Tips for Men on how to be Allies to Women in Engineering

If you are interested in connecting with GradSWE’s Diversity & Inclusion team and our initiatives please contact Diversity & Inclusion Liaison Andrea Haverkamp at gradswe.dil@gmail.com. We look forward to meeting you!

Engineering is a male dominated field. There’s really no dispute about that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 15.9% of employed engineering and architectural professionals are women. SWE and GradSWE are open to people of all genders – this includes men. Men, being in the majority, can play arguably an extremely important role in making engineering a discipline which is inclusive, welcoming, and celebrating of women and other underrepresented genders. Today, nearly 50% of women in engineering will experience sexual harassment by male peers – it will take male allies to bring this number to 0%.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, published by Peggy McIntosh in 1989, was written to assist white individuals to identify the ways in which being white gives them often invisible advantages in many areas of their daily life. As a white person, reading this piece was deeply influential in shaping my own ever-evolving understanding of my own power, privilege, and role in society. Unpacking privilege can be a critical first step in fostering active allyship.

In the decades that have followed there have been writings on other forms of privilege such as heterosexual privilege, able-bodied privilege, and male privilege which is the subject of this article. The North American Students of Cooperation put together a resource titled the “Male Privilege Checklist” which outlines some invisible ways that men can be privileged in their daily and gives tips for allyship. There are 27 in this resource – it is absolutely worth a read and a download! We seek to adapt this resource for our male peers inside and outside of SWE:

What are some of the daily examples of male privilege that might be experienced in engineering/?

  • The odds of being hired for a job, when competing against non-male identified applicants, are probably skewed in my favor.
  • If I fail in my job or career, I can feel certain this won’t be seen as an indicator of my entire gender’s capabilities.
  • The odds of me encountering sexual harassment on the job are very low.
  • If I have children and pursue a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home with them.
  • I can be somewhat sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will face another male. The higher up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
  • My ability to make important decisions and my professional capability in general will not be questioned regardless of what time of the month it is.
  • The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I may choose to have children sometime soon.
  • I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.

Being aware that these are true for men in engineering, who make up almost 86% of working professionals, is an important concept for male allies of women in engineering to acknowledge as they progress through graduate education and prepare for the workforce whether they are entering academia or industry.

A critique of such a “privilege checklist” can be summed up as, “now what?” What can be done? Do we just acknowledge these privileges and then move on? The North American Students of Cooperation also created an informative and useful resource called the “Allyship Packet” which discusses how folks of dominant identities can all be allies as white people, men, normative-gender individuals, Christian individuals, and straight-identified people. This is an amazing read for all, even other women in engineering, since we all will need to act as allies to each other in various circumstances. We all have many identities in our lives. Consider checking this out and downloading it as well – it will be a great resource as we strive to be inclusive and welcoming in engineering!

As a male ally, I can…

  • Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the issues of gender oppression.
    • This can include being aware of male privilege, and issues facing women in engineering.
  • Be present at meetings to make sure male privilege and gender oppression are part of the discussion.
    • If women are being spoken over, questioned in their ability, having projects taken away from them, or experience sexual harassment, I make it a part of professional dialogue.
  • Be willing and able to call other men out on their actions, words, and issues.
    • It is important to realize that being an ally includes conversations that are man-to-man.
  • Raise issues about gender oppression over and over, both in public and in private.
    • I am becoming an advocate and reading resources / news from SWE and GradSWE!
  • Accept and encourage leadership from non-male identified people.
    • When leadership positions or projects become available, consider recommending your women (and other non-male) colleagues for the position.
  • Understand that non-male identified people often have valid experiences that cause them to feel distrustful of, wary of, or angry at men. I do not take it as a personal attack. Nor do I try to make them feel guilty for feeling these things about men. I remember that “its not all about me.”
    • None of this is an attack, and you are not a bad person by default. This is just daily life that many women want to bring awareness to and discuss.
  • Continually educate myself and others about gender oppression.
    • Being an ally – regardless of the group – is a lifelong process. It requires all of us to be dedicated. This includes male allyship in engineering!
  • Model positive behavior for my friends and other men by setting an example.
    • Leading by example is how I engage in healthy and exemplary masculinity.

We hope this helps and can serve as a resource for others. We are all in this – together!

We are putting together an online virtual reading and video watching club – please consider joining! In early February we are discussing intersectional feminism and kyriarchy. Contact Diversity & Inclusion Liaison Andrea Haverkamp at gradswe.dil@gmail.com for this and other involvement in the Diversity & Inclusion Team in GradSWE We look forward to meeting you!

 

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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!

Recap: SWE Annual Conference-WE18

Another annual conference is in the books for the Society of Women Engineers where more than 14,000 women engineers gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center last month.

Our graduate community participates in the conference in a variety of ways including hosting professional development sessions, competing in research presentations, exploring the career fair, and networking at the Graduate Member Meeting and Graduate Student Reception.

