Meet our WE18 Sponsors: Praxair


We are pleased to announce Praxair is sponsoring the Graduate Student Reception (Friday, October 19th at 5:00 pm) and the Rapid Fire research presentation competition at WE18. Through this sponsorship, Praxair and GradSWE members can connect for networking, professional development, and career opportunities. Praxair is interested in students like you!

Praxair is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide. With market capitalization of approximately $40 billion and 2017 sales of $11 billion, the company employs over 26,000 people globally and has been named to the Dow Jones® World Sustainability Index for 15 consecutive years. Praxair produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Our products, services and technologies are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others.

Check out their career areas and/or career opportunities for more information. If you’d like, feel free to explore their social media on LinkedIn and Instagram!


Graduate Member Spotlight: Rasika Bhalerao

Graduate Member Spotlight

Rasika Bhalerao


Computer Science

Expected Graduation Date: 2021

New York University

Rasika has been involved in SWE since her freshman year of undergrad at the University of Washington, when she joined the section of about 30 students. During her second year, she served as a Director of Evening With Industry, an annual 1000-student career fair and 200-member banquet. During her junior and senior years, she served as the treasurer of UW’s section. By the time she graduated, the section had over 400 students, and she greatly enjoyed watching it grow. This year, she is the Social Media Coordinator for the SWE Grad Leadership Team, and continues to work on her graduate degree at NYU. She has been to several SWE conferences, and you may see her at one soon!

Rasika’s hard work and dedication go further than SWE alone. She has been involved in acapella, and her most cherished award is the one that her acapella group named after her, the Rasika Bhalerao Award, in 2017. It is awarded to the most helpful and caring member. She also works as a teaching assistant in the Computer Science department.

Rasika’s research is focused on applying machine learning and natural language processing tools to cybersecurity. She is currently working on a project analyzing cybercriminal underground forums.

Rasika is keeping her options open for her future career opportunities. Her love of teaching (and research interests) inspire her to pursue a career in academia. She is also, however, currently making strong industry connections in her field.

Outside of computer science, Rasika enjoys playing the piano and rock climbing.

Fun Fact about Rasika: Despite being allergic to cats, Rasika participates in a cat fostering program.


The Importance of “Me time”

Now that our semesters are in full swing, it is easy to forget to set aside time for yourself. Is your to-do list growing ever longer? Number of emails unread in your inbox constantly increasing? Take a deep breath and step back for a minute. Here are some good tips for returning some calmness to your life:


  1. Check out this “meditation” trend everyone is talking about! The reason there is so much chatter is because meditation can actually help you reset, reduce stress, control anxiety, and even sleep better. Try to build a short meditation into your schedule – to start and/or end your day, and bring more clarity to your life. Once it is a habit, you will reduce the overall stress and anxiety in your life.
  2. Schedule time to work out or exercise. Yoga goes hand-in-hand with meditation and can kill two birds with one stone – you can get the great endorphins from the exercise, as well as the the calming benefits of meditation. While the fall weather starts up, take advantage of the outdoors – go for a short hike, bike ride, or even try a couple of runs! Be sure to check out what you local gym offers – group fitness is a great way to make friends and get your exercise in.
  3. Make a personal to-do list, and set aside time to complete “tasks” which make you happy. Even if this means setting aside time to do laundry, or cook a nice meal, if it will enhance your life and reduce your stress, make the time for it!
  4. Consider taking up a diary or a bullet journal. Be sure to write about the positive things that have happened in your life – take maybe twenty minutes per day. If you ever start to have a bad day, just flip through the book and remember all the successes you have had thus far.
  5. Stay in touch with friends and family! Graduate school can be very fast-paced and isolating. Be sure to pencil in time to call and chat with family and friends. Do you have experiments with long wait steps? Give someone a call, and escape grad school for a little bit.
  6. Schedule small day trips around your university – be sure to truly live in the city you live in! Do you live near lots of parks? Do you live near a big city? Take advantage of your location! You may not live here for the rest of your life, so take the time to check it out.


As we head into a busy fall, be sure to keep yourself a priority. There is always time for more research, but mental health and comfort cannot be overlooked. Try out one or two of these strategies and see if they have a positive impact on your life. Do you have other suggestions of ways to deal with stress and ensure you are a priority in your own life? What works best for you? Share below!

