How to Interview

You are interviewing for your dream job, how do you prepare? Every email, phone call or interview conversation you have with the recruiter or company is important.

The basic list of topics are found below:

  • Review your resume
  • Review the job description
  • Research the company
  • Practice the STAR interviewing method

Everyone prepares for interview differently.  I spend a lot of time researching the people and the company. Personally, I have found the following to be critical:

  • Research the interviewers through Linkedin
  • Prepare specific questions for each interviewer
  • Try to determine the following through the interview:
    • The leadership style of your manager.
    • The work environment.
    • The overall atmosphere of the company.

If possible finish all your prep for the interview in the afternoon before. This will allow you to relax the night before the interview. Day of the interview

  • Leave an extra half an hour early
  • Find a local coffee place where you can go if you are early
  • Stay positive and focused the entire interview – turn off or completely silence your phone
  • Take notes while each person is talking
  • Give business cards to each person
  • Follow-up within 24 hours with a thank you email to all interviewers whose contact information you have. Your notes will help to make each email individualized.

The most overlooked step is making sure to interview the employees of the company. Do not be afraid to ask the tough questions. When you are talking to other employees, try to determine the work environment. What is my ideal manager? How will I grow under the leadership?

Overall, if you want to have a good interview, you must prepare.

WE16: Opportunities for Involvement!

We are only TWO months (plus a few days) away from the WE16 national conference in Philadelphia, PA! Participating in a conference session is a great way to justify attending the conference and network with fellow SWE grads. Here are TWO ways to become involved in WE16 as a grad student! These opportunities include:

  1. Rapid Fire sessions – call for applications
  2. GradSWE member survey/option to participate in a panel at the GradSWE Meet & Greet

Rapid Fire Sessions: Year after year, Rapid Fire presentation prove to be a very beneficial way for SWE grads to practice presenting their research in front of their peers and a panel of judges. The call for applications is officially open and due on Monday, September 26th at 11:59 pm EST. Please fill out the application here. Master’s and PhD students are highly encouraged to apply.

GradSWE Member Survey: Does your university have a GradSWE committee? If so, we would love to have your input! Each GradSWE committee arranges their funding and committee structures in a slightly different way. We are planning to devote time to discussing this at WE16. Ultimately, these efforts will create a reference of “best practices” as GradSWE committees become more prevalent across the country. We greatly appreciate your input! Please fill our the survey here.

For questions about either of these opportunities, Please email Rachel at with any questions.

Apply to join the SWE Grad Community leadership team

Apply to join the SWE Grad Community leadership team

Have you ever wanted to join the SWE Grad Community leadership team?  Well, wait no longer! The time is now to apply. Below are details on the positions and how to apply. I will be hosting a Google Hangout on Sunday, March 13th at 8 PM EST to answer specific questions. The link to join us is here:

Current Details

The Graduate Leadership Team (consisting of the Graduate Member Coordinator, the Graduate Programming Coordinator, and their coordinator-elects) is looking for new coordinators for FY17, starting in July 2016!  This is a great opportunity for grad students to get involved in the SWE Grad Community. The three positions are:

  1. Graduate Member Coordinator-Elect (GMC-Elect): Supports the Graduate Member Coordinator in working to foster a strong community and network for graduate students in SWE by facilitating communication between graduate students in SWE and SWE graduate student groups, and by representing the interests of graduate students to the Society. The GMC-Elect assists the GMC, in preparation for assuming the GMC role the following year.
  2. Social Media Coordinator (SMC): Ensures that all the Graduate Community social media and online outlets have current and regular content in order to allow graduate students to stay up to date on relevant information.
  3. Webinars Coordinator (WC): Assist in coordinating the webinars hosted by the Graduate SWE community, by selecting topics, inviting speakers, and coordinating logistics with SWE headquarters to ensure webinars are advertised and routinely presented.

The applications are due by April 01 2016 11:59 pm CDT (Midnight).

Note that the GMC-Elect position requires the SWE HQ Committee Chair application. The SMC and WC application includes an area where you indicate whether or not you submitted the GMC-Elect application and allows you to rank your preferences. Both applications require similar information and responses, but please make sure to follow the directions!

Applicants will be notified within the week after the deadline if there any additional questions and to schedule a phone interview. If you have any questions, please contact Liz at

Frequently Asked Questions

The current Graduate Member Coordinator, Katharine Gamble answered many FAQs in her post from last year. Check it out here.

Other ways to get involved

Is leading the entire grad community not your thing? No problem! Check out this previous post about ways to get involved.

I cannot wait to read your applications!  Again, if you have any questions, please contact Liz at

Call for applications: GPC-Elect!

