Grad Member Spotlight: Aqsa Fulara

aqsa-fularaAqsa Fulara

M.S., Engineering Management

University of Southern California

A member of the SWE since 2015, Aqsa actively serves the graduate and undergraduate community at USC. At USC, she is involved with other student organizations that work closely with SWE at USC, like the Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA), Engineering Management Student Association (EMSA), and most recently the Business Technology Networking Group (BTNG). During her time with these organizations, Aqsa works to bring professional development and networking opportunities in order to secure industry jobs, by planning Company Information Sessions, Tech Panels, Mentoring programs and Social Mixers. Aqsa also served as a liaison between the ISE graduate students and the USC Graduate Office as a Senator with VGSA.

In addition to her extracurricular involvement, Aqsa has excelled in her academics. She received a scholarship during her undergrad in India, based on merit-CET marks. She also actively participates at several competitions, and has been a finalist at several competitions, some of which include USC Marshall Datathon 2016, WCE Elite Feats Startup Pitch Competition(India) and MEMPC Business Simulation Game(USC). Congratulations, Aqsa, 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 currently in my last semester at USC pursuing Masters in Engineering Management, with a focus on data and business analysis. I expect to graduate in May 2017. I have my bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering from Walchand College of Engineering, India.

Give a brief explanation of your industry experience.
My major is very industry focused, and gives an opportunity to advance and excel in your undergrad area of expertise. I am fortunate to have multiple internship experiences. Most recent ones include the Technical Solutions Intern at CornerStone OnDemand, Santa Monica. Another notable includes my time at SoCalGas, Los Angeles as an intern with the e-Services team, mainly as a Business Analyst.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I am very focused on using technology within organizations. I plan to pursue a career in industry, and fulfill a role at the interface between technology and business. I aspire to grow as a leader and manager in a role where I can contribute to project and product management, as well as innovation in technology.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I go for the zumba classes. I also like meeting new people, shopping and traveling. In California, I also enjoy the beaches.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I am a foodie, and have tried over 10 different cuisines. I have also never enjoyed junk food, and am a huge preacher of healthy foods!

BeHEARD Challenge

The 2016/2017 Rare Genomics Institute BeHEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) Challenge, which provides technology grants for rare disease research, has launched, and invites you to apply or spread the word! We have over $650,000 of technologies available for applicants to choose from. This competition is hosted annually by the Rare Genomics Institute and is open globally to researchers, foundations, or anyone whose research is constrained due to limited resources.

We partner with companies to provide free technology grants such as mouse models, genome analysis software, and cell lines. Applicants select one or more technologies that they think would benefit their research, and submit a proposal for each technology. Research proposals are evaluated by an expert panel of scientists, RG staff, and company representatives, who determine winners for each technology based on the technology’s fit with the research and the potential for the research to advance rare disease treatments. The application is short (~2 pages) and very straightforward.

For more information on the competition and the application, please visit our website: deadline for applications is February 28, 2017.

Director, Danielle Fumagalli, at

For more information on RGI’s cutting-edge work visit our website at

Upcoming Local Conferences

The season of region and local conferences is fast approaching. Are you excited yet? I am! I’ve compiled a list of the upcoming conferences. I hope you are all registered and excited to attend.

Send us your pictures from region conference so we can share them on our instagram. Share using #SWEGrad.

February 9-12

  • Region B conference at Hilton Irvine/Orange County Airport: website

February 17-19

  • Region C conference in College Station, TX: website
  • WE Local Pittsburgh at Omni William Penn Hotel, including Region G: website

February 24-26

  • WE Local San Jose at San Jose Marriott, including Regions A & J: website
  • Region E conference in Syracuse, NY: website
  • Region F conference in Storrs, CT: website (02/25-26 only)
  • Region i conference in St. Louis, MO: website

March 9-11 & March 10-12

  • Region D conference in Atlanta, GA: website (03/9-11)
  • Region H conference in Ann Arbor, MI: website (03/10-12)

March 22-24

  • WE Local Pune at Hyatt Regency: website

May 17-19

  • WE Local Amsterdam at Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre: website

In 2018, the entire society is transitioning to WE Local style conferences. The locations have been announced here with the dates still to be determined. To learn more, review the WE Local Overview Guide.

Grad Member Spotlight: 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.

Data Science Fellowship/Incubator

The Data Incubator is an intensive 8 week fellowship that prepares masters students, PhDs, and postdocs in STEM and social science fields seeking industry careers as data scientists. The program is free for Fellows and supported by sponsorships from hundreds of employers across multiple industries. In response to the overwhelming interest in our earlier sessions, we will be holding another fellowship.

Who Should Apply: Anyone who has already obtained a masters or PhD degree or who is within one year of graduating with a masters or PhD is welcome to apply. Applications from international students are welcome. Everyone else is encouraged to sign-up for a future session.

Locations: In addition to the below in-person locations, we will have a remote online session:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • Washington, DC.

Dates: All sections will be from 2017-03-27 to 2017-05-19.

Application Link:

Data Science in 30 minutes: Learn how to build a data-science project in our upcoming free Data Science in 30-minutes webcast. Signup soon as space is limited.


Grad Member Spotlight: Homa Fartash

Grad Member Spotlight: Homa Fartash

homaHoma Fartash

PhD student, Civil Engineering

Florida International University

Homa has been a member of SWE since fall 2014. Currently, she serves as the graduate representative for Florida International University’s SWE section. In this role, she plans workshops to introduce graduate programs to undergraduate students and also provides the sponsorship packet to advertise the chapter and provide financial support for chapter activities.

Homa has received many awards for her research in transportation including the Bill McGrath Transportation Studies Scholarship and the Henry P. Boggs Best Student Paper Award by the Florida Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. She has also received numerous scholarships. Congratulations, Homa, 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 Ph.D. Candidate in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Transportation Engineering at Florida International University (FIU) studying my third year of the program. I am expected to graduate in Fall 2017.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
My major focus is on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Currently, I am working on my dissertation titled “Developing Guidelines for Ramp Signaling Deployments in Real-Time Operations”. Ramp metering is one of the traffic management strategies which regulates the entering flow to the freeway by installing signals at on-ramps. The goal of this research is to develop guidelines for installation and activation of ramp metering under recurrent and non-recurrent conditions so that the whole system can benefit from it. For this purpose, local traffic condition near the subject ramp as well as system-wide traffic conditions on the freeway are considered. Moreover, real-time activation of ramp metering for alleviating the congestion due to non-recurrent traffic conditions such as incident and/or adverse weather is also addressed in this research.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
After earning my Ph.D. degree, I hope to join transportation industry and have the opportunity to work on different aspects of transportation. I would not limit myself to the areas which I already studied. In fact, I enjoy being challenged and be a lifetime student.
Teaching is a hobby of mine which I hope to be a part of my future career. My goal is to be an effective professional and a successful leader.

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

Shopping, reading, web surfing, and spending time with my family and friends are my hobbies. In my free time, I truly enjoy spending time with my husband.

Other than SWE, I am the president of FIU Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) student Chapter and Membership Chair of the South Florida Women’s Transportation Seminar (SFWTS). I truly enjoy being involved in these organizations and their activities.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I am a passionate soccer fan specially when it comes to our national team.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year SWE Grad Community!

2016 was a great year for SWE. This infographic from SWE’s Year in Review article shows how busy the Society has been. 2016 has also been great for the SWE Grad Community. From seeing our own social media presence grow to having record numbers at the We16 Grad Student Reception, our progress is due to all of you. Stay awesome in 2017 everyone!