Meet our WE18 Sponsors: Autodesk

Image result for autodesk logo

We are pleased to announce Autodesk is sponsoring the Graduate Student Reception at WE18 (Friday, October 19th at 5:00 pm). Through this sponsorship, Autodesk and GradSWE members can connect for networking, professional development, and career opportunities. Autodesk is interested in students like you! They hire interns in many business functions including Engineering, Design, and Business so feel free to come prepared with questions you may have about their program!

Whether you are attending the conference or not, be sure to check out their Careers Page for more information. Learn about their career opportunities for graduating students.

Check out their LinkedIn and even their Instagram!

Graduate Member Spotlight: Megan Beck

Graduate Member Spotlight: Megan Beck

Graduate Member Spotlight

Megan E. Beck


Materials Science and Engineering

Expected Graduation Date: Summer 2019

Northwestern University

This year, we are excited to have Megan Beck serve as our Graduate Programming Coordinator, where she has been instrumental in ensuring there is a graduate student presence at WE18. She has organized abstract submissions by graduate students and is organizing the graduate student meeting at WE18. Her hard work has ensured the graduate presence at annual conference so if you are planning to attend conference, be sure to meet Megan! Before she joined the societal GradSWE team, Megan gained substantial SWE experience at the section-level. She has worked diligently over the last two years to establish and grow a GradSWE group at Northwestern University. Her work has paid off, as the group is officially recognized by NU, and they have secured a $3000 grant to fund a suite of professional development, outreach, and social programming.

Megan has also been involved in her graduate community outside of SWE. She has worked over the last year and a half to co-found a new group in her department (Material Science and Engineering). This new group, Materials Science Alliance for an Inclusive Community (MatSAIC), advocates for inclusion and diversity in STEM fields. The group works to promote interactions between graduate students and professors from a variety of backgrounds by inviting Materials Science and Engineering Department colloquium speakers who demonstrate outstanding efforts in promoting inclusion in STEM to take part in the quarterly MatSAIC seminar series on their own experiences and how they promote diversity and inclusion. She also serves on the NU Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Student Leadership Team.

Megan has proved her technical merit and has been recognized with a long list of awards. Most significantly, she was awarded fellowships though both the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduation Research Fellowship program. Megan has demonstrated great interest and skill in teaching and has received a Teaching Certificate from Northwestern SEARLE Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. This summer, she was selected by the Kellogg School of Management at NU and received a Management for Scientist and Engineers Certificate.


Research Topic: Self-Aligned van der Waals Heterojunction Diodes and Transistors

Because numerous novel and attractive properties have been revealed in atomically thin, low-dimensional materials, it is possible to envision a future comprised of low-power, tunable, flexible, ultra thin devices. Toward this goal, it is necessary to develop fabrication methods specifically for these atomically thin materials instead of relying on the conventional silicon based methods.  Megan’s Ph.D. research at Northwestern University has focused on developing device fabrication processes that allow us to fully leverage the properties of low-dimensional materials and make more complicated electronic device geometries. Specifically she and her team developed a processing platform that has (1) minimized short-channel effects (channel lengths < 200nm) and improve current saturation in MoS2 transistors, (2) enabled dual-gate control of antiambipolar behavior in MoS2-black phosphorus thin-film junctions via e-beam lithography and (3) been adapted to wafer-scale processing via photolithography for dual-gated self-aligned MoS2-CNT heterojunctions. Overall, this self-aligned fabrication method represents an important step toward the scalable integration of van der Waals heterojunction devices into more sophisticated circuits and systems.

After graduation, Megan sees herself working in scientific consulting or R&D in the semiconductor industry. Outside of her technical endeavors, Megan is very involved in her church community and spends her free time cooking, crocheting, and playing with her rat terrier, Una.

Fun fact about Megan: Megan grew up in a small town (pop. 2400) in rural northern Idaho. She is one of a handful of people from her town who moved more than an hour away for their undergraduate degree and one of an even smaller number that left the state after undergrad.



Graduate Member Spotlight: Shreya Dwarakanath

Graduate Member Spotlight

Shreya Dwarakanath


Materials Science and Engineering

Expected Graduation Date: 2019

Georgia Institute of Technology  


Shreya is very active in GradSWE and currently holds the role of International Graduate Team Leader on the Societal GradSWE Team. She hopes to expand the international team and create additional resources for the growing international graduate section.  She joined SWE in 2015 and has been to the WE15 conference.

