WiE Newsletter -April 2023 - ISSUE 37
Dr. Shelly Heller
Dr. Shelly Heller

Front and Center 

News from the Director

It’s April, no foolin’
Kudos to SEAS for recent statistics noted in the most recent ASEE report Engineering and Engineering Technology by the Numbers (November 2021) that of the 254 schools reviewed, our GW Engineering programs placed in the Top 10 in two categories: one for our undergraduate program and one for our doctoral program.
GW’s program was in the Top 10 Institutions by Percentage of Bachelor’s Degrees awarded to Women. But, since the top 3 schools were programs only for women, GW scored even higher in our humble position.  
Our doctoral program was noted as in the Top 10 Institutions by Total Doctoral Degrees awarded to Underrepresented Minorities. While our numbers (13 doctoral degrees awarded) our percentage could be better. We have work to do.             
Kudos, too, to our newly elected Biomedical Engineering department chair Dr. Vesna Zderic. 
With Dr.Vesna’s ascendance to the role of chair, SEAS can now proudly claim that as of August 1, 2023 50% of our departments will be led by women. Dr.Vesna joins current Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Chair, Dr. Zoe Szajnfarber and incoming Computer Science chair Dr. Rebecca Hwa.
Great news comes based on hard work – congratulations to all involved.


 With Warm Regards for a safe and healthy Spring!
                                                     Dr. Shelly Heller 
                                                     WiE Center Director

An Update on Mentoring
As we have been readying our relaunch of our mentoring program, we have been reading a lot of research on mentoring practice and the value of mentoring. 
Our juniors are in a special place. They are moving from foundational courses to deep dives into their chosen engineering field. Research shows that both hard skill and soft skill readiness of college graduates is a concern for students, industry, and academia alike (Starr, 2023). They have time to build a resume of curricular choices, summer internships, professional society memberships and extra-curricular activities. 

But, what they don’t have is an active mentoring program. 
We are ready and hope you are. As a reminder, our program links SEAS alums with current SEAS junior undergraduate students or SEAS graduate students. We try to foster mentoring teams in in the same disciplines and offer mentor. No experience necessary as we will provide mentee training. Please sign up to be a mentor and share the opportunity with your network! 

Use this link to apply to be a mentor or mentee 
Have we ignored other students? No!
Our WiE mentoring program for junior undergraduate students is augmented by established programs for our other students.
As a first year student you would have been guided by a SEAS Student Peer Advisory Network (SEASSPAN) mentor to help you transition and navigate your first year in GW Engineering. Our current program brings together about 30 carefully selected from various backgrounds and have unique interests that help to complement the diversity of our incoming class.  They act as liaisons to the SEAS administration, are part of the SEAS Summer Orientation program, help to coordinate the New Student Experience/ The Getaway, and support the integration of new students into the SEAS community. Additionally, the first year mentors plan engaging programs throughout the year and introduce new students to the various opportunities and resources available to them. Consistent with the research findings, both mentors and mentees in this program report that they have engaged in an invaluable experience.
In recent years, we have expanded our peer mentoring program to include the Undergraduate Ambassadors who support incoming transfer students and sophomores. The SEASSPAN Undergraduate Ambassadors are major-specific, and help students connect with their academic department through programmatic activities undergraduate research, career development, and professional student organizations. 
But, what about programs to mentor other students?  A practical note is that seniors are super busy  - their focus is on completing their senior design, verifying that they are on track to graduate and seeking a job! GW and SEAS are well positioned to help students in their job search through Career Services and the use of Handshake. 

WiE Meet Our Faculty Series

One of our newest faculty members, Sibin Mohan, is our next presenter at our regular Meet Our Faculty presentation on April 19th. Sibin is a member of the GW Systems Security Research Group and his research interests includesystemssecuritynetworking and autonomous systems with a focus on  resiliency and security for CPS, autonomous and IoT-style systems, secure cloud computing, resilient safety-critical systems using software defined networking (SDN), security for V2X systems and understanding the behavior of UAV swarms.

Join us on Wednesday, April 19th from 12:00PM-1:00PM for our April installment of the Meet our Faculty series. Dr. Sibin Mohan will be presenting his reasearch "How do we increase Trust in Autonomous Vehicles?" 

Interested in learning more? RSVP Here 

                                         REMEMBER, ALL ARE WELCOME at WiE EVENTS

Want to Stay in touch? 

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What WiE Are Reading

Teaching style by professors is part of a mentoring relationship. The March 2023 issue of Inside Higher Ed reports that a majority of respondents “to the recent Inside Higher Ed/College Pulse survey of 3,004 students at 128 four- and two-year institutions say teaching style has made it hard to succeed in a class since starting college.” This makes a “teaching style that didn’t work for me” the top barrier to academic success “cited by students in the survey over all.” Number two was wanting professors to “experiment with different teaching styles,” and the third top barrier was wanting “greater flexibility when it comes to class attendance and participation.” Among these impediments, the share of students who say they’re “negatively impacted by teaching styles that don’t match how they learn” is significantly higher “for students with learning disabilities or related conditions.” Additionally, some “60 percent of LGBTQIA+ students (n=899) say teaching style has been a barrier to their academic success, compared to 53 percent of straight students (n=2,095)

Would a series of strong mentoring relationships ameliorate or lessen the stress that is driving so many students to withdraw from their programs? The March 
Higher Ed Dive report notes, “More than 40% of college students considered withdrawing from their programs during a six-month period in 2022, according to a new Gallup and Lumina Foundation survey breaking down mental health problems on campuses.” Of those students, “more than half attributed those musings to emotional stress, including nearly 70% of bachelor’s degree students who considered stopping out.” Meanwhile, “only 14% of students surveyed who contemplated stopping out cited the reason as the spread of COVID-19.” For comparison, in 2020, “almost half of students who thought they might stop out blamed the pandemic.”

We have our work to do. Please consider joining our mentoring program for our Junior students. No experience necessary as we will provide mentee training. Please sign up to be a mentor and share the opportunity with your network! 
Use this link to apply to be a mentor or mentee. 

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