Grad Member Spotlight: Genevieve Kane

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to our new Graduate Leadership Team.  We’ll start with our new GMC, Genevieve!
Kane_GenevieveGenevieve Kane
Graduate Student in Materials Science and Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Genevieve Kane has been a member of SWE since 2007. She is very happy to serve as Graduate Member Coordinator of the society in her 10th year of SWE membership.  Genevieve became a member while an undergraduate at SUNY New Paltz,  and brought SWE programming to her undergraduate campus.  Upon entering graduate school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Genevieve became the Region Graduate Representative, aiding in GradSWE group start-up and in Region Conference Planning for graduate sessions.  She continues to be involved in her region and locally, acting as the Region Collegiate Senator for FY18, as well as continuing her outreach efforts and being part of the Local Host Committee for WELocal Providence.  Genevieve is also a member of the Women in Academia committee, and the Bylaws committee.

 

What degrees do you hold, and what are you currently studying?

I took a very unique path through school – I completed three bachelor’s degrees in five years, where I studied Physics, Electrical Engineering, and Music (Performance, Violin) at two separate institutions that were 2 hours away from each other (SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Albany)!  After that, I received a Master’s degree from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany (SUNY Polytechnic) in Nanoscale Engineering.  I’m now a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and am studying Materials Science and Engineering.  It seems like I’ve been studying a lot of different things, but one thing that I have always believed is that many aspects of science and technology are related.  I try to remind students of that whenever I do outreach!

Give a brief explanation of your research experience

Previously, my research focused on Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (for my MS) and solving problems that photoresist manufacturers face with out-of-band wavelength lights.  Now, my research focuses on creating novel microscopy techniques to help understand, predict, and actively control grain growth in metals.  

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

That’s a great question and one that I think many people struggle with.  I spend some time teaching at a community college prior to starting my studies at RPI and I loved it, so I would definitely be interested in a professorship.  At the same time, I am also really enthusiastic and love my research, so I would love to explore the options that government labs and industry have available to me as well, because I think that my research experience could really be beneficial in that setting.  As my time in grad school closes, I think that I’m narrowing my options down, and looking for something that offers me the freedom of controlling my research interests, while still allowing me to be an educator!  We shall see.

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

When I’m not in lab, you can usually find me at the gym for Zumba, or hiking and wandering the wilderness!  These are things that I really love and I hadn’t been prioritizing much in the beginning of grad school – so I’m happy to have more time to do them now.   I also love to sing and play music and do so through concerts, musical theater, etc. I am also a language enthusiast, and love to travel.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I received a black belt in karate when I was 10 years old!  On occasion, I teach self defense classes to women, because I believe that it is important to be able to defend yourself if the need arises.

Do you have any advice for our GradSWE members?

If there are three things I can share with  you in my experiences from grad school, they would be:

  1. Do something that you are passionate about, and surround yourself with the right people to help you achieve what you hope to.
    I personally had a lot of trouble in the beginning of grad school because of my choices in research and advisor.   I am now a very fortunate graduate student with an advisor that I work well with, and research that I am passionate about.
  2. Take time to enjoy grad school, and have a healthy work/life balance!
    This is something I will undoubtedly emphasize over the course of the year in blog posts – taking a break and going home for the day to sleep, do the things you enjoy, etc, is as important as your research.  Grad school has a physical, and emotional impact on all – it is a stressful time in your life and many students need that rest and relaxation to avoid burnout.  I didn’t realize this for a long time – but I find I am much more productive now because I do take breaks.
  3. Utilizes all of the resources you are given in grad school and that you have available through SWE.
    A lot of students come out of school and say things like “I wish I had gone to more professional development seminars.”   I can’t personally say that – because I take the time to go to as many seminars about research and professional development that I can!  I also utilize my career center if I have questions about my resume, and my SWE contacts as well.  Your school, company, and professional organizations have a ton of resources available to you to help you grow as a professional, and to obtain jobs.   Use them!

Grad Group Spotlight: Northwestern University

SWEGrad_NorthwesternUnivNorthwestern University

Evanston, IL

When did your group start?

GradSWE at Northwestern originally began in 2012. For several years, a small handful of women ran the group. In summer of 2016, we formed our first executive board which has greatly expanded our programming.

