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)

Links:

Networking Where to Start

https://josahanzlik.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/networking-where-to-start/

GradSWE Mentoring Program

For Mentors:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdWkIurIC5J1ESyBlC2XMRva2atRzZUhv70dErFUY44JdxIEA/viewform?c=0&w=1

For proteges:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScTTaLh7wGVYEXj8yeNgchCzdldEc9wf4o9-mIAcwY6FgOrEg/viewform?c=0&w=1

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Mentoring Program Updates

Hello Everyone!

Today’s blog is an update on the progress so far from our mentoring program!

Our initial survey was a hit – we had many graduate students indicate they were interested in having a mentor, and we were able to gauge what types of mentors people wanted.  We took this information/some feedback from our graduates and mentors that signed up initially, and we were able to narrow down some of the important aspects of mentor pairs from a graduate perspective.  As a result, we created two new surveys (these MUST be filled out in order to be assigned a mentor!):

 

For Mentors: https://goo.gl/forms/BquyV6ez1fvGRqB43

 

For Graduate Mentees: https://goo.gl/forms/BXTYWIjV8Dj2OC6k2

 

At this time, we are still low on mentors (especially in academia and government), so we are currently waiting for more mentors to sign up in order to pair students interested in these areas with a match!  If you know anyone who may be a good candidate to mentor for this program – please spread the word!  One of the things that impresses me the most about SWE is the ability to access such a huge network of dedicated people who are always willing to help build up our STEM community.  I have been able to access some great committees/ regions/ sections that have been very helpful in promoting this initiative to our membership!

The process of developing a mentoring program takes time to implement, since we are building this for the first time.  There will be another round of mentor pairings sent out within the week for mentor/mentee approval, but for some students with specific requests/ specialized fields, this process is taking a bit of time to find the right match.  I sincerely thank those that have signed up for their continued patience!

Some people have expressed interest in meeting and discussing this program/ meeting other people who have signed up at WE 16!  Though some mentors have set up lunch/ a meeting with their mentees already, another option for this is to join us at our GradSWE meeting on Thursday, October 27th from 10:15 AM to 12:00 PM and meet other students who are involved in mentoring!  We will also be setting up an online group in the near future for mentoring – so anyone who fills out this new survey will be sent the link to access the group if they so choose.  Remember, if you have not filled out the new survey above, you will not be assigned a mentor, or gain access to the mentoring group.

I want to thank you all for your positive feedback and kind words supporting this initiative.  I have received so many wonderful emails and personal stories about how mentoring has impacted people, and how excited people are about the opportunity to try mentoring/ being mentored through GradSWE!  I am so happy that as a result of this program, I am also able to get to know some of you on a personal level as well.   I  hope to get to meet many of you at WE 16!

 

Sincerely,

Genevieve

 

For questions or comments regarding the mentoring program, please email gradswementoring@gmail.com or grad-coordinator-elect@swe.org

Grad Member Spotlight: Celine Liong

19 September 2016

CelineLiong_Baogroup

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

Hegarty

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

IMG_4598

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!

New GradSWE Student Mentoring Program

Hello GradSWE Community!

My name is Genevieve Kane – and I’m proud to be your GMC-Elect this year!  For my first blog post, I wanted to talk to you about one of the ideas that I am spearheading and hoping to develop for the GradSWE Community – a mentoring program!

Mentoring can come in many different forms, which is something that I’ve personally learned and experienced throughout my academic career.  I remember the first time I was exposed to the idea of having a mentor was when I participated in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a pre-engineering program offered through my high school.  In this program, we had a class called Engineering Design and Development (EDD), which allowed a team of high school engineers to find something they thought was a problem, and come up with a unique, technical solution to that problem (that has never been used or patented).  Every group was assigned a mentor, who was there to guide the team to a successful end to their project.  I remember struggling with this concept – not knowing what questions I COULD ask, SHOULD ask, or what I should really discuss when I met with this very wise, professional engineer.  Thankfully, over the years I have been fortunate enough to keep in contact with this wise mentor, and many others, as I became a mentor myself in PLTW, overseeing EDD projects.

Even though I wasn’t comfortable with asking questions and seeking advice in high school, there came a time in my undergraduate education where I didn’t have a choice anymore.  I think we have all experienced that point in our career where we reach a point that we hit some barrier – be it academic, personal, etc.  In my case, it was a specific professor who spent an entire lecture discussing why girls weren’t good at science.  At that point, I had no other undergraduate females in my STEM major, and no one to really talk to about how that made me feel.  So, I walked upstairs and I showed up at the office door of one of my female professors.  I must have waited ten minutes in the hallway before I had the courage to knock, but when I did, she welcomed me into her office with open arms, ready and willing to listen to what happened to me, and express her distaste that these situations were still happening in schools.  I remember that she told me it wasn’t anything I did wrong – and that I was a perfectly fine student who just needed to keep going to the finish.  I did, and on occasion, I would stop by and chat with her to discuss my progress, or ask advice about things like careers, graduate school, or how to deal with some issues that came up that might be unique to women.

Thankfully, by graduate school, I became more comfortable with the idea of asking for guidance and help.  I’ve attended two graduate schools, and in both I’ve received amazing guidance from professors that have helped me along the way.  I’ve found a plethora of good mentor relationships, including my very supportive and amazing advisor who always seems to know what to say when I need it, and even some graduate students who have gone through programs before me that continue to provide me with support and guidance along the way.  I feel very happy to say that I’ve even been able to dole out some sage advice to newer graduate students, professionals, and young engineering students alike, and maintain contacts with many of these people over time.

So – what’s the point?  My story is not so uncommon, it seems.  It takes time to become comfortable in your own skin, and to build relationships with your colleagues.  I’ve been approached by a lot of students over time, that have said they wished they had someone to talk to for guidance, and didn’t know who to turn to, or what type of relationship they even wanted to establish.  Just that they really wanted to have some guidance in their lives, and that it would be great if there was some way to help them make those contact.

My hope is that, by starting a mentoring program for graduate students, we can do something about this in our own SWE community.  In SWE, graduate students are everywhere – they exist as collegiate members, sometimes they have their own GradSWE groups, and half of graduate student members are part of the professional sections!  SWE has a lot of opportunity to offer mentorship to graduate students, with many potential matches available.   We, as graduate student, can also help mentor others, since we have had different experiences in life than some professionals who may be looking to head back to graduate school, undergraduates who might want someone to look up to, or even our graduate peers.

How do we start?  We are hoping to start by finding interested graduate students and professionals members in our community.  If you’re interested, consider filling out this survey:

https://goo.gl/forms/C1yZQXIAfrtfVPGn1

Once we have figured out the interest in different mentoring pairs, we will send out a specific application to those individuals so that we can assign good mentoring pairs.  Not all people will want the same experience or relationship with a mentor – some people may just want someone to contact by email if they have questions about their job hunt, or school hunt!  Others might want to meet in person, or work towards specific, set goals that their mentor can help them with.  We will do our best to match people up based on their interest level, and whether they prefer a local mentor, or someone that they can reach out to in another SWE region.  Our hope is that we can get pairs set up for WE ’16, so that a meeting can be arranged!

Thank you all for reading – and if you have any questions, please email me at grad-coordinator-elect@swe.org!  Hope you are having a productive, and fun summer!

Sincerely,

Genevieve