- What do you value?
- What are your passions?
- How do you accomplish your tasks or goals?
- How do you accomplish the complex tasks?
- What do others come to you for?
- What adjectives do people use to describe you?
Hi SWE Grads!
I wanted to make my post this week something fruitful for future society leaders, as well as a bit of a personal story about SWE from me to you. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the SWE Region F Leadership Summit in Essex Junction, VT at Globalfoundries.
We discussed many of the governance changes and bylaws amendments that are coming up (See our Facebook for links, SWE Governance Website or an All Together Article about the Bylaws Proposals for more info). But, one of the things that was a really informative, and stuck with me was a talk given by SWE President Jonna Gerken, called “What’s Next in SWE for Me?”
Jonna did a great job of discussing how SWE as a whole is starting to embrace the idea of non-traditional paths to leadership, and how leaders from these paths have a lot of diverse perspective to offer the society. This resonates with me in particular, because I (like many of you, SWE Grads) have never been a section president. Up until the point where I became a Region Grad Rep in Region F, I had never held an official SWE position! I did champion and lead grass roots efforts to increase membership in SWE, but I never did it in an official capacity. Now, I have been an RGR, Graduate Member Coordinator, Region Collegiate Senator, and am part of several society and region based committees! An unconventional path, but a lot of knowledge and insight can be gained sometimes, especially when you go down The Road Not Taken.
So – why am I bringing this up now? I get to talk to a lot of SWE members that are looking to improve themselves, and want to become more involved with leadership opportunities in the society. Jonna’s talk highlighted something called SWE’s Leadership Competency Model which is a model used by the society to help members develop leadership skills. The model highlights 5 core competencies, including:
- Business Acumen
- Leadership Abilities
- Mentoring, Coaching, and Sponsorship
SWE believes in this model, and uses it as a way to assess present, or future leaders in the society! It is also a way to present positive feedback, and give others a way to work on their skills where they may need some help. Two of the resources that SWE provides are things that could even be used to help you with your career/ personal path.
I’ll start by highlighting the Leadership Development Plan and Vision Statement Template. This is a document that provides an instructive way to help you see what your leadership goals are, and how you can achieve them! You can use this template to answer questions like, “Where do I want to take my Career?” for professional development or “What is my ultimate objective and leadership goal within SWE?” I have also used this resource for things like “What is the highest mountain I will climb next year?” or “What fitness level do I want to achieve?” Each of these gives the template a little bit of a spin, but it does help you create a strategic plan to answer all of these questions! The guide then takes you through a series of questions, and gets you to list the actions you will take, the obstacles you may face, what strengths and resources you can leverage to achieve your goal, and how to hold yourself accountable to reach it. Overall, a great way to help you look at your goals in a new light. For me – it also helped me realize that if I couldn’t answer some of these items, I wasn’t sure how invested in the goal I truly was.
Now that you have a goal, though, what do we actually use to assess ourselves on, and how can we do it? SWE provides this handy Leadership Competency Model Evaluation Spreadsheet to help you with just that! I know that many of you sit there and take quizzes to see if places like Buzzfeed can tell you, “What Type of Pizza Are You?” Although this isn’t nearly as delicious, 10 minutes out of your day may give you some perspective on which of these five categories you are a rockstar in, and which you may want some more resources to help you learn more about.
The best part is that it’s simple to use – and gives you a list of all competencies on the tab labeled “Dashboard.” Once you self assess, and determine if you feel the need to improve in an area, you can take a look at the “PD” tab, for the Professional Development Content SWE provides to help move forward in those categories. Remember though: Watching a webinar from SWE’s awesome Advanced Learning Center on something like Being a Thought Leader may be a great start to your leadership development in some areas – it isn’t going to happen overnight. You need to internalize the changes you want to make, and be proactive in utilizing the tools in every day life to truly improve.