Graduate Poster & Rapid Fire Competition:

Twenty graduate students were selected from those that submitted abstracts for the Graduate Poster & Rapid Fire Competition. Ten students competed in each category (poster or rapid fire) where they were evaluated on their research and presentation skills. Congratulations to the following award recipients:

Graduate Poster Competition Results
(1st) Samantha Zellner
Corrosion Measurement of Silicon Carbide
University of North Texas

(2nd) Sarah Robb
Is faster FDA review time for cardiovascular devices correlated with adverse health outcomes, as evidenced by increased recalls?
Carnegie Mellon University

(3rd) Rachel Tenney
Production of Nitrogen- and Phosphorus-Rich Crystals from Municipal Wastewater for Sustainable Nutrient Recovery
University of Minnesota

Graduate Rapid Fire Competition Results
(1st) Jennifer DiStefano
Utilizing 2D Materials in Core-shell Nanocomposites
Northwestern University

(2nd) Caymen Novak
Compressive Stimulus Enhances Ovarian Cancer Proliferation, Invasion, and Mechanotransduction in a Novel 3D Compression Bioreactor
University of Michigan

(3rd) Kritika Iyer
Non-Invasive Diagnostics of Coronary Artery Disease Using Machine Learning and Computational Fluid Dynamics
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Graduate Member Meeting:

Our member meeting is open to all graduates and serves to update our members on current GradSWE initiatives and what they can do to increase graduate student involvement in SWE at their university. The meeting slides contain pertinent links and tips for developing a GradSWE group.

Graduate Student Reception (Sponsored by Praxair and Autodesk):

With over 60 attendees, the Graduate Student Reception continues to grow and is an opportunity for networking and idea sharing among peers and the sponsors. We would like to once again thank Autodesk and Praxair for their support of the SWE graduate community! 20181019_172539

Join our team as Graduate Programming Coordinator-Elect (GPC-E):

Do you want to get involved in GradSWE at the Society level? The application is now open for the Graduate Programming Coordinator-Elect (GPC-Elect) position.

This position carries a two-year term (one year as coordinator-elect and one year as coordinator) filled by a SWE graduate student or recent Ph.D./M.S. graduate. The time commitment is usually 2-3 hours/week and is closer to 7-10 hours/week in the weeks before the annual conference. All meetings are through conference calls, except for the required annual conference attendance for both WE19 and WE20.

Deadline for applications is Monday, December 31, 2018 11:59 pm CDT (Midnight).
All applications will then be reviewed and applicants will be contacted in January.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at gradsweprogramming@gmail.com.

Conferences: Why Bother?

I attended the SWE annual conference last week and wanted to share a few insights about the benefits of attending conferences.

Conferences are great ways to connect with others in your field. As a graduate student, you most likely have attended a conference and made a poster presentation or an oral presentation of your research. If you haven’t, I definitely recommend talking with your research advisor about submitting abstracts in an effort to be selected to present at a conference. This gives you an opportunity to not only build your CV but to practice concisely communicating your research to others, to network with others in your field which may open up future research collaboration opportunities or employment, and to learn current, in-progress research that may be relevant to your research.

SWE offers two types of conferences: the annual international “WE” conference held each year in early fall (over 14,000 attendees this year!)  and the “WE Local” conferences held throughout the year around the United States, India and Europe. One of the main advantages of these conferences is the variety of events and sessions offered.  Since SWE includes all engineering and science disciplines, the conferences are technically neutral, or should I say “all-inclusive”. Most of the sessions apply to all attendees and center around career success, professional development and work-life balance. There are presentations grouped under eleven different tracks (below) as well as a career fair with over 350 exhibitors (including universities and organizations)

IMAGES
Other elements of Conference include:

*keynote speakers*hospitality suites*K-12 outreach*local tours*poster competition*tech talks*

Pictures from WE18 Conference can be seen here.

As a member of leadership, conference was a great opportunity to meet in-person other members of leadership with whom I collaborate. I also connected with speakers after their talk, providing a way to get advice or more information in the future on a topic that is of interest and relevant to me.

You have a near-term opportunity to participate in an upcoming WE Local Conference and earning a $250 stipend if you make it as a finalist in the WE Local Collegiate Competition. Submit your abstract before the deadline of Friday, November 2, 2018

iamwithswe

Check out the Hospitality Suites at WE18!

One of the most exciting events at the annual SWE conferences is the Hospitality Suites. This event consists of a series of rooms in the conference center featuring numerous companies. Each suite will give you insight into the company culture as several employees will be available for casual networking.

If you are looking for a job or internship, be sure to check out the companies you’d like to target for applications – networking opportunities can lead to interviews, and will certainly give you more information about what the company values and how the company operates.

Even if you’re not currently looking for a position, visiting the hospitality suites can still help you build your network and stretch your networking skills!

