Interested in designing tools for STEM education?

Calling all graduate students interested in having an impact on future STEM education! The National Science Foundation is looking to fund research that supports the design of next generation digital learning environments for STEM. As graduate students, many of us have likely taken STEM courses or even taught portions of STEM courses. We are in the perfect transition zone to know what students in STEM courses need to supplement their learning, but can also appreciate the ease of implementation from a teaching standpoint. If you have ideas on how to improve STEM learning in a digital setting, or want to contribute to existing ideas, this is a great project to join! Specifically, the NSF is looking for projects focused on STEM learning environments in digital settings.

The NSF is asking for conference-type proposals that can be presented at the NSF at a conference with all other awardees. Graduate student and postdoc involvement is recommended in the proposal instructions! The ideal team will be able to describe the proposed perspectives on their digital learning platform, engage innovative design thinking to outline their ideas for a future learning environment, and describe the theoretical, methodological or programming obstacles that may need further research and development.

If this project submission is chosen by the NSF, the team will draft a white paper which will be shared with NSF staff and a broader audience, as well as use their digital platform to impact a range of audiences.

The deadline for this application proposal is January 22, 2018 so join the team now! To join, e-mail to be connected with other interested SWE members and start working on this project.


Find more information on this NSF-funded program here:



You are NOT a Failure: Just Lessons are Learned

Recently, I contemplated the idea of failure. Its such as daunting word and one which many people would rather not acknowledge. Commonly, failure can be regarded as not succeeding or omission in a task or one’s goal. And honestly, who would actually like to admit that?

However, I encourage you all to consider failures or mistakes as a step toward your success. When we fail or rather not succeed in our goal, lessons are learned and options can be crossed off. This typically will leave you in a better position to succeed going forward. Some regard failures as stepping stones for greatness and regarded as a step in which you simply fail gracefully. Embrace the mistakes and things along your path that makes your adventure your own!  Do not take it personally!  If your idea or goal was not a success, it should not equate to you being deemed as a failure.

Remember to continue to move forward -get back on the horse or back in the game! This can also create a moment of gratitude in knowing what did not work and going forward with an improved direction. You can be thankful and proud that you took that step of courage. Be excited about that move you did make even though it may have not  turned out as expected.   Know you gave it your best effort and made it that far as other people may not have been able to reach it to that step.

I say all this to hopefully encourage you all, but also highlight that in your future steps and path, you can take advantage of not only your GradSWE network, but our larger SWE family.  Our SWE membership consist of a talented range of women who could provide you guidance or insight on your paths ahead -do not be afraid to network!

Also, be sure to keep a look out for webinars & podcasts announcements, which can cover a range of topics whether considering graduate school, starting a business or transitioning careers. For more information on previous GradSWE webinars, click here! Also, if you have a relevant topic you would like to discuss for a webinar, click here!

As 2017 is winding now, be fearless and take those chances exploring new and exciting opportunities! You are stronger than you think -stay encouraged GradSWEsters!

Grad Member Spotlight: Margaret Scheiner

Margaret Scheiner


PhD candidate
P.E.O. Scholar
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Florida State University


Margaret has been a member of SWE since 2010. She currently serves as the Region D Graduate Representative and is an active SWE member at Florida State University. As an undergraduate, she served several different roles at Cornell University, including positions such as Outreach Chair and Corporate Relations Chair. Her combined efforts at both the section and region levels have greatly improved efforts to include more graduate students in SWE.

Margaret has been successful both in SWE and in her research experience. She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University in Industrial Engineering, and expects to graduate in May 2018. She was selected to be a U.S.A. Delegate to the 2017 Lindau Meeting, which is sponsored by Lockheed Martin and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Margaret’s hard work has paid off as she was awarded the 2016 Tony DiBenedetto Student Employee of the Year Award through Florida State University for combined for research assistantship, teaching assistantship, and leading summer internship programs. Additionally, she was an Invited Scholar to the Doctoral Colloquium, through the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers in 2016. She has received several awards to help her succeed in graduate school. Margaret was named an International P.E.O. Scholar in 2017, and also received the Amelia Earhart Fellowship through Zonta International in 2016, the E. Wayne Kay Graduate Scholarship through the SME Educational Foundation in 2015, and was named to Honorable Mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program in 2015. SWE has invested in Margaret through the ASSIST Travel Grant in 2016, invited her as a 2016 Scholar to Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering, and 2015 Collegiate Leadership Institute participant. Through other organizations, Margaret has been given the Phi Kappa Phi 2017 Love of Learning Award and 2017 Graduate Student Award at Florida State University.

