Strong and active!
Strong and active!
WiE Newsletter - April 2020 - ISSUE 5
Dr. Rachelle Heller

Front and Center 

News from the Director

I had expected to be telling you about our upcoming events, the progress on our mentoring plan and other ‘business as usual’ stories, but these are not usual times.

But, still she persisted!

And persist we are. Along with the entire University, we are working from home, practicing social distancing and thinking way outside the proverbial box.

Usually, April is the month when our new students are welcomed to campus. They tour the facilities, meet the leaders and get to interact with current students. The Center had planned to be part of that welcome, but now we have a new plan. We recorded a welcome, which is found on our website and is also being shared with incoming students. But, a recorded welcome just doesn’t have the personal touch of a face-to-face meeting. Therefore, we established ‘zoom’-based virtual visits hosted by either Taly Walsh (WiE Assistant Director) or myself, and including at least one current student.

Our planned alumnae big networking event is now on hold. This has created an opportunity for the Center to share with our alumnae and supporters how SEAS has addressed their response to the Coronavirus – the challenges and solutions of moving our classes online and all of our student, faculty and staff supports as well. We will host a webinar on April 27 - see details and link to sign up below.

The Center is also a place for networking. You may have already received an email asking you for short videos (under 2 minutes – or photos accompanied by your report) on how you, as an engineer are addressing this crisis. What are you doing in your engineering practice, in addition to teleworking? Are you building support websites? Turning your 3-D printers into making parts for medical supplies? Coordinating new outreach to your employees? The invitation to contribute is included below. Let us know and we will post them on our website and share them with our community. What a great inspiration this could be to our students as they come to understand what it means to be an engineer.

And, we will continue to persist...

Shelly Heller
WiE Center Director
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WiE Webinar Update - RSVP

Tune In:  WiE Webinar Update April 27 

Raoul Gabiam, director, SEAS Computing Center
Raoul Gabiam, Director, SEAS Comp uting Center
Sierra Gabriel, SEAS Computing Facility
Sierra Gabriel, SEAS Computing Facility
Dawn Ginnetti, Professional Advisor for Students studying computer science, systems engineering and applied science and technology
Dawn Ginnetti, Professional Student Advisor
Erica Gralla, Associate Professor, Engineering Mgmt. & Systems Engineering
Erica Gralla, Assoc. Professor, Engineering Mgmt. & Systems Engineering

To SEAS Alumni, Students, Faculty and Staff

Tune in to WiE Webinar Update 4/27 (1:00pm EDT) on Academics and Research
Join us for a WiE webinar designed to stay in touch, virtually bring together our SEAS community in this time of social distancing. This interactive webinar presentation and discussion will feature:
  • Raoul Gabiam, director of the SEAS Computing Center, who will describe how SEAS has addressed the opportunities and challenges of supporting academics, research and everyday operations in this time of coronavirus. 
  • Sierra Gabriel, SEAS Computing Facility, who will describe some of the day-to-day issues being resolved.
  • Dawn Ginnetti, professional advisor for students studying computer science, systems engineering, and applied science and technology, will explain steps being taken to keep students connected and engaged and respond to their academic concerns.
  • Erica Gralla, associate professor, Engineering Management & Systems Engineering, will discuss the impact of the coronavirus to academics.
We know that many of you are experiencing information overload from your online activity, so you may be wondering why we are taking up more of your time. WiE is dedicated to supporting women engineers. While this is the current issue, it will not be the last social or environmental one. This webinar gives our stakeholders insight into how engineers are addressing the issues around them.
WiE Webinar Update - RSVP
WiE Edible Car Contestants
View the Video! This 3-minute video of the WiE Edible Car Contest, which was held February 24, 2020, shows the fun event during which seven teams of engineering students chose edible ingredients, then designed and assembled their edible vehicles. A panel of judges assessed the vehicles according to set measurements, edible ingredients and the ability to roll down a short ramp without breaking. The seven teams and their completed edible cars were: The SWEet Tooth; Lightning McQueen: KaCHEW; Actually Monday (Winning Team); Soy Bois; Compressed Air; Precision Pliers; and Tombolo. Also featured is an interview with GW SEAS Dean John Lach. Congratulations to all!
GW Middle School Girls Cyber Camp logo

GW Middle School Girls Cybersecurity Day Camp - Postponed Due to the Cororonavirus

For the past four years, we have hosted an NSA-sponsored GenCyber camp on GW's Mount Vernon Campus. The camp, focusing on middle school girls in order to introduce them to issues of cybersecurity, is typically a 10-day in-person camp. Over the last four years we have worked with nearly 100 young women, some of whom are heading off to college this year or next.

