Practice your research talk and get feedback! Submit Abstract for the WE Local Collegiate Competition

Do you want to refine your ability to explain your research to other engineers? Want a chance to present your research at a SWE conference? Participate in WE Local Collegiate Competition. WE Local is now accepting online abstract submissions for the WE Local Collegiate Competition. Submit your abstract before the deadline of Friday, November 2, 2018. Questions about the WE Local Collegiate Competition can be directed to

The WE Local Collegiate Competition is a great way to share your research with a broad technical audience who can offer support, insight, and constructive feedback. Finalists will be selected from the submitted abstracts for the collegiate competition and are required to compete onsite at a WE Local conference in all categories: poster, lightning talk, and face-to-face judging! Graduate students are highly encouraged to submit abstracts summarizing their graduate research, co-ops/internships or external research experience to the Graduate Collegiate Competition. This allows for students to learn and gain insight on their research, and to receive live responses and encouragement from judges. The judges will consist of professional members from academia, industry, and government within the STEM field.

As a Finalists of the WE Local Collegiate Competition, you will receive a $250 travel stipend and complimentary collegiate premier registration to compete in the technical poster competition at the conference site to which you applied.  You will also be recognized during the WE Achieve awards ceremony where three finalists from each category will be awarded first, second, and third place. Do you want to know more about what WE Local competition offers you as a Graduate Student? Read what one of the former WE Local Finalists had to say about it!

Don’t forget to enter the WE Local Collegiate Competition! Submit your abstract before the deadline of Friday, November 2, 2018.


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.

Grad Group Spotlight: Yale

yaleWhen did your group start?

GradSWE at Yale has existed since the summer of 2014 and led the push to get Yale SWE recognized as an official collegiate SWE section. Yale SWE’s current president, Bridget Hegarty, held an initial meeting at that time to determine if there was interest in starting a graduate SWE group. Nearly 15 people showed up, and a group of five of us formed the first eboard.

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)?

Our section structure consists of an eboard of both graduate and undergraduate students that oversees two relatively independent committees–one grad and one undergrad. The grad and undergrad committees perform most of the day-to-day operations of Yale SWE. Our gradSWE committee has eight core members, including two co-directors and a number of chair positions (e.g. outreach chair, professional development chair, diversity chair, etc.). We find that this structure enables each committee member to take ownership of one or two events in their area of focus each semester, minimizing the number of group meetings required (important for busy grad students). For grad-specific events, we typically request funding on an event-by-event basis from the Graduate Student Life office and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. For events geared towards both grads and undergrads, we allocate money in the Yale SWE budget, which is provided by the School of Engineering and Applied Science each year.

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

We hold events across four broad categories: community building, diversity awareness, professional development, and outreach/mentoring. Through our events we seek to support female graduate students in engineering, both personally and professionally. Our events are open to the entire Yale community, but are tailored to the needs of graduate students. Our events draw anywhere from 10-20 people for our informal study breaks to 30-50 people for our larger events, such as our annual Gender Bias Workshop and Etiquette Dinner. We have an event every month during the fall, every two weeks during the spring semester, and once over the summer.

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

We are very proud of our yearly Gender Bias Workshop. It was one of the first major events hosted by gradSWE and is widely attended by both male and female graduate students from a variety of departments. During its first year, we invited Eva Pietri, a postdoctoral researcher in social psychology at Yale, to discuss her work combatting gender bias in STEM fields. She developed a series of entertaining situational videos designed to increase the viewer’s awareness of implicit bias. Although she has now moved on from Yale, we still show the videos each year and ask a student from her lab to moderate a discussion about implicit bias and the ways we can address it in our own lives.

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


  • If you are considering starting a grad group, we suggest beginning by holding an information session to see how much interest there is in SWE at the grad level. We found that many grad students were interested in attending and helping to plan SWE events that were tailored to our specific needs.
  • Surveys can be very useful in learning what types of events grad students are looking for. This can vary over time depending on the goals and interests of your members, so make sure to send these surveys at the beginning and end of each year.
  • Initially, finding funding was challenging for us. Oftentimes, there are more funding sources available to undergraduates than to grad students. If your school allows it, we’ve found it very useful to submit a combined budget that can be used for both undergrad and grad events.


  • Collaborating with other grad student groups is helpful to increase event attendance as well as awareness of your gradSWE group. When we have events with a large number of non-engineers, we give a brief overview of our mission at the beginning of the event.
  • Getting first year students involved in the planning of events has been very useful in ensuring continuity from year to year. We have a first-year liaison on our gradSWE committee to allow first years to get involved from the beginning.

What type of outreach activities does your group organize?

