Grad Group Spotlight: Northwestern University

SWEGrad_NorthwesternUnivNorthwestern University

Evanston, IL

When did your group start?

GradSWE at Northwestern originally began in 2012. For several years, a small handful of women ran the group. In summer of 2016, we formed our first executive board which has greatly expanded our programming.

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)

We have an executive board that is currently nine people strong – comprised of a president, VP, administrative chair, finance chair, professional development chair, outreach chair, mentoring chair, social chair, and assistant coordinator. The mentoring and outreach chairs are our liaisons with the overarching collegiate section – attending their weekly meetings and keeping each board updated on the other’s events. Our most popular collaborative initiative with the collegiate section is our “Coffee With a Grad Student” program, in which we pair up an undergraduate interested in grad school with a graduate student mentor and supply coffee money. Since its initiation, over 40 students have participated in this program, with 92% of undergrads responding that they learned a lot about graduate school, and 64% more likely to attend grad school because of our program. We are also currently planning a series of workshops for the collegiate members on graduate school to be held this fall, with topics including “Applying to Graduate School” and “Applying for Fellowships”.

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

We host a combination of social and professional development events, with the intent of community building through social events and empowering women in STEM through professional development events. For social events, we organize a monthly happy hour for women to casually get the know other women in STEM in a relaxed environment. We also host monthly coffee hours on campus. Our recurring professional development event is our quarterly lunch discussion series, in which we invite a Northwestern professor to lead a discussion on a topic of her choice over lunch. Our inaugural lunch was this past April on the topic of “Articulating purpose, presence, and grit” with overwhelmingly positive feedback. We also aim to hold events with the local professional SWE sections several times a year, and have previously organized a joint trivia night and networking evening. On average, we usually have about 15-30 attendees at these events.

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

Our hallmark event is our Professional and Graduate Women in STEM Networking Night. We held our first event this April in downtown Chicago, and invited women from Northwestern graduate programs, local Professional SWE sections, and the Chicago Association of Women in Science (AWIS). It was a wonderful evening of networking and learning about various career paths. Attendees were invited to prepare lightning talks, and topics ranged from research to advocating for women in STEM to engaging in public outreach. We are looking forward to expanding this event even further and making this an annual event.

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

For a new graduate SWE group, remember there’s a lot you can do with a limited budget, especially on the community building side! Organize women to go out to happy hour together, or host a brown bag lunch for participants to gather and discuss a specific topic. Reach out to your local professional SWE sections about co-hosting events. Activities like these are not only low budget, but will also build up your visibility as an organization so you have a strong foundation for future larger events!

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

Please email us at nuswe.grad@gmail.com

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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 grad-programs-coordinator@swe.org with any questions.

Grad Group Spotlight: Stanford Grad SWE

16 May 2016

Lunch_with_Dean_Drell

 

Contact: gradswe_coordinators@lists.stanford.edu

 

 

 

 

 

When did your group start?

We started getting graduate participation in SWE in the 2014-2015 academic year. Following this, we recruited to all the departments and became very active with a graduate-focused planning board in the 2015-2016 academic year.

 

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)?

We have two Graduate Coordinators and 21 board members to help with planning. Some board members have specific interests/tasks. We get our budget from the Dean’s Office and Engineering Departments at Stanford. We are currently part of the Collegiate SWE section, but we just received recognition from the university to be our own group starting next year, which will help with funding/accounting. We will remain connected to our collegiate SWE group to remain engaged in undergraduate mentorship and support.

 

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

We host events aimed at creating a network of female graduate students, supporting our professional development, and mentoring the undergraduates in SWE. Our regularly occurring events include weekly lab tours for undergraduates, weekly brown bag lunches with all the women’s engineering groups across campus, and twice quarterly lunches with female faculty across campus. We host special interest events as board members are interested in hosting them, approximately 5-6 events per quarter, including networking events with a theme of art, wine and cheese, etc, special topic panels on topics like “what to wear to work”, movie nights, and recreational events like hiking.

 

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

The lab tours for undergraduates have been very popular and effective. We are passionate about mentoring, and these tours are a fun way to help undergraduates choose majors or learn about graduate school research opportunities and interests. The undergraduates have responded positively and given us good feedback on the tours.

 

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

Recruit to departments by flyering and email to get representation from all the departments. Flyering in the women’s bathrooms was very effective for us. Try to determine what funding you will need and how you will get it as early as possible, so you don’t miss deadlines that are several months ahead of the upcoming school year. If you don’t know the in’s and out’s about how student organizations work in your university, try to seek help from someone who has experience.

 

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

Email: gradswe_coordinators@lists.stanford.edu

Grad Member Spotlight: Hannah Chang

18 April 2016

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Hannah Chang

Master’s student, Aerospace Engineering, expected December 2016

Georgia Tech

 

Hannah has been the Georgia Tech Grad SWE President for the past two years. She was an involved SWE member since her undergrad days and loves being in SWE for the mentoring and fostering of the community and support. Hannah has the NASA Space Grant Fellowship and has previously been awarded the Gear as well as the Outstanding Georgette P Burdell awards. Congrats, Hannah, on all you’ve accomplished! Keep up the great work!

 

 

 

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

MS in Aerospace Engineering, expecting to graduate in the December of 2016

 

Give a brief explanation of your research.

My research focuses on the topic of metamaterials in homogeneous media. Current, I am working on acoustic cloaking using piezoelectric disks. The end goal of this research is to be able to control the shape of the cloaked region using only piezoelectric disks.

 

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

I hope to take my knowledge of structures and dynamics to spaceflight. I am currently interning for SpaceX, so to be able to apply my degree there would be the ultimate goal.

