Happy 2020! Mentoring, negotiating, networking
Happy 2020! Mentoring, negotiating, networking
WiE Newsletter - January 2020 - ISSUE 2
Dr. Rachelle Heller

Front and Center 

News from the Director

Welcome to 2020. Just as you are making - or remaking - your resolutions, the Center is as well. We resolved to:
  • Set up a mentoring program
  • Continue to support our career toolkit
  • Continue to distribute updates on how unconscious bias impacts our jobs as students, faculty and staff
  • Include a program on unconscious bias for our alumni
Some are more easily accomplished than others, just as personal resolutions span from easy to hard. But, we are dedicated and determined.
We invite you to join the WiE Mentoring Program, which incorporates best practices from other engineering schools and the published literature. Based on "Effective Mentoring in STEMM: Practice, Research, and Future Directions" (National Academy of Sciences, 2019), WiE is coordinating structured, co-pilot relationships between mentoring pairs (mentor-mentee). Each mentoring pair will be encouraged to build trust over time as they self-guide the relationship. The role of the WiE Center is to ‘be there’ to help steady the course, as mentoring relationships often evolve due to job changes, family issues and personalities. Because each pair will create their relationship structure, mentors and mentees do not need to be in the same location. So, here is where you come in. Please let us know if you are willing to become a mentor and/or if you need a mentor. The form is at  https://womenengineers.seas.gwu.edu/mentor-match-form.
Need to brush up on negotiating skills? Linda Babcock’s book, "Women Don’t Ask" sets the stage of adding negotiation to our Career Toolkit. She points out that a simple difference in starting salary of $1,000 a year, with the same percentage increases each year, leave over 1 million dollars ‘on the table’ after a career. While women believe they are not good negotiators, we negotiate every day. We deal with colleagues, family members, buy cars, and evaluate choices, without thinking we are negotiating. Yet when it comes to negotiating for a raise, or a starting salary, or work-life balance, we tend to agonize or completely freeze up - hence the topic of our next Career Toolkit workshop: Negotiating: Getting What You Want and When to Say No. Ellen Kandel developed this workshop for FORWARD to PROFESSORSHIP, a grant that Cathy Mavriplis and I have led, starting in 2004. The workshop includes information on what negotiation means and the impact of not negotiating; and then a full-on role playing activity to practice our skills. The workshop is open to all, Wednesday, January 29 from 4:45 pm to 6 pm, and pizza will be served. Please RSVP to scwie@gwu.edu. See you there!
WiE's introductory material and presentations on issues of unconscious bias and micro-aggressions have been well received. But to move the needle on this issue, it needs to be adopted in our culture and everyday lives. Our second update to faculty is focused on how men and women represent their research, and it turns out they do so differently. Knowing that men more often use strong words to stress the impact of their work and that they more often share the news about their research should help faculty search committees review applicants with a clear (and maybe jaundiced) eye. Future updates this term will discuss diversity and the engineering curriculum, as well as male colleagues as partners in promoting the role of women in engineering. The updates are available on our website under resources.
We plan to hold a major alumni networking event in the Spring. If you have a preference for a speaker or a workshop on unconscious bias, please let us know (email scwie@gwu.edu).
Last but certainly not least, we proudly celebrate a GW alumna, Dr. Guyue (Grace) Liu, who achieved the coveted credential of Rising Star 2019, a list published by the University of Illinois (read more about Grace's technical focus in the article below).
With wishes for a happy and meaningful year.
Shelly Heller
WiE Center Director

Subscribe to Receive Information

Please be sure to opt in to receive ongoing WiE news at this link. Please share this link with your network as well!
Ellen Kandell, Esq., President, Alternative Resolutions

Brush up on Your Negotiating Skills: Negotiation Workshop January 29, 2020

Throughout your career, either when interviewing for a job or working on a team, you need to have negotiation skills. This one-hour workshop in our Career Toolkit series, presented by expert mediator Ellen Kandell Esq., President of Alternative Resolutions, focuses on interest-based negotiation concepts.
Using some relevant fact patterns you will be able to plan your negotiation and practice it with a partner. You will leave with salary negotiation tips and a negotiation planning guide.
Reserve your place by contacting scwie@gwu.edu
Lynn Mayo, CEO of RePicture Engineering

Mentoring Presentation: January 22, 2020

Location: SEH B1270
Time: 6:00 pm. 
Lynn Mayo, PE, the the CEO of RePicture Engineering, will discuss mentors and how to get one. This event is co-hosted by Javier Revilla, the chair for Professional Development of the ASCE National Capital Section Younger Members Forum, the SEAS Women in Engineering Center, and Prof. Kim Roddis of CEE. All are welcome.

WiE Workshops and Events

All are welcome!