Margaret’s Brief explanation of her Research Experience

Research topic: integrated structural health monitoring and self-healing for composites

Motivation: Fiber-reinforced polymer composites (FRPCs) are used for a variety of civil and military applications. However, predicting the failure of FRPCs is more difficult than predicting the failure of more traditional materials like steel. Furthermore, composites can suffer extreme internal damage, but show little, if any, external indication that damage has occurred. Non-destructive inspection techniques have been developed to check for internal damage, but such methods are costly and time-consuming, meaning that inspection is often limited to small areas.

My research: I am creating a FRPC which reports when and where damage has occurred and automatically heals the damage. It combines distributed damage monitoring and self-healing technology. Damage notification is achieved with triboluminescent (TL) crystals which emit light when stressed or broken. Photodetectors translate the TL light into electrical signal. Healing is achieved by a capillary network containing liquid healing material. When damage occurs, the capillaries release healing material into the damaged area.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

My ideal career will allow me to combine materials engineering with industrial engineering. This could mean anything from management position at a materials engineering firm to project management/consulting to a research & development position. So… I’m still figuring it out! I am specifically looking for a position where I can use and improve materials and processing systems to improve customers’ experiences. I would like to return to higher education and teach after gaining industry experience.

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

I enjoy contra dancing, swing dancing, hiking, canoeing, and camping. I also bake a lot, and am pretty good at convincing people to play board games with me.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’ve legally crossed the US-Canada border multiple times without getting my passport stamped (via a back-country border-crossing permit).

FY19 Call for Feedback – What does this mean, and what do I do?

Hello SWEGrad Friends!


I hope you enjoyed the WE17 conference.  I know that I did!  I will leave conference wrap up to our GPC Emily Hoffman, who will soon transition out of her role.  Thank you again Emily, for your tireless devotion to helping with annual conference programming, and being an advocate for us!


The reason I am blogging today is to discuss something very exciting to our society.  At the WE17 senate meeting, the senate voted in favor of allowing collegiate members to have voting rights in the society!  Congratulations to you all – you have a right to vote!  This means that for this election cycle, you will be able to vote for the last Region senator which can be either a collegiate or a professional, as we have passed all bylaws amendments!  (If you would like to get involved in the senate, email me and I’ll tell you how you can run for/ be nominated for a senate seat!).  This also means that the FY19 Nominations for the Society that I previously blogged about are something you can vote for.  Candidate selection is currently in process, and you will get an email from SWE on February 1st with the slate they provide.


So – why does this matter right now?  HOW these leaders are chosen every year, requires YOUR input!


Last week during conference, and email was sent out asking for feedback to the Society Nominating Committee regarding the people that have been nominated for positions this year.

Why does this happen?  The nominating committee values the feedback/perspectives from SWE’s members on all the potential candidates so that the best possible slate can be presented.  As such, it’s our job as society members to give feedback when it is needed!  If you have ever worked with these individuals, then you can submit feedback.  I remember last year reaching out and asking – as a collegiate, does my opinion on this nomination matter?


The Answer:  IT DOES!


If anything, the collegiate voice here is probably one that matters most, and I say that with complete sincerity.  There are few collegiates that participate in the nominating process, and as such collegiate feedback is typically at a minimum.  Your input as a collegiate is a unique, and diverse perspective that the society genuinely wants, and incorporates into decision making!  Collegiates make up half of our society, and our voice is needed!


So, what will you see if you decide to leave feedback regarding any of the individuals on the list?  The first page once you click on the link will bring you to a page asking for your SWE info, followed by the info of the nominee you are choosing to provide feedback for, and then this list of questions that you might answer about the nominee:

In what capacity do you know this nominee, and for how long? Please also indicate if this nominee has served as a direct report (within or outside of SWE) to you.

Business Acumen:  Please provide one example of your experience with the candidate’s abilities to develop, execute, and prioritize strategies, goals, or objectives.

Self-Management & Development:  What characteristic(s) does this nominee exhibit that demonstrate she or he is self-motivating or a self-starter? Please describe one experience you have had with the candidate where she or he exhibited these characteristic(s).

Leadership Abilities: What makes this candidate an effective leader? Please describe one example or experience you have had with the candidate in an effective leadership role within or outside of SWE.

Communication:  Please provide one experience with the candidate’s communications skills, specifically on her or his ability to work as a team, leveraging diversity and building relationships with her or his peers, direct reports, administrative support, and managers.

Coaching, Mentoring & Sponsorship:  Please provide one experience you have had with the candidate’s ability to support and/or develop others.

Governance Structure: Given the potential modifications to the Governance Structure of the Society, please provide one experience you have had with the candidate regarding fostering change management.