How is the group organized? i.e. how many core people are typically involved, do you have officers, how do you fit within the collegiate section, where do you get your budget (if you have one)

We have an executive board that is currently nine people strong – comprised of a president, VP, administrative chair, finance chair, professional development chair, outreach chair, mentoring chair, social chair, and assistant coordinator. The mentoring and outreach chairs are our liaisons with the overarching collegiate section – attending their weekly meetings and keeping each board updated on the other’s events. Our most popular collaborative initiative with the collegiate section is our “Coffee With a Grad Student” program, in which we pair up an undergraduate interested in grad school with a graduate student mentor and supply coffee money. Since its initiation, over 40 students have participated in this program, with 92% of undergrads responding that they learned a lot about graduate school, and 64% more likely to attend grad school because of our program. We are also currently planning a series of workshops for the collegiate members on graduate school to be held this fall, with topics including “Applying to Graduate School” and “Applying for Fellowships”.

What type of events do you host? How often do you host them? How many people tend to come to these events?

We host a combination of social and professional development events, with the intent of community building through social events and empowering women in STEM through professional development events. For social events, we organize a monthly happy hour for women to casually get the know other women in STEM in a relaxed environment. We also host monthly coffee hours on campus. Our recurring professional development event is our quarterly lunch discussion series, in which we invite a Northwestern professor to lead a discussion on a topic of her choice over lunch. Our inaugural lunch was this past April on the topic of “Articulating purpose, presence, and grit” with overwhelmingly positive feedback. We also aim to hold events with the local professional SWE sections several times a year, and have previously organized a joint trivia night and networking evening. On average, we usually have about 15-30 attendees at these events.

What is the one event or program of which you are most proud?

Our hallmark event is our Professional and Graduate Women in STEM Networking Night. We held our first event this April in downtown Chicago, and invited women from Northwestern graduate programs, local Professional SWE sections, and the Chicago Association of Women in Science (AWIS). It was a wonderful evening of networking and learning about various career paths. Attendees were invited to prepare lightning talks, and topics ranged from research to advocating for women in STEM to engaging in public outreach. We are looking forward to expanding this event even further and making this an annual event.

What tips do you have for a newly-started grad group?

For a new graduate SWE group, remember there’s a lot you can do with a limited budget, especially on the community building side! Organize women to go out to happy hour together, or host a brown bag lunch for participants to gather and discuss a specific topic. Reach out to your local professional SWE sections about co-hosting events. Activities like these are not only low budget, but will also build up your visibility as an organization so you have a strong foundation for future larger events!

How can someone contact your group if they’re interested in participating?

Please email us at nuswe.grad@gmail.com

Grad Member Spotlight: Becky LaCroix

SWE spotlight pic_BeckyBecky LaCroix
PhD Candidate, Biomedical Engineering
Yale University

Becky is a founding member of the Yale SWE section. She has served in many key roles including section outreach chair (2014-15), section vice president (2016-present) and co-director (2015-17) of Yale’s GradSWE Committee. In every role, Becky has led the Yale SWE section to grow sustainably through establishing lasting programs and leadership structure. Example programs include outreach programs with New Haven K-12 students several times per year, large annual Grad-oriented events such as a Gender Bias in STEM workshop, and collaborative events with other student groups such as Women in Science at Yale, STEMentors, and League of Black Scientists. Becky has a bright future in SWE.

During her time as vice president of Yale SWE, Becky led her team to apply for and receive several awards including the Outstanding New Section (silver level) and outreach awards at WE16 and the outstanding communications award at the 2017 Region F conference. For her research, Becky was recognized with an honorable mention from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Congratulations, Becky, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

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

I am working towards my PhD in biomedical engineering and expect to graduate by the spring of 2019.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
I study signaling pathways involved in cancer cell migration. Our lab has developed tools to tap into these pathways at specific locations in order to untangle potential feedback loops between different proteins. We hope that doing so will help us to better understand how cells make the decision to migrate in response to extracellular cues.

What do you want to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I really enjoy working with undergraduate students, so I’m considering a career in either teaching or academic administration.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy cooking, hiking, and playing video games (the games in the Civilization series are my favorite). I’m also a member of the Yale Taekwondo Club!

What’s a fun fact about you?

