clemson University Graduate School in April 2015 to present my research at the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) conference held in Charlotte, NC in April 2015. She was appreciated as the Best Moderator in the Clemson University Bioengineering departmental seminar sessions in spring 2015.

Astha has been featured in the the Clemson newspaper, awarded the Community Impact Medal at Clemson University, and featured as a research presenter at the Society for Biomaterials annual meeting held in Charlotte, NC in April 2015. She was an invited presenter at the Southeastern Medical Device Association annual meeting held in March 2015, where her research was highlighted as a top 20 technologies from young companies and university labs. Congratulations, Astha, on all your accomplishments! Keep up the great work!


What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

I’m currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Bioengineering at Clemson University. I expect to graduate in May 2017.

Having earned 96 credit hours at Clemson University with a GPA of 3.72, I have published my doctoral research in several conference proceedings, have completed 2 certifications on 1. Technology Entrepreneurship from Clemson University where I specialized in areas of medical device commercialization, advanced leadership and project management and 2. Bio-compatibility of Medical Devices from NAMSA (by virtue of which I’m a biological safety specialist trained on ASTM and ISO protocols to assess biocompatibility of medical devices. I’m currently enrolled in a certificate in Engineering and Science and Education issued by Clemson University which completely aligns with my passion for teaching after getting a doctorate. I have demonstrated attainment of knowledge from diverse areas and thus evolving into a well-rounded individual with a record of academic achievements and leadership roles.


Give a brief explanation of your research.

My doctoral dissertation is on designing biocompatible coatings for vascular devices. I’m currently working on designing a coating of human serum albumin, a natural blood protein for its potential to shield adsorption of adhesive proteins and platelets in the blood making it promising in preventing the incidence of thrombosis (blood clot formation within the blood vessels). Human albumin coating fabricated using our technology has been also shown to mitigate the hyperplasia of smooth muscle cells which is a major complication post a stent implantation and bypass graft surgery.


What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

After completing my Ph.D., I hope to work as an assistant professor in bioengineering. My passion for teaching interests me to work in academia and embark on a career in education.  I have been the head teaching assistant/ lab instructor for the course biochemistry laboratory techniques in Clemson university for the past 9 semesters. I have also been a biomedical device design mentor to undergraduates in the dept. of bioengineering for 3 semesters for which I mentor students in identification of clinical need, device design and testing, budget and market analysis and regulatory approval. The teaching experience has been fulfilling and insightful for me. The great evaluations that I receive every semester from my students bolsters my passion for teaching after getting a doctorate.


What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

  1. Listening to music
  2. Reading articles on spirituality and astrology (I like studying/unravelling the deep mysteries/secrets of the universe that we don’t know about).
  3. Cooking delicious food (I’m a big foodie!)
  4. Having fun conversations with friends


What’s a fun fact about you?

Fun Fact: If you ever want to make me happy, just feed me. I’m a big foodie, I can keep eating the whole day and never get tired from eating. People eat to live but I live to eat.

Grad Member Spotlight: Lainy Dromgoole Cochran

11 July 2016

IMG_1162 cropped

Lainy Dromgoole Cochran

MS student, Nuclear Engineering, estimated graduation of Aug 2016

Texas A&M



Lainy served in four different officer positions for the Texas A&M SWE section, including President her senior year. This year Texas A&M started their own GradSWE group, and she has helped contribute to that effort by serving as the GradSWE membership coordinator. As an undergraduate, SWE helped her find my place within a large engineering community at Texas A&M. Lainy says, she “…didn’t realize until I was a grad student that the collegiate experience is different in grad school, and I am so happy that the Texas A&M SWE section is working to accommodate the different needs of grad students by forming and growing GradSWE. I am looking forward to the next phase of my SWE involvement as a professional!” Lainy interned at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria for a year before starting graduate school and has received a fellowship from the Health Physics Society. Congrats, Lainy, on all your hard work. Keep it up!
What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?
I am a MS student studying nuclear engineering. I plan to graduate in August of this year.
Give a brief explanation of your research.
My research seeks to enhance emergency response exercises by using unsealed radioactive sources to simulate a more realistic response environment following an incident involving the dispersion of radioactive material. Limited exercises are performed worldwide using unsealed radioactive sources, and most of that information is not published. My research presents the process for selection of a short-lived radionuclide for use in exercises at the TEEX Disaster City facility at Texas A&M, and includes a preliminary dose assessment to determine what activities should be used for each radionuclide in order to have detectable dose rates while ensuring that doses received by exercise controllers and participants are kept as low as reasonably achievable.
What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
My primary interest within the field of nuclear engineering is health physics, or the science of radiation protection. Later this year I will start working for Sandia National Laboratories in support of their nuclear incident response program. I am looking forward to honing my technical skills as a health physicist. Once I have done that, I am interested in working on nuclear-related policy. I have always found the nexus of technology and policy very interesting.
What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
In the free time I can find that isn’t dedicated to SWE or other engineering organizations, I enjoy relaxing with my husband, playing musical instruments, and baking. To balance the baking, my other “hobby” is jogging with our labrador, Josie.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I have worked at or visited six nuclear power plants, including two outside of the country. I enjoy a little nuclear tourism!

