3rd Global Grand Challenges Summit

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 .

Archived Webinars


Here are some past webinars that you may find useful. Email Celine at celine.liong@gmail.com if you have any webinar topics you’d like to see!

Earn $100,000 to Fund your Engineering Education

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.


Career Planning for College Students: I Am About to Graduate – What on Earth Do I Do Now?

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.

Conflict Management Skills for Women (3 Part Webinar Series): How to Practice Patience, Show Confidence & Get the Results You Really Want: Part 1

They Don’t Teach Corporate in College

  • 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.
How to Benefit from Annual Conference without Attending

How to Benefit from Annual Conference without Attending

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!

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?


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:


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!



Staying kind in graduate school

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.

It’s a challenge, and you can meet it in two ways. I recently encountered a knowledge mismatch situation. The knowledge mismatch wasn’t even about something technical. It was about how grad school works, how departments, labs, and years of grad students are organized. Right now, my whole life is grad school, so this lack of knowledge from my conversation partner drove me mad. I was expecting them to know what I was talking about, but was instead met with confusion.

I handled that particular conversation the wrong way. I said something sharp and snarky. Later, I had a great reflection with a fellow engineer about how to approach situations like this in the future. I realized I needed more tools for this type of situation. We agreed that the key tool to use is attitude, or we called it “head-space.” You can fall into a head-space that’s characterized by acting like “I know everything” and being dismissive. The opposing head-space is one of slowness, understanding, and kindness. When your conversation partner gives you a “what?”, you slow down. You remember to show understanding and patience.

These are two distinct mindsets that an engineering grad student could take. I present that the kindness mindset makes you a better lab mate, TA, friend, and partner. Think of it: haven’t you had a mentor or TA who took a long time to explain a concept to you? It probably made you feel empowered to keep trying new things. Evan as work and school get frustrating, even when it’s easier to be irritated, I’m trying to spend more time in a kind, compassionate head-space.

Newsletter – 14 June 2016

Hello Grad Community!

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 grad-coordinator@swe.org.

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. WE16 Poster Competition abstracts due June 15th!
  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) WE16 Poster Competition abstracts due June 15th
Abstracts for the WE16 Collegiate Technical Poster Competition are due one week from now on June 15th! The Poster Competition is a great way to practice talking about your research to a wide variety of backgrounds.

Find out more at



(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, get more information, and apply for the program at http://we16.swe.org/events/alwe/


(3) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the most recent Spotlight?

Malika Grayson (30 May 2016):



Maria Choi (13 June 2016):

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here: http://goo.gl/51Oh1H


(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 http://we16.swe.org/.

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 http://we16.swe.org/.


(5) Follow us on social media!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SWE_grad

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SWEGrad

Blog: https://swegrad.wordpress.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8412361

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at grad-coordinator@swe.org!



How to Successfully Transition Your Grad Group

How to Successfully Transition Your Grad Group


One of the most important jobs you have as a leader is to pass what you have learned onto the next generation of leaders in an effective way. This can take many different forms depending on the size of your group and the structure of your leadership. In general, the larger the group, the more structure and planning you will need. Here are some of my tips for running effective transitions.

1. Start Early

If your semester ends in April, start thinking in February who will lead your organization the next year. Some positions, like President/Director/etc. may require you to talk to your current officer team and plant that seed early. Give yourself plenty of time to advertise your officer positions and answer questions.

2. Ask for Help

If you have an entire team, ask for help in recruiting new officers. Advertise your open positions broadly, but make sure to talk to people in person. If you had a person who showed up to every single social event, email them and ask if they would be interested in becoming your Social Chair. Have everyone use their network to find excited and talented officers for your grad group or other organization.

3. Document throughout the Year

Try to keep a running list of events throughout the year. How many people came? Did it go as expected? These notes are invaluable for the next group of officers. Below is an example event summary. At the end of the year, we copy these into each officer’s transition report.

Date Event Officer RSVP Yes RSVP Maybe Attendance Cost Food Room/ Location Time Day of Week Comments
6/27/2015 BBQ Potluck on Huron River Amy & Bridget 18 14 $62.00 Enchiladas Amy’s House 12 PM – 2:30 PM Saturday We had to move the BBQ indoors to Bridget’s house because of rain. Great turnout considering the change of location. We played a Taboo like word game, it was a crowd pleaser!

4. Formal Reports Rock!

A good transition report cannot be replaced. Many people think this is a pain to do, but it is so very nice to receive. Outgoing and incoming officers should meet together if possible. A report will not replace that face-to-face time. However, reports are great to look back on later in the year.

Here is the outline I use for reports:

I. Letter to Successor
– What do you want to tell your future replacement? Free style here.
II. Position Duties
– Summarize in bullet points what your position does.
III. Timeline
– Break apart your yearly tasks by month. What should you do at the start of the semester? What should you do near the end?
IV. Event Summaries
– Complete the following table for each of the events that you put on this semester. For rating the success of an event, 5 should be taken as the best ranking, and 1 should be considered the worst.

Event Name:  
Event Date Location Event Length # of Volunteers # of Attendees % of Budget How successful was the event? (Scale 1-5*)
Actual Ideal Actual Ideal Actual Ideal
Event Description
How could this event be improved?  What would you do differently?
What would you keep the same in the future?
Additional Comments

V. Contacts
– Include a list of the different people you needed to contact for your position this semester.

Name Company/ University Department Title Event Association Role with the Event Phone Number E-mail Address

VI. Resources
– Orders Placed For Events
— Please provide information on any orders placed for events you hosted this semester.
– Other Resources Used
— Please provide information on any other resources (such as websites) in the process of planning your events.
VII. Publicity
– Include copies of any flyers or handouts that were given to you or that you generated yourself.   Event planning can be made much easier if you do not need to reinvent the wheel each time you plan an event.  (Please also include the file information in the attachments section.)
VIII. Semester Reflection
– What can be improved upon for your position in the upcoming semester?
– What went well for you, and your position, this semester?
– How did your work in this position support the mission of SWE?
– Additional thoughts or comments.
IX. Attachments
– Include filenames and descriptions if any.

5. Have fun

Lastly, have fun and enjoy the end of your term as a SWE Grad Group leader. You worked with a great group of people and planned many awesome events. Take time to reflect on your experiences and share your memories with the next crew of leaders. Remember, keep on striving to Advance, Aspire, Achieve.