FY19 Nominations for Society Leadership
Now that we’ve discussed some of these awesome tools, I want to highlight one way that you could use them in the future. Recently, a call for FY19 Society Nominations may have crossed your inbox if you are a Professional Member, or a Collegiate Senator. This does apply to some of GradSWE’s membership, as half of grad students choose to identify as professional members in the society! Although you may not be part of that group, I’m still choosing highlighting this information as your Grad Member Coordinator because there are a few collegiates that this post may still pertain to, as they may have the leadership experience/ the passion to nominate themselves, or others, to a position in the society. Also – this is something that you could use, if your Vision Statement and Goals point you toward future society leadership in SWE.
What is on the slate for FY19 Nomination?
Slated positions available for nomination are:
- Director (3 positions available)
- Trustee (3 positions available)
- Deputy Speaker of the Senate
- Senate Secretary
How does this involve me now (if I am a collegiate), and in the future?:
Remember how I told you before that we are proposing Bylaws Changes? One of these changes will allow all collegiates voting rights in SWE. According to The Eligibility Requirements in the SWE Bylaws for Elected Positions, voting members of the society have the eligibility to run for these positions! Although some region leadership opportunities may go away if these bylaws changes go into effect, you may one day be able to nominate for these society positions, or positions as committee chairs/ chair-elects, too!
Regardless, your vote could change the outcomes as early as this FY19 slate, which is an exciting thing for SWE if the Bylaws Changes are accepted! The eligibility requirements do ask for specific experience for different positions, though, so you need to be aware of what leadership requirements may be before you nominate.
What do they use to evaluate leadership?
Ah, here’s the tie in – SWE uses the leadership competencies that they resourcefully teach us about to help pick the slate for nomination! Beyond meeting eligibility requirements, candidates are vetted by the Society Nominating Committee to understand where they stand with each of the competencies and pick the best group of nominees that they can. It’s important to understand though, that SWE doesn’t want leaders that are necessarily strong in all competencies. The power of diversity is important, and having a diverse body can happen when you have different strengths and weaknesses.
I want to nominate myself, another leader, or be nominated in the future. What do I do?
For those of you that are striving for leadership in SWE in the future – reach out to people who are currently serving. Reach out to GradSWE and let us know that you are interested in understanding the SWE Career Paths available to you! Reach out to the Senate and Committee leaders and ask them what it’s like to be involved, and how you can be involved in the future. We exist and thrive because many SWE leaders take time to build relationships with future leaders and help preserve the leadership pipeline by educating them in SWE, and in professional pursuits.
I leave you with this photo – RPI Alumni at all different stages of their personal, professional and SWE lives! I became more involved in SWE because some of the women in this photo invested their time and attention in helping me develop as a SWE leader. “What’s Next in SWE for Me?” I don’t know yet, Jonna – but I know now that I have the tools, the resources, and the mentorship to figure it out!
Do you want to connect with international colleagues and tackle the world’s biggest engineering challenges? The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is hosting a 2-day summit in Washington DC on the Grand Challenges in Engineering. Check it out!
Registration is now open for the 3rd Global Grand Challenges Summit, to be held July 18-20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the UK Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), the Summit will focus on the four themes of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering: Sustainability, Health, Security, and Joy of Living, as well as Education and Public Engagement related to the Grand Challenges.
We are expecting about 800 participants, evenly split between students and professionals. Free lodging is available for student attendees, and a travel allowance is available for students from US academic institutions (max 5 per institution). Based on past experience, US registration may close fairly early in order to preserve slots for overseas partners, so we urge you to register at your earliest convenience. For more information and to register please visit www.ggcs2017.org .
Here are some past webinars that you may find useful. Email Celine at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any webinar topics you’d like to see!
School is expensive, but your engineering education and degree are well worth the investment! Scholarships and fellowships can be extremely helpful for a number of reasons. In this talk, I will share a handful of tips and tricks to help you earn money for school through engineering scholarships (provided by SWE and other organizations and companies) and graduate fellowships (like NSF and NDSEG). I’m here to share tips and tricks that I haven’t seen elsewhere that have worked well for me. This information can also be applied to school applications.