Are you excited about the growing number of opportunities for graduate students in SWE on the national level? Did you attend WE15 and gain lots of inspiration and ideas to better serve the graduate community? Do you in any shape or form want to play a role in continuing to grow graduate student programs on the national level? If you said yes to any of these, you should apply to be the Graduate Programming Coordinator-Elect (GPC-elect)!

Each year the GPC-elect works alongside the GPC to construct and formulate the agenda of events for graduate students at the national conference. A list of this year’s graduate events at WE15 can be found here. Through the GPC-elect role, you get to work with a wonderful team of ladies to help shape sessions impacting the SWE graduate community nationwide (and beyond)! Additionally, there are numerous networking opportunities accompanying this role where you will create long-lasting connections as you serve as GPC-elect for WE16 and GPC for WE17.

Applications are due by Tuesday, December 15 at 11:59 PM CST. Download the application using the link below. Send completed applications to Rachel Unruh at


Rapid Fire Submission Deadline Extended!

The Rapid Fire submission deadline has been extended until Wednesday, September 30 @ 11:59 PM CST! If you wanted to submit an abstract but didn’t have the time to write one in the past few weeks, no problem! You still have a few more days! Click here for a link to the original blog posting containing the application link.

Don’t think your research fits into the NAE Grand Challenges? Don’t have enough research background or data to reach the 500 max word limit? No worries, submit your abstract anyway! All abstracts are welcome!

There are two Graduate Rapid Fire Sessions: Rapid Fire Session I on Friday, October 23rd, and Rapid Fire Session II on Saturday, October 24th. Both are from 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM.

Please email all questions to Rachel Unruh, Graduate Programming Coordinator – Elect (

Happy writing!

WE15 Rapid Fire Sessions – Call for Applications!

Applications have opened for the WE15 Rapid Fire Sessions in Nashville, TN! Rapid Fire allows SWE members to present their research to a panel of judges and audience of peers from a wide array of STEM disciplines. Emphasizing concision and clarity, these sessions contain a series of five-minute presentations followed by a brief Q&A session for each presenter. Presenters are given feedback immediately following the session.

This is a great way to receive feedback on your presenting skills. The audience is smaller, and presentation times are shorter than for traditional conference platform presentations. Rapid Fire also serves as a great way to justify your attendance at WE15 to your advisor and others!

In addition to presenting your own research in an efficient and concise manner, we ask that you consider how your research fits into the world in a broader sense, specifically in the context of the fourteen NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering (  With technological advances becoming more frequent and humanity becoming more interconnected than ever before, it is imperative that we reflect on how our technological discoveries affect humanity at large, not only in our own local daily environments. Toward this aim, the NAE has identified the below grand challenges facing engineers of the 21st century:

  1. Make Solar Energy Economical
  2. Provide Energy from Fusion
  3. Develop Carbon Sequestration Methods
  4. Manage the Nitrogen Cycle
  5. Provide Access to Clean Water
  6. Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure
  7. Advance Health Informatics
  8. Engineer Better Medicines
  9. Reverse-Engineer the Brain
  10. Prevent Nuclear Terror
  11. Secure Cyberspace
  12. Enhance Virtual Reality
  13. Advance Personalized Learning
  14. Engineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery

We invite you to reflect on how these challenges fit into your own research and write your abstract in this context. If you are interested in participating in a Rapid Fire Session, please fill out the application here. The application will be closed at 11:59 PM EST on Monday, September 21. Applicants will be notified of their status by Monday, September 28, 2015. All graduate students are STRONGLY encouraged to apply!

For questions about the application, please email:

Richelle Thomas, Graduate Programming Coordinator (

Rachel Unruh, Graduate Programming Coordinator – Elect (

Help Us Make WE15 Great!!

Happy New Year!!

The weather may be cold but our hearts are still warm from how much fun we had at WE14. GradSWE is excited about the new year and the promise of bringing value at this year’s upcoming 2015 Society of Women Engineers Convention (WE15). You are receiving this message because you expressed an interest at WE14 in taking an active role in planning the programming for WE15.
We are pleased to announce our Grad SWE WE15 Kick Off Meeting! 
The call for workshop proposals for WE15 is now open. With this in mind, we will have a call to brainstorm potential workshop topics and divvy up responsibilities to any that are eager to get involved. We like to have a cohesive effort in our programming so we have to huddle up ladies so we can have another awesome year.
Conference call
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Time: 8PM Eastern, 5PM Pacific
Dial in: 605-475-6333
Access code: 3221683
The deadline for proposals is March 13, 2015.
Proposals may be submitted here.
We look forward to having you on the call!!
The call is also out for the FY2016 Graduate Programming Coordinator. If you are interested in the position, please dial in because we will discuss the position briefly. You may also reach out to Richelle Thomas, the current GPC for more details about the position. See the official call for applications for more details. You may submit an application for consideration here.