I have a pet freshwater snail that I keep on my desk at work. He cheers me up when my experiments aren’t working.

Grad Member Spotlight: Jodi Boutté

jodiJodi Boutté
PhD, Industrial Engineering
Louisiana State University A&M 

Jodi has been a member of the Society of Women Engineers since 2008. She currently serves as Graduate Program Coordinator-Elect (GPC-E) on the Graduate Leadership Team. At LSU, she created and presented a talk for the SWE Chat with Freshman program in 2015. She also developed a workshop entitled Yes, SWE Can! Lessons Learned on her Path to the Ph.D. In addition, she has contributed to several events involving SWE over the years, such as: volunteer for the Sally Ride community event held by the LSU College of Engineering, volunteer and participant for the Women Impacting Style in Engineering (WISE) Style Show and Networking Event, and student volunteer at the SWE Annual Conference talks.
Jodi has received numerous scholarships/fellowships including the Marathon Engineering Diversity Fellowship, the Cummins Scholarship, and the LaSpace Fellowship. For her research, she also placed 2nd in the National Society of Black Engineers’ 2014 Technical Research Exhibition (TRE). Congratulations, Jodi, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

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

I’m in the Ph.D. Engineering Science program in the College of Engineering at Louisiana State University A&M; my major is Industrial Engineering with a concentration in Human Factors and Ergonomics. My expected graduation date is December 2017.

Give a brief explanation of your research experience.
Very little is known about fatigue behaviors and/or characteristics in the medical domain. Much of what we know about fatigue in healthcare has been transposed or adopted from other work environments. My current research focuses on human factors in healthcare; specifically, I am interested in the assessment of fatigue in medical workers by mental and physical work factors in various work environments. The results from this research will be transformational as it will be critical to making healthcare safer and reducing the vulnerability of patients during the care process. Thus, this research is integral in the improvement of healthcare processes and patient safety practices.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I would like to continue in research studying human factors in healthcare or healthcare systems engineering. My dream jobs would be to work for Nike in Research and Development and at some point start my own consulting company

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I truly enjoy traveling; I hope to do more of it once I complete my degree program. I also enjoy baking, gardening, DIY projects, exercising, and shopping.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I can make a really funny baby voice that would be perfect for a kid’s cartoon. My sisters have always gotten a kick out of it.

Grad Member Spotlight: Sarah Watzman

Grad Member Spotlight: Sarah Watzman

Watzman_HeadshotSarah Watzman

PhD student,  Mechanical Engineering

The Ohio State University

Sarah has been actively involved in SWE since her freshman year of undergrad. Since then, she has been involved in SWE at all levels of the society. At Ohio State, she has served as both outreach coordinator and section president. For Region G, she has been the Region Collegiate Representative (RCR), a member of the conference planning committee, and a leadership coach.  Currently, she is serving as Collegiate Director on the Board of Directors.

Sarah is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a University Fellow through Ohio State’s Graduate School, and a FAST (Future Academic Scholar Training) Fellow through her department. She received the Rob Wolf Outstanding Senior Award from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State as well as the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award in 2013. Congratulations, Sarah, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

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

I am a 4th-year PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering, hoping to graduate in the spring of 2018 (although anytime I write this on anything, my advisor “corrects” the date to 2118).

Give a brief explanation of your research.
I work on materials that convert heat to electricity, and I specifically look at how magnetism can increase this transport.  Typically, these materials are semiconductors, but I’m exploring metals and semimetals for my dissertation.  Applications for these materials are in waste-heat recovery, where these materials would utilize heat released from other energy generation processes to produce their own power output.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I hope to become a professor!  I really love research, and I also love working with students (I’m co-instructing my advisor’s undergraduate thermodynamics course this semester).  I think a professor position would well combine these two passions.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love to cook and hike!  I have also gotten into TRX (body resistance strength training on something that looks like monkey bars) this year.  And of course, I spend lots of my free time on SWE!

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m moving to Germany in the middle of April to work in my collaborator’s lab for the summer!