Women in Engineering Career Toolkit Series: The SEAS Center for Women in Engineering is presenting sessions to help SEAS students and recent alumnae gain the skills they need to launch their career. The one-hour sessions are open to all SEAS students, but are geared particularly to women students. Visit the Center for Women in Engineering site for more details.
  • January 29, 2020: Negotiation: Getting What You Want and When to Say No (see description above)
  • February 19, 2020: Panel on Why Engineering Needs Many Voices
  • February 25, 2020: Mock Interviews
  • February 28, 2020: SEAS Job Fair
Guyue (Grace) Liu

Kudos to Dr. Grace Liu, GW Alumna!

WiE is excited to recognize Guyue (Grace) Liu, who made the list of Rising Stars 2019, published by host institution, University of Illinois. Rising Stars is an intensive workshop launched at MIT in 2012 and held annually around the country for women graduate students and postdocs who are pursuing academic careers in computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering.
Grace received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from GW in 2019, advised by Prof. Timothy Wood. Currentlhy a postdoctoral researcher at CMU working with Prof. Vyas Sekar, her research interests are in the areas of networking, security and systems. Grace is widely published in top conferences including SIGCOMM, and has interned and collaborated with leading research institutes, such as Microsoft Research and Hewlett Packard Labs.
Grace won her place as a Rising Star 2019 with her research on Novel Abstractions for Software-Based Networks. Network Functions (NFs) (e.g., firewalls, proxies and caches) are crucial to modern networks to meet security, performance and policy compliance goals. Specialized hardware devices used to perform these tasks, but are no longer a good choice for cloud providers and large carriers, due to the high cost and low flexibility. Thus, network operators are seeking to run network functions on commodity servers using software-based solutions. One answer requires processing packets at 10Gbps or beyond to avoid slowing down applications; conquering software failures without disrupting network operations; managing large-scale hosts efficiently to minimize extra communication overheads - yet traditional software and virtualization techniques cannot fulfil these requirements.
Grace's work at the intersection of systems and negtworking solves the problem by building Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platforms, demonstrating not only how to design and optimize the underlying system to overcome performance problems, but also how to provide flexible abstractions for applications, hiding system-level communication and processing concerns. 
Specifically, Grace has designed (1) a high-performance service chaining platform that provides a unified abstraction, enabling packets to be moved efficiently at each level; (2) a novel service chaining abstraction that breaks the monolithic model into modular micro-services; (3) a distributed real-time performance monitoring platform that allows users to unobtrusively identify and extract necessary data in the middle of the network, without instrumenting the application or understanding the complicated underlying network topology.
Congratulations on your continuing achievements, Grace! WiE is proud to count you amongst the GW SEAS alums!

Apply for a SWE Scholarship!

Upperclass Deadline to Apply: February 14, 2020
In 2019, the Society of Women Engineers awarded nearly 260 new and renewed scholarships valued at more than $810,000. SWE Scholarships support those who identify as a female/woman and are pursuing an associate, bachelor or graduate degree in engineering, engineering technology and computer science both in the United States and internationally.
Students complete one application and are considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible. The application process is entirely online including submission of recommendation letters and transcripts.
If you will be a sophomore through Ph.D. candidate in the 2020-2021 academic year, apply online for a SWE ScholarshipDecember 1, 2019 through February 14, 2020. If you will be a freshman in the upcoming fall semester, you may apply March 1 through May 1, 2020. Learn more on our SWE Scholarships page. 
Scholarship for Service logo

Scholarship for Service - Deadline January 31, 2020

GW and the School of Engineering are proud to announce the opening of our applications for the highly competitive Scholarship for Service. The form is available at this link
The scholarship is open only to U.S. citizens. Please contact cspri@gwu.edu for more information on the scholarship program.

What We are Reading

...by WiE Director Shelly Heller
A must-read just appeared in Nature - Race and Racism in the Geosciences, December 16, 2019. Kuheli Dutt, The Director of Academic Affairs and Diversity at Columbia University’s Earth Institute,  focuses on the lack of diversity in the field of geosciences and suggests that only with focused, intentional efforts will we be able to effect change. Kuheli notes that in the geosciences, the least diverse STEM field, over 90% of the doctorates go to white students, and this has been the status quo for at least the last 40 years. The impact is not only to the lack of new members in the scientific community, but also to the inability to retain those members from underrepresented minority groups. 

I focused on one of her conclusions:

Diversity and inclusion need to be prioritized in institutional procedures such as search and awards committees. Furthermore, bias training needs to be considered on a par with scientific and technical training. To set an example, institutional leaders should visibly and actively participate in bias trainings. There are mixed opinions about the efficacy of bias trainings, as it takes more than training to transform a culture. Nevertheless, bias trainings are still an essential first step towards better understanding race and racism.”

I am proud to say that the WiE Center has taken a leading position in focusing change within the GW Engineering school -- not only the trainings we have held, but in regular notes to our community with additional information and insights into addressing and expanding representation of a diverse community. 
Kuheli's article in Nature was picked up in a December 23 New York Times piece titled "Earth Science Has a Whiteness Problem." To quote the piece: "Her article in Nature Geoscience last week, titled 'Race and Racism in the Geosciences,' was so popular that the journal’s editors removed its pay wall.”

Subscribe to Receive Information

The George Washington University
Subscribe to our email list.