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.

Outreach and SWE

Outreach is important! Many of us would not be where we are without someone else taking the time to teach us a bit about STEM. For me, it was participating in an Engineering summer camp that helped convince me to be an engineer. What was it for you?

Numbers are also important. As graduate students, we understand that data needs to be collected to convince others of the impact of our design or research projects.

Combine outreach and numbers and we get the SWE Outreach Metrics Tool! The OMT is a rather neat way of measuring the impact of SWE members around the world.

The Outreach Metric Tool (OMT) is a simple 10 question survey to complete after your outreach events. These are events that focus on students ages 4-18 and/or their adult advocates such as parents, educators, and group leaders. These events should directly impact K-12 students, parents, and educators, to help them explore and understand engineering disciplines and careers. K-12 outreach events to be entered into the OMT include:

  • Special engineering events planned, executed, and led by SWE member organizations OR led by a partner organization, such as an engineering society or industrial firm, where, for example, a SWE collegiate, professional, or MAL chapter, formally participated
  • Individual K-12 outreach efforts of SWE members

This means that you can catalog EVERY outreach activity you engage in to further SWE’s mission.

  • Volunteer at your local Science Olympiad? Enter it.
  • Give high schoolers a tour of your lab or company? Enter it.
  • Visit an elementary school for career day? Enter it.
  • Collaborate with Tau Beta Pi for one of their programs? Enter it.

The more data we collect, the more we can advocate for the SWE mission!

Okay, now you are thinking, “Liz, this is great! But, I don’t do much outreach…” Fear not dear SWE member, there are lots of resources to help you. I’ve listed a few interesting ones below.

Outreach Resources 

  • Constance and Nano – SWE’s new comic book: http://constanceandnano.swe.org/
  • Simple Science “Snacks” from San Francisco’s Exploratorium: https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks
  • SWE’s Outreach Home Page: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/k-12-outreach
  • SWE Member Resources: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/swe-members
  • Instructions on how to plan an event: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/page/4768-Outreach-Toolkit

My current favorite is the new SWE poster! What is your favorite outreach tool?

SWEposterOutreach

Grad Member Spotlight: Heather Wiest

wiest_heatherHeather Wiest

PhD,  Aerospace Engineering

Purdue University

Heather has been a member of SWE since 2007. During her senior year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, she was treasurer for her SWE section. Once she started graduate school at Purdue in 2011, she became a member of the Leadership Coaching Committee (LCC). In 2012, she was selected to be Team Lead for the Region H LCC coaches and remained in that position until she became the FY17 LCC Chair-Elect. As a professional member, she was involved in the chartering process for the Greater Lafayette Indiana (GLI) SWE section, which celebrated its one year anniversary as an official SWE section this January! Additionally,she is a member of the FY17 Governance Taskforce.

Heather received three fellowships in graduate school: Purdue Doctoral Fellowship (2011), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2012), and Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship (2016). Locally, she was awarded a Purdue University’s College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award for her involvement as treasurer in three graduate student organizations. Congratulations, Heather, 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 successfully defended my PhD dissertation in December! I received my Masters from Purdue in August 2013. Both graduate degrees are in Aerospace Engineering.

Give a brief explanation of your research.
My area of study within Aerospace Engineering is Propulsion. My research focuses on experimental gas turbine combustion and fuel sprays. For my PhD, I studied a liquid jet in crossflow with increasingly elevated fuel temperatures. The liquid jet in crossflow is a method of fuel injection found in gas turbine combustors, turbojet afterburners, scramjet/ramjet engines, and rotating detonation engines, and higher temperature fuels can occur in advanced aircraft that use fuel as a heat sink for thermal management purposes. By studying this flow field with high speed imaging, variations in the breakup of the liquid jet due to increasing fuel temperatures can be analyzed.

What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?
I’m heading off to Cape Canaveral, FL to work for Blue Origin as a Test Facilities Design Engineer. Basically, I’m a plumber for rockets. I will help to design the fluid systems used in testing their engines and launching their rockets. Blue Origin is a private spaceflight company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with the goal of creating greater human access to space at lower costs and with increased reliability.

What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love playing random sports. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I’m not at a university playing intramurals like wallyball, inner tube water polo, or dodgeball! I also really like board games. My current favorite is 7 Wonders.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I really enjoy visiting national parks! I have a National Park Passport where I collect cancellation stamps that serve as a record of all the parks I’ve visited. I currently have about 60 stamps, and I hope that finally being done with school will give me the opportunity to visit more national parks!

Grad Member Spotlight: Lisa Cervia

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.
cervia_bmes
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.

Grad Group Spotlight: Yale

yaleWhen did your group start?

GradSWE at Yale has existed since the summer of 2014 and led the push to get Yale SWE recognized as an official collegiate SWE section. Yale SWE’s current president, Bridget Hegarty, held an initial meeting at that time to determine if there was interest in starting a graduate SWE group. Nearly 15 people showed up, and a group of five of us formed the first eboard.

How is the group organized? i.e. how many core people are typically involved, do you have officers, how do you fit within the collegiate section, where do you get your budget (if you have one)?