 

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

I do triathlons. I love swimming, biking, and running. Most of my (little) free time is usually spent on doing one of those activities

 

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m left handed

Grad Group Spotlight: UCLA Grad SWE

7 Mar 2016

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Contact: graduate.swe.ucla@gmail.com

 

When did your group start?

PhD students Gabriela Bran and Nancy Tseng founded GradSWE at UCLA about two years ago. The reason, as Gabriela put it, is “every time I would meet a woman in engineering graduate school, we would both get really excited to have “found” one more female engineer”. The two met at a SWE mentor/mentee program and started talking about the unmet need for a graduate student group representing women in engineering. They brought the idea of GradSWE to the SWE-UCLA president who supported the idea along with Professor Adrienne Lavine. The first big event was a general meeting in winter of 2014 where about 30 people attended.

 

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)?

We are a committee under SWE-UCLA with regular positions including a Director, Vice Director, treasurer, historian, and publicity and outreach chairs. We currently have about 10 active officers/chairs who attend bi-weekly meetings and organize events. Our budget comes from SWE-UCLA and the engineering Graduate Student Association (eGSA), who we are very grateful for their support!

 

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

Every quarter (fall, winter, spring) we try to host one event per week. Quarterly, we have a general meeting, wine and cheese social, hiking trip, and an outreach event. Sometimes we have other events in between our main ones such as trips to museums and local company tours. At general meetings we discuss the events for the quarter, socialize, and recruit new members. The very popular wine and cheese social is a purely social/networking event for grad students to unwind and meet students in other departments and labs. For hiking trips we have gone to the old LA zoo, Malibu, and the hollywood sign to name a few. We collaborate with organizations such as UCLA’s Advancing Women in Science and Engineering (AWiSE) group and Los Angeles DIYGirls to help with and organize outreach events. Our signature event is the Life Lessons panel, held every spring, where professors and professionals in industry offer advice and answer questions about their experiences and journey from graduate school to where they are now. We tend to have at least 30 people come to our main events.

 

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

We are very proud of the yearly Life Lessons panel because of the feedback we have received from students who have found it to be interesting, useful, and valuable. I also wanted to mention a very successful event that several of our committee members put on last fall, which was a screening of the PhD movie 2 at UCLA. Over 300 graduate students attended!

 

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

For newly-started grad groups, we suggest spending time talking to all kinds of graduate students in your department and programs to find out what activities and events they would benefit from. That way you are putting in the effort to make events that many students will want to go to!

 

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

For anyone interested in joining our efforts to keep GradSWE running and growing please contact graduate.swe.ucla@gmail.com or visit our website to see when we have our next meeting/event: http://gradswe.seas.ucla.edu

Grad Group Spotlight: Georgia Tech Grad SWE

11 January 2016

IMG_6947President: Hannah Chang swegrad@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

When did your group start?

The exact start date is not really known. There were little to no documentation of the organization prior to 2011. But I would say the committee was revitalized in 2012.

 

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)?

The graduate section falls under a subcommittee within the undergraduate section. Our budget comes from the undergrad collegiate section. See the organization chart below for specifics on our committee positions.

GeorgiaTech_orgchart

 

 

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

We have 4 styles of events: academic, industry, social and outreach events. We aim to host social events once or twice a month. We aim to have 2 academic and industry events per semester. We have two big outreach events that is joined with undergrad section a semester and there are numerous outreach events that goes on through the semester. The attendance varies with each events.

 

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

This past semester, we had a “how to negotiate a better salary” luncheon that had a total of 35 sign ups. The event was a luncheon that was a joined event with the women’s resource center on campus. We invited 3 panel speakers to come in and share with us their experiences as well as answer questions that the audience had.

 

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

Since I didn’t start the Georgia Tech Grad SWE group, I’m not sure I have any good tips. One thing I’ve found helpful is that having a bigger board is really helpful.

 

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

Email me at swegrad@gmail.com or visit the GT SWE website: http://www.swe.gtorg.gatech.edu/gradswe/

Grad Group Spotlight: Cornell Grad SWE

30 Nov 2015

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Co-Directors:

Gloria (Andrea) Aguirre — gaa48@cornell.edu

Malika Grayson — mg848@cornell.edu

 

 

 

 

When did your group start?

GradSWE was formed in the Fall of 2010

 

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)?

Cornell GradSWE has an executive board within its directorship. The executive board consists of two co-directors, a social chair, an outreach chair and a professional development chair. The board plans semester events and creates networking opportunities for all members as well as collaborates with the undergraduate membership for mentorship opportunities. Our budget is supplied by the collegiate membership. Every year we propose a budget for the year’s events GradSWE and the collegiate chapter provides the funding to do so.

 

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

We host a mixture of social, outreach and professional development events at least once a month. Our attendance ranges from 15 persons to as much as 100 persons depending on the event and collaboration.

 

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

Last semester we collaborated with two other graduate organizations (Graduate branches of National Society of Black Engineers and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) for a graduate networking event. We did a couple of “get to know” you activities. The event was well attended and everyone enjoyed learning more about each other the other graduate organizations.

 

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

Based on Cornell GradSWE’s experiences, some of the top tips would be to:

  1. Plan ahead – We usually plan for the next semester at the end of the current semester.
  2. Collaborate with other organizations – not only are you supporting other graduate organizations in your community but students can also see the different options available.
  3. Engage your general members – Always ask who is interested in helping. Be explicit that it is not necessarily a commitment to be on the executive board. If they do want to help, delegate work for them, maybe chair an event or help plan an event. This will encourage members to come out and give them a taste of how the organization is run.

 

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

Interested persons can email Malika Grayson (mg848@cornell.edu) and Hilda Mera (ham65@cornell.edu)