Best Practices: GradSWE events

In this blog post, I will cover some of the best practices GradSWE sections or groups can follow and implement to have successful events. I will categorize this into two sections – type of events, and best practices or ideas or tips for engaging more graduate students.

Type of events

  • Industry-sponsored Lunch and Learn sessions with companies – Networking, Interview Skills, and Resume Review.
  • Professional sessions from Career Center – LinkedIn workshop, Life after grad school, Elevator pitches training.
  • Biweekly discussions about topics facing grad women in STEM such as presentation skills, communication, writing manuscripts/thesis/dissertation.
  • Mentorship Program/Panel – Undergraduate students learning from graduate students about conducting research, applying to graduate school, academic or research internships.
  • Panel discussion – some topics could be Women engineers in academia/industry, how to be assertive in the workplace.
  • Research poster competition – encouraging graduate students to showcase their research.
  • Social events – mixers, painting/other arts, Halloween party.

Best Practices

  • Take support from nearest SWE Professional section.
  • Strategic advertisement and marketing – sending a bulk email about GradSWE events through College of Engineering or graduate advisors of various engineering departments or International Student Services or similar offices.
  • Collaboration with other student organizations on campus and organizing joint events.
  • Work with larger SWE section at the university to include GradSWE section into a corporate sponsorship packet.
  • Work with Women in Engineering (WE) program at your school to collaborate for events.
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The SWE Leadership Competency Model, What’s Next for Leaders in SWE, and FY19 Call for Society Nominations

The SWE Leadership Competency Model, What’s Next for Leaders in SWE, and FY19 Call for Society Nominations

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.

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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?”

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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:

  • Communication
  • Self-Management
  • 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.

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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:

  • President-Elect
  • Treasurer
  • 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?

If you are ready to nominate now, you need to fill out the Candidate Consent Form and Nomination Form.  Do it soon!  It’s due September 28th.

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.

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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!

 

Sincerely,

Genevieve

 

 

Create an effective LinkedIn profile today!

LinkedIn is similar to a professional Facebook. It is a powerful networking and industry research tool. It is a great platform for professional networking and provides additional features (more than a resume).

Here are some tips to create a strong LinkedIn profile and utilize the available resources:

  • Important areas to highlight in the profile page:
    • Photo: It is strongly encouraged that you have a professional photo on LinkedIn because people feel more comfortable connecting with you when they can see a photo.
    • Headline: Create a keyword rich headline based on career interests that will attract the attention of recruiters.
    • Skills & Expertise: Highlight your skills and get endorsed by people within your network.
    • Recommendations: This is one of the reasons LinkedIn is better than just a resume because the recruiter/hiring manager is able to see recommendations from past supervisors, co-workers, etc.
    • Include Experience, Education, Projects, Publications (links to online publications), Courses, Honors and Awards, Location (where you want to get hired).
  • Use the LinkedIn platform to people/members who graduated with similar degrees to identify industries/career fields/employers.
  • You can find connections and get introduced through them to people in their network.
  • Important things to remember:
    • Get a customizable URL
    • Utilize your summary space
    • Post, like, share daily to reach a larger audience
    • Just like a resume—use numbers!
    • Remember to update your profile with a new job/skill
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations
    • Don’t connect with people you’ve never met without an introduction
  • Resources:
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2017/01/15/linkedin-101-how-to-craft-a-stellar-profile/#356276d05379
  • https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-create-killer-linkedin-profile-get-you-noticed-bernard-marr
  • https://www.inc.com/john-nemo/how-to-create-a-killer-linkedin-profile.html

 

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!

Farewell FY17

My dear SWE members,

This is my last official post to you as Graduate Member Coordinator. Fiscal Year 2017 has come to an end and I leave you in the very capable hands of Genevieve Kane. This upcoming year promises to be one filled with exciting new initiatives which Genevieve and the rest of the team will champion.

Looking back, this year has been a great year for SWE and the Graduate Community. We saw our influence within the Society grow to record levels. By the numbers:

  • 70+ graduate students at the We16 GradSWE reception
  • 6 webinars hosted
  • 21 Grad Member and Group spotlights
  • Blog: 6405 visitors, 10314 views (19% and 9% increases from FY16 July-May)
  • Facebook: 465 likes (40% increase since start of FY17)
  • Twitter: 190 followers
  • LinkedIn: 130 members
  • Instagram: 88 followers

Now, I wish all of you success in your future endeavors. Good luck with your classes, jobs, and research. I believe in each and every one of you and your power as a Woman and as an Engineer. Thank you all for allowing me to the honor of serving you this past year.

Sincerely yours,
Liz Dreyer

PS – Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn if you want to stay in touch!

Call for FY18 Coordinators

Call for FY18 Coordinators

Get more involved with SWE as a graduate student!

The Graduate Leadership Team (consisting of the Graduate Member Coordinator, the Graduate Programming Coordinator, and their coordinator-elects) is looking for new coordinators for FY18, starting in July 2017!  This is a great opportunity for grad students to get involved in the SWE Grad Community. The four positions are:

Graduate Member Coordinator-Elect (GMC-Elect): Supports the Graduate Member Coordinator in working to foster a strong community and network for graduate students in SWE by facilitating communication between graduate students in SWE and SWE graduate student groups, and by representing the interests of graduate students to the Society. The GMC-Elect assists the GMC, in preparation for assuming the GMC role the following year.

Social Media Coordinator (SMC): Ensures that all the Graduate Community social media and online outlets have current and regular content in order to allow graduate students to stay up to date on relevant information.

Webinars Coordinator (WC): Assist in coordinating the webinars hosted by the Graduate SWE community, by selecting topics, inviting speakers, and coordinating logistics with SWE headquarters to ensure webinars are advertised and routinely presented

Mentorship Coordinator (MC): .The mentorship coordinator will assist in the development and implementation of GradSWE’s new mentorship program.  Tasks include soliciting for mentors, keeping track of mentor/mentee applications, and making mentorship pairings.  

The applications are due by April 01 2017 11:59 pm CDT (Midnight).

Note that the GMC-Elect position requires the SWE HQ Committee Chair application. The SMC, WC and MC application includes an area where you indicate whether or not you submitted the GMC-Elect application and allows you to rank your preferences. Both applications require similar information and responses, but please make sure to follow the directions!

Applicants will be notified within the week after the deadline if there any additional questions and to schedule a phone interview. If you have any questions, please contact Genevieve at grad-coordinator-elect@swe.org.

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Call for applications: GPC-Elect!

Application link: https://goo.gl/forms/I94FgKeEtFeOgTnl2

Are you excited about the growing number of opportunities for graduate students in SWE on the national level? Did you attend WE16 and gain lots of inspiration and ideas to better serve the graduate community? Do you in any shape or form want to play a role in continuing to grow graduate student programs on the national level? If you said yes to any of these, you should apply to be the Graduate Programming Coordinator-Elect (GPC-elect)!

Each year the GPC-elect works alongside the GPC to construct and formulate the agenda of events for graduate students at the national conference. Through the GPC-elect role, you get to work with a wonderful team of ladies to help shape sessions impacting the SWE graduate community nationwide (and beyond)! Additionally, there are numerous networking opportunities accompanying this role where you will create long-lasting connections as you serve as GPC-elect for WE17 and GPC for WE18.

Applications are due by Sunday, January 8 at 11:59 PST. Follow the link above to apply!