K-12 STEM outreach is a large part of our grad group’s mission. Each semester we host at least one event with our largest event, a day-long Engineering Day for middle schoolers, happening each spring. Last year, this event brought 33 New Haven students to Yale’s campus, where they performed hands-on activities and built their own light-tracking robots. This year, we are expanding our outreach endeavors to high schoolers and will be hosting another engineering day, focusing on building a self-watering garden, in December. We host our outreach events in collaboration with the Yale Pathways to Science program, an initiative for students in grades 6-12 designed to promote the sciences, particularly among underrepresented groups. Pathways provides us with the resources and student population for our events, which allows us to focus on crafting innovative and challenging activities for the students. Through these events, we seek to expose students, particularly girls, to engineering and inspire them to pursue STEM further.

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

To learn more about gradSWE at Yale and to join our group, people can visit our website or Facebook page or email us at

Graduate Community Events at WE16!

Mark your calendars for these events hosted by the SWE Graduate Community! We have grad student sessions each day. Also monitor our social media pages for real-time updates about the sessions and other social events! See the image below for links to our various social media pages, and talk up these sessions at the conference!



Welcome to FY17: GradSWE Edition

Welcome to FY17: GradSWE Edition

Welcome to a new fiscal year of SWE! Last year brought about many changes to the Society and the SWE Grad Community. I am confident that this year will bring about even more.

As we begin a new year for the SWE Grad Community, I’d like to introduce the rest of the Grad Community Leadership team. Our team for FY17 is:

  • Graduate Member Coordinator (GMC): Liz Dreyer – University of Michigan
  • GMC-Elect: Genevieve Kane – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Graduate Programming Coordinator (GPC): Rachel Unruh – Texas A&M
  • GPC-Elect: Emily Hoffman – Northwestern University
  • Social Media Coordinator (SMC): Allie Anderson – Colorado School of Mines
  • Webinar Coordinator (WC): Celine Liong – Stanford University

You can read a short bio about each person here:

Goals for FY17

This year, I have many goals for our community. I’d also love to hear from all of you on what you’d like to see the grad community do as well. Feel free to email me at (or comment below or on any of our social media) with any and all ideas on how the grad community can better serve your needs.

Some of the plans include:

  • Continued use of social media to reach out and connect SWE grad student members.
  • Increase awareness of graduate student members within Professional sections or with Professional grade memberships. Did you know? Approximately half of SWE grad members are within Professional sections.
  • Improve resources and knowledge sharing for grad students and SWE grad groups.

How to get involved

This upcoming year is full of ways to increase your involvement with the SWE Grad Community. Below are a few examples.

  1. Become a Region Grad Rep. Some Regions still need RGRs for FY17. Contact your RGR to see if the position will is available.
  2. Participate in your local SWE Grad Group or start one within your SWE section. Current SWE Grad Groups are listed here.
  3. Attend We16 in Philadelphia, PA: Members of the SWE Grad Community will be attending and active again this year!
  4. Write a guest blog post for the SWE blog. Contact Liz at
  5. Ask the SWE Grad Community a question and start up a conversation about important issues. Submit them here.
  6. Engage with us on social media:
    Facebook page:

Again, I look forward to serving you this year and seeing the SWE Grad Community continue to grow.

Liz Dreyer

FY16 Highlights & Memories


It’s hard to believe that FY16 is coming to a close! It has been such an honor serving the Graduate Community as the SWE Graduate Community Graduate Member Coordinator over the past year, as the GMC-Elect during FY15, and as the Regional Conference Coordinator during FY14. SWE has been such a big part of my life ever since starting college nearly 10 years ago. My involvement in and the benefits I have received from SWE have evolved as I progressed through my undergrad and graduate careers and now as I move into my professional career. WE16’s theme definitely encapsulates how I view SWE – Life’s Variable: SWE’s Your Constant. I hope all of you have also seen many of the benefits that SWE offers you regardless of what life stage you find yourself in. Moreover, I hope you have found the Graduate Community to be a helpful resource.

My goal as Graduate Member Coordinator was to increase our grad student participation in SWE through an increased social media presence, increased annual and regional conference participation, and to reach out to those not already aware of the Graduate Community. To accomplish this increase in online participation, we first established the Social Media Coordinator role. We then created a Twitter and LinkedIn platform, and transitioned from a Facebook group to a page, so that Grad Community members could access information through whatever platform they prefer. We started the Grad Member/Group Spotlight to highlight the amazing things Grad Members and Grad SWE groups are accomplishing throughout the world. The Grad Community Newsletter is a recent establishment as well and provides Grad Community updates straight to your email inbox on a bi-weekly basis. Both the Spotlight and Newsletter pages are new to the Blog to keep records of all these great things. Also new to the blog are the Funding/Employment, FAQ, and Resource pages.

We had great participation at the annual conference in Nashville, TN this year and made many new friends at WE15 thanks to our Grad Community sign and constant posting on Facebook and Twitter. Many people found us for the keynotes, Celebrate SWE!, and other fun activities. Regional conferences were successful as well with many poster competitions being regular events and grad student friendly sessions being offered.