Whether you started career planning and job searching a year ago, a month ago or today, there are a few things you can do to get the ball rolling to land a job you enjoy. Number 1: Don’t Panic! It’s never too late to launch a thoughtful strategy designed to land you employment. Number 2: Know you are valuable in myriad industries and ecosystems. In this webinar, designed specifically for students who are still in school/early in their career, you will learn specific tasks you can do RIGHT NOW to get a job and advance in your career. You will emerge with a solid and strategic plan that you can adapt at any stage of your career, but is especially valuable for those who are about to graduate or finish their postdoc and haven’t lined up a position yet. And perhaps equally important, you will leave the webinar feeling more confident and excited about what your near (and far) future holds for you.
- This one-hour webinar will address the most critical aspects of twenty-something on-the-job behavior and communication, and will provide attendees with concrete strategies they can use immediately to succeed in a professional environment. Understand the importance of the professional persona – or the mature, competent face you project to the work world – and the first impression.
- Learn the basics of communicating assertively and using verbal, nonverbal, and ecommunication vehicles in an effective manner.
Master the essential steps for networking effectively and securing a mentor and/or sponsor in your organization.
- Troubleshoot negative emotions that arise in the workplace, including anger, frustration, and hurt.
As the larger SWE community gets ready to descend on Philadelphia, PA for We16, SWE’s annual conference, many grad students are stuck in class, at the office, or in their research labs. Fret not, dear grad students! There are still ways to benefit from SWE’s annual conference without actually attending. Check out my tips below and comment if you have any tips that I missed.
1. Explore the Career Fair Exhibitors
Are you looking for a job, but will miss out on the SWE Career Fair? Check out the exhibitor list on the We16’s webpage (http://we16.swe.org/conference-agenda/). These companies are looking for SWEsters. Consider applying for the jobs online and reaching out to the recruiters on social media. Many recruiters will be tweeting that they will be at #We16.
Alternatively, browse SWE’s career center any time of the year (http://careers.swe.org/). Many companies also have postings directed towards WE16.
Another option is to find a Career Fair advocate. Convince a friend/colleague who knows you well to approach companies and drop off your resume in person. Make sure to still apply online to those companies, but recruiters will be impressed that you are a SWEet enough job candidate that your friend/colleague was willing to take the time and talk about you to recruiters.
2. Browse Session Titles for Future Collaborators and Event Ideas
Are you an outreach nut? Have you always wanted to work in government but never knew how to start? Or are you looking for your next visiting speaker? Check out the conference agenda (http://we16.swe.org/conference-agenda/) and browse the session titles. If something looks very interesting to you, reach out to the session speakers via LinkedIn or the SWE membership directory.
Do you want to know who from a specific school or company is presenting? Search keywords such as “University of Michigan” or “Central Intelligence Agency” or “Caterpillar Inc.”.
3. Register to Attend Virtually
If the distance and not the time is the only thing preventing you from engaging in We16, consider registering as a virtual attendee. You’ll gain access to special online content and see many of the sessions.
Register here: https://registration.experientevent.com/ShowWEC161/
4. Join in the Social Media Conversation
Find other SWE friends by seeing who is tweeting or posting or instagramming about the SWE conference. People are always giving or looking for advice. Join in the conversation!Follow @swetalk Follow @swe_grad
Use #SWEGrad and #We16 on twitter and instagram
So, did I miss anything? What are your tips for those who won’t be able to attend We16 but still want to be involved?
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:
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 email@example.com! Hope you are having a productive, and fun summer!
Have you ever been barreling down a train of thought, only to encounter a “what?” and a blank stare from the person you thought was along for the ride? You’re always going to encounter people that have a different knowledge set than yours. I think this simple fact can sometimes be hard to remember: not everyone knows what you know. As engineers, I think we often face this.