Newsletter – 28 June 2016

Hello Grad Community!

SWE’s FY16 ends on 30 June, and so does my tenure as Graduate Member Coordinator. Thank you all for such a fantastic year! It has been an honor serving the Graduate Community. Check out my reflection on the blog for some amazing numbers on the impact we’ve had this year —

As of 1 July, Liz Dreyer will become the Graduate Member Coordinator. I look forward to seeing the Grad Community grow even more!

Summer has arrived! Congratulations to all those who have graduated and moved on to greener pastures! Good luck to those continuing to pursue their degrees. The Grad Community Leadership Team hopes that you find the resources we offer to be of use. If you ever have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing

Please be sure to forward this to other graduate students, or those who are supportive of women getting advanced STEM degrees!

In this newsletter:

  1. Collegiate Leadership Institute
  2. Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering (ALWE)
  3. Grad Community Spotlights
  4. Book your WE16 room now!
  5. Follow us on Social Media!


(1) Collegiate Leadership Institute
We invite interested collegiate and graduate members to apply for the Collegiate Leadership Institute, hosted at the WE16 Annual Conference in Philadelphia on October 27-29. CLI will span three days with six highly-interactive sessions. Sessions will start at 9 am and run throughout the morning on Thursday 10/27, Friday 10/28, and Saturday 10/29. All of the speakers and facilitators selected for CLI are noted experts in leadership and career development.

This is a free opportunity for you, so don’t hesitate to apply. A modest stipend for travel/accommodations will be distributed to CLI attendees.

*** RCT members (RCR, RCCE, RCS, SWEFL) are automatically accepted to CLI and need not apply through this application. ***

Please submit your application by Friday, July 8, at 11:59 pm PST. Applicants will be notified by mid-August.

Please contact with any questions.  (application)


(2) Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering (ALWE)

The overarching purpose of ALWE is to give female academics in engineering departments an introduction to the tangible skills and knowledge needed to pursue and gainfully acquire institutional leadership positions at a university.

Participants in the program will experience two-full days and six interactive sessions that will provide best practices to advance in academia while creating opportunities and mechanisms to network across institutions. To that end, the objectives of ALWE are as follows:

Recognize the various roles associated with holding leadership positions within academia.

  • Learn strategies and tools to advance in leadership roles within academia.
  • Learn negotiation skills to use in pursuing institutional leadership positions.
  • Expand an existing network of women in academia.
  • Support a community of practice focused on similar goals and faced with similar challenges.
  • Dates:  October 28 – 29, 2016
  • Time:  8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.
  • Location:  WE16 – Philadelphia, PA
  • Check out the tentative agenda.

Check out more information and apply for the program at


(3) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the most recent Spotlights?

Maria Choi, PhD (13 June 2016)

Alexandra Long (27 June 2016)

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here:


(4) Book your WE16 room now!

Now is the time to start thinking about your plans for WE16.  You can book your hotel, sign up to be notified when conference registration is live, and more at

Sign up to volunteer for WE16! It’s a great way to give back to the conference that gives so much, and you get a discounted registration rate!  More at


(5) Follow us on social media!

Facebook page:


As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at!


Katharine Brumbaugh Gamble, PhD

FY16 Graduate Member Coordinator | Society of Women Engineers