What unique perspective/value will this candidate add to the SWE position she or he is being nominated for?

Would you recommend this candidate for a Society leadership position?  If yes, please describe in one sentence why this candidate should be selected above other potential candidates.  If not (and if not detailed in your response to a previous question), please describe why not.


One thing that I have been caught up on in the past is that maybe I can’t answer every question regarding that candidate.  Well guess what?  You don’t have to!  Just fill in the information that you know and are comfortable with, and submit the form.  From that point on, the nominating committee will have a record of your submission, and will be able to use that feedback in their evaluation of candidates.


How does the Nominating Committee slate candidates?  That’s a complicated process, and one that I hope to gain understanding and insight on this year.  From a basic standpoint though, the process includes a few different things:

1) Determine which nominees are eligible based on their service and leadership competencies

2) Solicit the Society for Feedback

3) Interview and record each candidate as the nominating committee chair asks some selected questions depending on where you were nominated

4) Carefully look over all of the data collected as a group, and try to choose a diverse slate of candidates for the positions that they solicited for based on the information provided, and a look going forward of the society’s strategic plan.


You may ask – why am I telling you this?  The reason that I’m expressing this to you is because at WE17 I heard over and over that women do not tend to self-nominate or step into positions of leadership unless encouraged by others.  By making this process more visible, and saying YES you are eligible and can be part of this process, I am hoping to inspire others with a diverse SWE background to also consider nominating for these positions in the future.  One of the things I am passionate about is making sure that the leadership pipeline for collegiates within SWE is preserved, and that collegiates are actively asking to be part of the dialogue, and to assist in creating change in the society.   The first step to making sure that the candidates that you want to see on the slate are selected is by giving that information to the nominating committee, and providing feedback that only YOU have, and a fresh perspective!   Please exercise the voice you’ve been given – the future of our society depends on your participation and feedback!


You will continue to get posts from me in the upcoming months regarding how to apply for different leadership positions (in the society and in GradSWE), and how to write a SWE resume to help you along in your own leadership journeys.  As always, if you have questions or want to discuss, feel free to comment below, or email me!  I look forward to hearing from all of you, and I deeply value the connections that I was able to make with many of you at WE17.




WE Local Brainstorming Conference Call


Present At WE Local!

Mark your calendar for a conference call  on this Thursday, November 2 at 7:00pm CDT to discuss your ideas for a Talk at any WeLocal conference!  WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU BRAINSTORM! 

Please come with questions, a potential idea, and/or the WE Local conference you’re interested in attending.

Use the following information to join the call from your phone or computer:
US: 917-962-0650
US (toll free): 1-800-356-8278
Conference Code*:  941862
Enter 6 digit conference code, then press * to enter room
Can’t make the call…Fill out the WE Local Presentation Interest Form to connect with us!

Talk to you soon! 

Emily Hoffman, Graduate Programming Coordinator 



WE17 – Record Numbers!

This year at WE17 we had a record number of attendees.  Please check out a blog post by one of our GradSWE members, Josa Hanzlik. She explores the increase of male attendees at WE17.

Also, please feel free to reach out to us with your thoughts about the conference!

Be the best you: manage your stress

Hi fellow graduate students!

As we head into the meaty time of our semesters, try to manage your stress level so you can be the best version of yourself for work, class, research, and your personal life! Here are some tips to help keep your stress level low:

  1. Love your body! If your body responds well to exercise, try to plan time in your busy schedule to work out. Try to schedule your work-outs with friends or buddies – this will make you feel more responsible to attend! If your body responds best to a full night of sleep, be sure to go to bed early enough to treat your body. Check out some apps on your phone that can help you plan your sleep schedule. In addition to loving your body, make sure you love your mind too – if you work better after a bit of meditation, be sure to include this into your typical day.
  2. Make sure you save time for the things you love outside of work and class – even if this is just a TV show, or stress baking. While it can sometimes feel like you are “wasting time” these short breaks are necessary to help you manage your stress level.
  3. Stay in touch with your support system! Call family, friends, significant others, or anyone who can help you forget about your work for a bit. These people will help fuel you to the finish line, so use them!
  4. Allow yourself some time to celebrate the small victories! Finish a project? Have a successful experiment? Treat yo’ self. Allow yourself the gratification of completing a task. These victory celebrations can help fuel you through your next challenge.
  5. Check out the resources on your campus that help manage stress. Some schools offer free food, spa nights, or free group exercise. These activities are easy to do with your co-workers, and can help break up your day

Most importantly, remember that you are all amazing individuals! Power through your challenges! Keep your career goals in mind, and remind yourself how these small tasks will give you skills that will propel you to your future aspirations.

Best of luck! Stay positive!