At Georgia Tech, she held the role of Industry Relations in FY15, where she initiated and led several activities involving mentoring, leadership, technical guidance, and professional development. As part of the board of GradSWE at Georgia Tech, Shreya initiated and led activities involving professional development, technical guidance, and mentoring  by organizing panel discussions, networking events and social events. Shreya has also been a part of the Leadership education and development (LEAD) programs at Georgia Tech and helped frame the teams for tech initiative. She has been a teaching assistant for 4 courses including 2 laboratory courses where she led lab sessions and taught students clean room based fabrication procedures as well as trained students on materials characterization techniques and data analysis.


Thesis Topic: Electronics Packaging


Shreya’s research interests include inorganic-organic hybrid polymers and interfaces, automotive electronics, and  high-temperature reliability characterization. Her current research looks at improving the interfacial adhesion between polymer dielectrics and metal layers. She has given two oral presentations at IEEE Electronic Components and Technology Conference (IEEE ECTC- 2017 & 2018) and several poster presentations. Shreya’s work has been recognized with awards such as the Best Student Paper at International Microelectronics and Packaging Symposium (IMAPS), and the best session for advanced electronics in 2016. She also placed second in the poster competition for Future Car Electronics (FCE).

Shreya received the Jewell Fellowship for Fall 2018 based on her academic achievements and service to Georgia Tech. She was also awarded the Scheller School of Business Dean’s Fellowship on merit basis to pursue a fully funded joint MBA at Georgia Tech. As an undergraduate, Shreya received the Ministry of Steel scholarship, which funded three years of tuition.

After graduating, Shreya plans to leverage her skills in order to work on projects that connect science, technology, business, and people. She is passionate about technology improving lives and wants to influence how technology can help solve challenging social problems.

       Outside of work, Shreya loves new experiences and enjoys to travel, follow her on insta at @shreyad001. She recently went tandem skydiving from 13,000 feet! She likes going to concerts, and can also occasionally be heard strumming her guitar along with the latest pop singles. She also enjoys exercising, dancing, and spending time with friends.


Fun Fact from Shreya: Shreya has a pet bamboo plant named Freya!



Shreya Dwarakanath 2017 Full Time MBA Student Scheller College of Business Georgia Institute of Technology

Career decisions for Ph.D. students

Career decisions for graduate students can be challenging, especially for Ph.D. students. There is often a presupposition that a good Ph.D. student would stay in academia and they might have wasted their time getting a Ph.D. if they want to go into industry afterward!

This dim outlook has put pressure on many graduate students and led to stress and anxiety. There have been many studies on graduate students’ mental health under the pressure of finding their place in the job market, one of which is the great paper by T. M. Evans et al, “Evidence for a mental health crisis in graduate education”.

What I would like to emphasize is that we should not let the fear of anyone’s judgment or the perception of a lack of opportunities define our future. Moreover, we should remember that leaving academia is not a failure! More important than focusing on our research is to develop self-awareness, and there are multiple resources out there that I will share in my future posts. With greater self-awareness, we will choose the best path for our career and thus we will invest our time on what we are truly passionate about which is going to result only in better outcomes.

To gain better self-awareness, we should consciously observe our experience during our life in grad school, and note the aspects we enjoy more. We should also appreciate that after all our hard work, we deserve to follow a career that brings us joy and comfort, and this is likely going to be different for each of us.

Some of us find the best place to satisfy our curiosity at university labs, while others prefer to experience a job that has a more immediate impact on society, or even a job with more family-friendly working hours. The only thing that we should be cautious about is that our choice is an informed decision based on self-awareness. Here are some steps to give ourselves the opportunity to explore more areas and make better decisions:

  • Throughout your Ph.D. you have the opportunity to complete various tasks. Tasks like collecting data, running experiments, data processing, programming, presentation, mentoring, and many more. Try to do them consciously, to figure out which category of activities are more enjoyable to you and try to focus on those.  Remember these tasks, and look for a career which allows you to perform these types of jobs, and will result in a more pleasant working environment for you.
  • Do research about the jobs out there in your field and try to gain some experience in them. There are many ways you can gain information about different professions related to your expertise aside from reading online articles and job offers. Try to maintain connections with people you meet at conferences, for example through Linkedin, so that they remember you when you need an advice. Talk to these connections, and ask them about their job experience.
  • Go out there and experience new career opportunities yourself. If possible, do an internship to see how you like the experience of an industry job. You can also volunteer or ask to shadow professionals in the industry, public policy, science communication, or other fields. Look for short programs and conferences that seek to expose graduate students to new areas of work.

This post was inspired by the article posted on the Nature website. If you enjoyed this post, please read the full article. Also feel free to leave comments below, or share your thoughts through email.