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.

LBNL Nanofabrication Fellowships

A number of industry employment positions are available at a semiconductor company located near Berkeley, in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) in the fields of nano fabrication, nanocharacterization. The candidates will have research opportunities at the Lawrence Berkeley Molecular Foundry while working for industry.

A. Post-docs and PhD students
If you are a post-doc or a graduating PhD student with any Nanofabrication/Nanocharacterization/Synthesis (Material Science, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics,  Engineering) experience (clean room, deposition, AFM, SEM, TEM), and a US citizen/US Permanent resident please review this opportunity for a two year fellowship in industry: $75K/year plus health benefits. This is an NSF/ ASEE fellowship.
Contact: for more information
B. Masters and Undergraduate Students
B. If you are a graduating masters or undergraduate student (Material Science, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Engineering) with Nanofab/Nanocharacterization experience and seek a full time opportunity for one year as part of an exciting start-up company at LBNL please review this Applied Research Fellowship opportunity: ($40/yr-$60K/yr depending on experience) US. A $10K travel fellowship is also provided with the opportunity for attending research conferences. (US Citizen/US permanent resident)
Contact: for more information

Grad Member Spotlight: Caity Clark

caityCaity Clark
PhD, Mechanical Engineering
Oregon State University
As a member of the SWE since 2010, Caity has been engaged with SWE at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional level through the Oregon State University, Willamette Valley, and Columbia River sections. She enjoys bridging the undergraduate, graduate, and professional groups through event participation, service activities, mentorship, and social activities. In 2016, she also presented at the regional ABJ conference in Seattle with fellow SWE member, Aisha McKee.
In the past year, Caity has received four research awards. First, she was recently awarded a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research in Denmark next year on risk and reliability in offshore renewable energy systems. Currently, she is sponsored by Iberdrola as a Research Fellow at OSU and is a NSF National Research Traineeship Fellow through OSU’s Risk and Uncertainty in Marine Sciences program. Lastly, she is an OMSI Science Communication Fellow with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, through which she has created a mini-exhibit and participates regularly in presenting her exhibit at public outreach events. Through OMSI, she also participates in the Designing Our World program, which focuses on engaging young girls in engineering throughout Oregon. Congratulations, Caity, 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 second-year graduate student, pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. I focus on challenges at the nexus of offshore renewable energy, computational optimization, and machine learning. I will be receiving my MSc this summer before traveling to Denmark for a year. Previously, I have worked at Anchor QEA in Portland, and received my Honors BSc from Oregon State in Ecological Engineering in 2014.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
I currently work on a few projects. My MSc thesis involves computational optimization techniques applied to co-located wind-wave energy systems, and my NSF side-project applies machine learning techniques to coastal community resilience and emergency renewable energy generation. Next year, I will be studying risk and reliability propagation in offshore renewable energy systems.

What do you want to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I want to conduct research for the rest of my life in renewable energy systems. I am unsure yet if that research position will be in a researching university, national laboratory, or industry.  Research gives me the outlet to express my creativity and ambition, and a career which allows me to do that every day would be nothing short of a dream come true.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, you can usually find me out on a run (I have run three full marathons and a handful of half-marathons), or in my garden. I also like to get out on the weekends to hike, bike, raft…any activity in which I can play outdoors and get my blood pumping.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I have Type 1 Diabetes.

Grad Member Spotlight: Tara Eicher

TaraTara Eicher
PhD, Computer Science
The Ohio State University
Tara has been a member of SWE since 2012.  She is currently the first graduate representative for the Ohio State University section. As the graduate rep, she has designed and hosted new events for graduate students and networked with existing graduate student organizations to increase awareness of the group.
Tara is an active young researcher. She has an upcoming publication in this year’s International Joint Conference on Neural Networks conference proceedings.  Her campus research is funded by a university fellowship. She is also a member of the electrical engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu. Congratulations, Tara, 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 first-year PhD student in the computer science department. I expect to graduate in 2021.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
My research applies computational methods to genomics data analysis. My current project involves designing an algorithm for detecting open chromatin, or regions of DNA that are accessible for protein binding. Having an accurate algorithm for this analysis could enable computational biologists to more accurately characterize the influence of binding patterns on genetic expression.

What do you want to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I hope to obtain a position in academia at a major research institution. I am planning to do a post-doc after graduating.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love nature, cooking, and listening to music. In my free time I usually go for walks, meet up with friends, or watch T.V.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I grew up in a military family, so I have lived in many places around the U.S. I did my undergrad at Wichita State University, Home of the Shockers.

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.