We’ve reached out to grad students who are not aware that they can be involved in SWE as graduate students through our Grad Region Points of Contact, as well as creating and promoting the Membership Toolkit items to collegiate and professional sections. Many of our graduate leadership team and Grad Region POCs spoke to their regions at Region Conferences this year to further get the message out about the Grad Community. At WE15, I spoke with Region Governors as well as the Counselors and Faculty Advisors to further spread the Grad Community message.

Well, those are lots of words. We’re engineers and scientists, how about some numbers to illustrate the impact we’ve had this year? Keep in mind: (1) we started with zero Twitter and LinkedIn followers, since we created both this year; and (2) we moved to a Facebook page, so all the likes are new. These numbers are as of 19 June 2016.

  • Twitter followers: 114
  • Twitter likes: 10
  • Tweets: 251
  • LinkedIn members: 88
  • Facebook: 329 likes
  • Facebook highest reach: 1408 (April 4, 2016)
  • Blog views so far in 2016: 5204
  • Blog visitors so far in 2016: 3028
  • 2016 Blog traffic set to surpass 2015 traffic (7853 views, 4232 visitors) and 2014 traffic as well (6284 views, 3285 visitors)
  • Email subscribers at the end of FY16: over 3000! An incredible increase from about 200 subscribers going backwards from FY15.

Wow! What a story those numbers tell! Thank you all for a fantastic year! Thank you to the FY16 fantastic Graduate Community Leadership Team – Liz Dreyer, GMC-Elect; Richelle Thomas, WE15 GPC; Rachel Unruh, WE16 GPC; Emily Hoffman, WE17 GPC; Allie Anderson, Social Media Coordinator; Judy Amanor-Boadu, Webinar Coordinator; Meisha Berg, Regional Conference Coordinator. They all did a fantastic job this year!

I leave you in the tremendously capable hands of Liz Dreyer. I have no doubt that she will continue this fantastic trend of increasing graduate student participation and expand on it even more during FY17!

Yours in SWE,

Katharine Gamble, FY16 SWE Graduate Member Coordinator

SWE Grad Newsletter – 17 May 2016

Hello Grad Community!

In this newsletter:

  1. Leadership Coaching Committee looking for members
  2. Upcoming webinar: Writing Recommendation Letters
  3. New funding opportunity on the blog
  4. Looking to form virtual team of female engineers and scientists to solve NASA problems
  5. Grad Community Spotlights
  6. Book your WE16 room now!
  7. Follow us on Social Media!

(1) Leadership Coaching Community looking for members

The Leadership Coaching Committee provides proactive leadership coaching to SWE organizational units, including sections, regions, and MALs.  Trained Leadership Coaches provide Society leadership with the coaching and support essential to maintaining healthy, vital, and growing section, region, and MAL organizations.  Training modules on various aspects of SWE operations, and/or necessary leadership and management skills for SWE success, are delivered to sections via local venues, delivered to sections and regions through the Region Conferences, and are delivered to all members of SWE at the Society Annual Conference.

Leadership Coaches have prior SWE leadership experience which is essential in having the perspective needed to tackle section and region roadblocks and hurdles. Leadership Coaches can have either a professional or collegiate section focus.

There is especially a need for coaches in Regions F and G, as well as professional focused coaches in Region H.

If you are interested in being part of the Leadership Coaching Committee please contact your region lead or the FY16 LCC Chair Faith Chu at

(2) Upcoming Webinar: Writing Recommendation Letters

Wed, May 25, 2016 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

This webinar will present how to write recommendation letters for various applications, such as jobs, scholarships, fellowships, research positions and awards. Multiple aspects will be discussed, including strategies to gather student information, FERPA policy, ePortfolios, as well as pitfalls to avoid. The audience will be able to have sample recommendation letters by the end of this webinar.

Register here:

(3) New funding opportunity on Blog

NASA has released a new fellowship — read more on the blog!

Don’t forget to check out the other fellowship, funding, and employment opportunities!

(4) Looking to form virtual team of female engineers and scientists to solve NASA problems

Looking for collegiate or professional women with engineering or scientific backgrounds(or studying engineering). Basically NASA is looking for civilians to volunteer in contributing to projects that they are currently trying to solve. These projects involve the earth, mars, the space station, etc. You can work individually or in teams, virtually or at a local event. I was just hoping that with the help of your organization, I can try to organize a virtual team of women engineers or scientists who are interested in volunteering in this program. I also believe that it can be a great way to network as well. The application process is online and totally free and doesn’t take long for approval. Want to get involved? Contact Courtney Sanders –

(5) Grad Community Spotlights

Did you see the most recent Spotlight?

Stanford Grad SWE (16 May 2016):

Do you know someone (or yourself) or a Grad Group who deserves recognition? Submit their name here:

(6) 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

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

(7) Follow us on social media!


Facebook page:



As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at!