This year, we were again awarded a grant from NSA and were planning to offer the camp as usual, but as my mom used to say “(wo)men plan and gods laugh”  (Or should I edit that to say ‘(wo)men poses and God disposes’ or something else totally...!)

You can access to read about the camp. There is a section for camp activities that can be managed at home – have a look:

Thank you, and I truly hope to see you and these amazing young women soon.

Shelly Heller

Welcome, New George Hacks Director!  

Congrats to Karen Ruis, the new Director of George Hacks. Karen is a BME senior earning her Master's at GW. She first become involved in the 2019 George Hacks Competition when her team created a variable shin-length prosthetic for an amputee veteran and won Best Pitch. Karen stayed involved with George Hacks as an ambassador. She is pictured here with outgoing Director Caitlyn Pratt, B.S. BME Candidate.

Congrats, Anna Warhol, Junior GW BME Student

Junior BME student and GW gymnast Anna Warhol has been named the 2020 East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A GW Athletics press release details Anna’s accomplishments as a gymnast and scholar. The release notes that in addition to excelling in both pursuits this academic year, she also held a research position last summer at the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences department.

Invitation to Imagine/Create:

Tech Impacts of COVID-19

For most, the uncertainty delivered by the coronavirus crisis is taking up so much of our daily energy and attention. As students adjust to the new normal of remote learning, the Center for Women in Engineering is gathering relevant and informative content. If you are a practicing engineer, feel free to contribute at least one impact of the COVID-19 issue, relating to your engineering reality at work. A few examples:
  • Biomedical engineering applied to the virus
  • Computer science applied to organization’s interactivity with the public
  • Aviation engineering applied to downtime in the industry
  • Creative use of 3-D printers in manufacturing
  • New uses of social networks within a company
…you get the idea! We know that most may be adjusting to remote working and social distancing, so while that topic is of interest, it is secondary to the technical focus of this initiative.

Once you come up with your thoughts, we’d like to post a very brief (under 2 minutes) video or podcast of you describing the work. This can be done simply, using your smartphone or computer. We will post the videos/podcasts on the WiE website and promote them through this monthly WiE newsletter. If you prefer to write a brief blog, that’s OK too.
Please indicate your interest in participating by responding directly to WiE Assistant Director Taly Walsh at She will reach out to you to answer any questions you may have.

Recruiting Now:

BD Technology Leadership Development Program

 The TLDP is an R&D rotational program designed to develop high-potential candidates who have a thesis-based MS or PhD into future technical leaders in the organization. Download the flyer here.

What We are Reading WiE Director Shelly Heller
What are we reading?

I have a huge pile of material on my nightstand, but to tell the truth I’ve been looking for escapes – how about you? I have three to suggest:
The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship (Marilyn Yalom). This was given to me by my dear colleague Cathy Mavriplis and it captures everything I feel about how women support each other. While I have taken for granted the ability to sustain long-time friendships and to make new friends, the world was not always so. This historical look at friendship – across time and across cultures – underscores for me how important our friendships are.
Broad Band (Claire L. Evans).  This could not be more apropos during this time of extensive reliance on the internet. Broad Band chronicles the story of the women ‘who built the internet’. Profiles include some of the names we know – Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper – to new names and stories – Patricia Crowther, a caver who used her computing skills to map the connection between Mammoth Cave and the Flint Ridge Cave; and Jaime Levy, startup leader of Electronic Hollywood.
And finally, D-Day Girls (Sarah Rose). This is not a review of women as engineers, but rather as spies during World War II. It focuses on the women of Great Britain, reads like a novel and carries you away from today’s news for a while.

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