Our section structure consists of an eboard of both graduate and undergraduate students that oversees two relatively independent committees–one grad and one undergrad. The grad and undergrad committees perform most of the day-to-day operations of Yale SWE. Our gradSWE committee has eight core members, including two co-directors and a number of chair positions (e.g. outreach chair, professional development chair, diversity chair, etc.). We find that this structure enables each committee member to take ownership of one or two events in their area of focus each semester, minimizing the number of group meetings required (important for busy grad students). For grad-specific events, we typically request funding on an event-by-event basis from the Graduate Student Life office and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. For events geared towards both grads and undergrads, we allocate money in the Yale SWE budget, which is provided by the School of Engineering and Applied Science each year.

What type of events do you host? How often do you host them? How many people tend to come to these events?

We hold events across four broad categories: community building, diversity awareness, professional development, and outreach/mentoring. Through our events we seek to support female graduate students in engineering, both personally and professionally. Our events are open to the entire Yale community, but are tailored to the needs of graduate students. Our events draw anywhere from 10-20 people for our informal study breaks to 30-50 people for our larger events, such as our annual Gender Bias Workshop and Etiquette Dinner. We have an event every month during the fall, every two weeks during the spring semester, and once over the summer.

What is the one event or program of which you are most proud?

We are very proud of our yearly Gender Bias Workshop. It was one of the first major events hosted by gradSWE and is widely attended by both male and female graduate students from a variety of departments. During its first year, we invited Eva Pietri, a postdoctoral researcher in social psychology at Yale, to discuss her work combatting gender bias in STEM fields. She developed a series of entertaining situational videos designed to increase the viewer’s awareness of implicit bias. Although she has now moved on from Yale, we still show the videos each year and ask a student from her lab to moderate a discussion about implicit bias and the ways we can address it in our own lives.

What tips do you have for a newly-started grad group?

 

  • If you are considering starting a grad group, we suggest beginning by holding an information session to see how much interest there is in SWE at the grad level. We found that many grad students were interested in attending and helping to plan SWE events that were tailored to our specific needs.
  • Surveys can be very useful in learning what types of events grad students are looking for. This can vary over time depending on the goals and interests of your members, so make sure to send these surveys at the beginning and end of each year.
  • Initially, finding funding was challenging for us. Oftentimes, there are more funding sources available to undergraduates than to grad students. If your school allows it, we’ve found it very useful to submit a combined budget that can be used for both undergrad and grad events.

 

  • Collaborating with other grad student groups is helpful to increase event attendance as well as awareness of your gradSWE group. When we have events with a large number of non-engineers, we give a brief overview of our mission at the beginning of the event.
  • Getting first year students involved in the planning of events has been very useful in ensuring continuity from year to year. We have a first-year liaison on our gradSWE committee to allow first years to get involved from the beginning.

What type of outreach activities does your group organize?

K-12 STEM outreach is a large part of our grad group’s mission. Each semester we host at least one event with our largest event, a day-long Engineering Day for middle schoolers, happening each spring. Last year, this event brought 33 New Haven students to Yale’s campus, where they performed hands-on activities and built their own light-tracking robots. This year, we are expanding our outreach endeavors to high schoolers and will be hosting another engineering day, focusing on building a self-watering garden, in December. We host our outreach events in collaboration with the Yale Pathways to Science program, an initiative for students in grades 6-12 designed to promote the sciences, particularly among underrepresented groups. Pathways provides us with the resources and student population for our events, which allows us to focus on crafting innovative and challenging activities for the students. Through these events, we seek to expose students, particularly girls, to engineering and inspire them to pursue STEM further.

How can someone contact your group if they’re interested in participating?

To learn more about gradSWE at Yale and to join our group, people can visit our website or Facebook page or email us at gradswe.yale@gmail.com.

Grad Member Spotlight: Jessica Rimsza

21 Mar 2016

SWE-RegionConference

Jessica Rimsza

PhD student, Materials Science and Engineering, expected graduation date May 2016

University of North Texas

 

Jessica has served as the graduate adviser for UNT SWE for two years as well as the Vice-President and Treasurer of her undergraduate SWE chapter at the University of Arizona. She has received numerous awards, including the American Ceramic Society’s Graduate Excellence in Materials Science (GEMS) in Oct 2015, the NSF Graduate Research Fellow, NSF East-Asia Pacific Summer Institute Fellow, and has participated in NSF Graduate Research Opportunities worldwide.

 

What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

I am five years into a Ph.D. in the department of Materials Science and Engineering with an expected graduation date of May 2016.

 

Give a brief explanation of your research.

I use computational methods to study the structure and properties of glasses (like window glass, container glass, display glass, and ect). Specifically, my thesis is on the reactions which occur at the water-silica (SiO2) interface, and how they affect the long-term stability of silicate based materials.

 

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

Currently I am looking at different post-doc opportunities around the US and am hoping to continue working on the surface properties of amorphous materials.

 

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

Free time? What’s that? Just kidding. Right now a lot of my hobbies are working to give some work-life balance, so things like cooking, working out (occasionally) or decompressing activities. During my Ph.D. I have taken both French and Chinese classes since I spent a summer in each of those countries doing research, so that took up some time and might be considered a “hobby”. But I am definitely not fluent in either language.

 

What’s a fun fact about you?

I have a twin sister who is getting her MD and we will be graduating on the same day!