Some tips to keep in mind while milling through the hospitality suites:

  1. Each suite will typically provide some appetizers and potentially alcoholic beverages. If you decide to drink any alcohol offered, be responsible. Remember that you have had a long and exhausting day at conference so you may start to feel tipsy sooner than usual!
  2. Not sure which companies to look at? Attend the hospitality suites with friends! Get a broad overview of different company cultures, regardless of specific field.
  3. Talk to a variety of people at a number of different suites – you can get new ideas about jobs that you might be interested in!
  4. Bring business cards! These are an amazing networking tool – by exchanging business cards, you can continue your networking connections after conference.

 

WE18-Logo-RGB

If you are attending WE18 in Minneapolis, the hospitality suites will be Thursday, October 18th, from 8:00-10:00PM. Look for the Hospitality Suites in the conference app or online planner for a list of hosting companies!

You’re more valuable than you think – and GradSWE needs you!

I’ve seen several colleagues go through their graduate career and get to the ‘mid-life crisis’ point. You may be familiar with it: frustration at experiments or advisors, trouble finding a job, proposals get rejected, wondering if you made the right decision entering grad school in the first place. The good news is, that phase is a common symptom of people who are nearing the completion of grad school, if they resolve to be finished and move on to bigger and better things.

It’s at this point that many people seek mentors. And GradSWE can help with that, connecting you to people who can offer encouragement, share their journeys in your particular field, be a sounding board for you next steps, and serve as role models in a career path you may be interested in.

But what you may not realize is that there are many grad students and undergrads in GradSWE who would love to talk to someone like you too, for the exact same reasons you may be interested in a mentor yourself! Your experiences presenting at lab meetings and conferences, drafting articles on your research, working in industry, figuring out which experiment to run next and how, juggling lab and classes and life, learning about potential career paths in your field, and many, many other things you’ve accomplished even in your first few years are nuggets of gold to those aspiring to follow in your footsteps. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What do you wish you knew? You already have all you need to make a very real difference in someone’s life. And what’s more, you might just learn something yourself, gain a great connection or friendship, and develop the marketable skills of training and developing others.

So if you’re interested in getting connected and sharing the love, we’d love to have you as part of GradSWE’s mentoring program! To learn more about it, visit http://gradswe.swe.org/mentoring.html or email the Mentoring Team at gradswementoring@gmail.com. To become a mentor, simply fill out the form with a few details on your experiences ( https://goo.gl/forms/M13dEyBkJYZKgCMW2 ). If you’re a grad student interested in getting connected to a mentor yourself, you can enroll through this link:  https://goo.gl/forms/zNHhPv6Al2bhL4I33 . And remember, you’re more valuable than you think, and we’d love to have you as a mentor!

 

Angelica Payne

GradSWE Mentoring Co-Coordinator 2018

WE18 is almost here!

It is officially October which means that WE18 is right around the corner! Now is the time to start preparing for the conference so that you can get the most from the experience.

UPLOAD YOUR RESUME: On the job market? Upload your resume ahead of time to make sure companies know you are available.

CHECK OUT THE WE18 EXHIBITORS: There will be more than 300 exhibitors at the WE18 career fair! Take some time to pick out the specific exhibitors you are interested in meeting.

Career Fair Hours

Thursday, Oct 18:
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Professional and Collegiate members only)
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (all registrants, including Career Fair only)

Friday, October 19:
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. professionals only (members and non-members)
10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Professional and Collegiate members only)
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (all registrants, including Career Fair only)

USE THE MOBILE APP: WE18 is a HUGE conference with more sessions than you could possibly attend. Make the most of your time by using the mobile app to build your schedule and stay organized!

TIPS FOR FIRST-TIMERS: Check out the podcast by FY19 SWE President Penny Wirsing and FY17 SWE President Jessica Rannow about tips and advice for First-Timers at WE18.

Finally, don’t forget to come to our GradSWE specific sessions:

Thursday, October 18th

  • 12:45-1:45 PM | Big Step for Me, Giant Leap for SWE-Kind: Staying Involved in SWE After College
  • 2:00-3:00 PM | Life after Grad School: Transitioning from Graduate Student to Professional
  • 4:30-5:30 PM | Preparing Powerful Application Essays

Friday, October 19th

  • 9:30 AM-6PM | Collegiate Poster Competition
  • 10:15-11:45 AM | Rapid Fire 1: Graduate Students
  • 4:30-5:30 PM | A Tale of Two PhDs and The Value of Diversity (may be rescheduled)
  • 3:00-5:00 PM | Graduate Member Meeting
  • 5:00-6:30 PM | Graduate Student Reception (Sponsors: Autodesk and Praxair)

Saturday, October 20th

  • 12:45-1:45 PM | Embracing Failures in Academia to Break Personal Boundaries
  • 1:30-1:50 PM | Utilizing Online Platforms for Self-Promotion: Personal Websites and Social Media

We highly encourage participation in these sessions led by your fellow peers and academics. It can be an impactful learning experience, and high attendance numbers demonstrate that the graduate population in SWE continues to grow!

If you cannot attend WE18, watch for graduate programming at 2019 WE Locals or at WE19.

Any questions about programming at WE18 can be emailed to gradsweprogramming@gmail.com