Watzman_In Lab

Sarah Watman working in her lab at Ohio State

Grad Member Spotlight: Heather Wiest

wiest_heatherHeather Wiest

PhD,  Aerospace Engineering

Purdue University

Heather has been a member of SWE since 2007. During her senior year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, she was treasurer for her SWE section. Once she started graduate school at Purdue in 2011, she became a member of the Leadership Coaching Committee (LCC). In 2012, she was selected to be Team Lead for the Region H LCC coaches and remained in that position until she became the FY17 LCC Chair-Elect. As a professional member, she was involved in the chartering process for the Greater Lafayette Indiana (GLI) SWE section, which celebrated its one year anniversary as an official SWE section this January! Additionally,she is a member of the FY17 Governance Taskforce.

Heather received three fellowships in graduate school: Purdue Doctoral Fellowship (2011), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2012), and Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship (2016). Locally, she was awarded a Purdue University’s College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award for her involvement as treasurer in three graduate student organizations. Congratulations, Heather, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

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

I successfully defended my PhD dissertation in December! I received my Masters from Purdue in August 2013. Both graduate degrees are in Aerospace Engineering.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
My area of study within Aerospace Engineering is Propulsion. My research focuses on experimental gas turbine combustion and fuel sprays. For my PhD, I studied a liquid jet in crossflow with increasingly elevated fuel temperatures. The liquid jet in crossflow is a method of fuel injection found in gas turbine combustors, turbojet afterburners, scramjet/ramjet engines, and rotating detonation engines, and higher temperature fuels can occur in advanced aircraft that use fuel as a heat sink for thermal management purposes. By studying this flow field with high speed imaging, variations in the breakup of the liquid jet due to increasing fuel temperatures can be analyzed.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I’m heading off to Cape Canaveral, FL to work for Blue Origin as a Test Facilities Design Engineer. Basically, I’m a plumber for rockets. I will help to design the fluid systems used in testing their engines and launching their rockets. Blue Origin is a private spaceflight company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with the goal of creating greater human access to space at lower costs and with increased reliability.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love playing random sports. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I’m not at a university playing intramurals like wallyball, inner tube water polo, or dodgeball! I also really like board games. My current favorite is 7 Wonders.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I really enjoy visiting national parks! I have a National Park Passport where I collect cancellation stamps that serve as a record of all the parks I’ve visited. I currently have about 60 stamps, and I hope that finally being done with school will give me the opportunity to visit more national parks!

Grad Member Spotlight: Lisa Cervia

lisa_cervia

Lisa Cervia

PhD student, Biomedical Engineering

Duke University

Lisa first joined SWE as a freshman biomedical engineering major at Boston University. She is now a biomedical engineering PhD candidate at Duke University. Throughout the past 8 years, she has participated in many SWE outreach events and mentoring programs. She is now taking on more leadership roles in SWE and is working to help with the graduate mentoring program and graduate SWE planning for WE 17.

Lisa has received many awards for her research in biomedical engineering. As a graduate student, she received the BMES Innovation and Career Development award as well as Duke University’s Pharmacological Sciences Training Program award. She has also received numerous scholarships and research awards as an undergraduate student. Congratulations, Lisa, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

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

I am in the PhD program in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. I expect to graduate within the next year and will be looking for postdoc positions.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
Currently, I design solutions to improve methods of gene delivery. Gene therapy has great potential to transform the treatment of many diseases, but there is a great need for more efficient and safe methods of gene delivery. I work at both uncovering the mechanisms by which non-viral methods of gene delivery introduce DNA to the cell and utilizing these mechanisms to develop strategies that improve efficiency, such that these methods of delivery can be more widely implemented for clinical applications.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I aspire to contribute to the growing field of Biomedical Engineering as a professor at a major research university. My ultimate goal is not only to become a tenured professor, but to help to nurture and mold this field into one that is inclusive and reaches out to other disciplines for collaboration. I want to serve as a role model, educating young students about what biomedical engineering entails, showing them that they have the potential to contribute to such a field, and to set aside many of the stereotypes surrounding engineering.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I have danced ballet for 23 years.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I am the founder and president of the Biomedical Engineering Society Graduate Section at Duke University. This year, we hosted the first annual on-campus Duke BMES conference. The conference included a total of fourteen talks by esteemed BME Professors, a lunchtime poster session that included presentations by postdocs, graduate students and undergraduate students as well as a plenary session and reception with invited speaker. See picture of event below.
cervia_bmes