Opportunities to network, collaborate, and engage in mentoring relationships are critical to the graduate student experience. While networking leads to connections with other members of the community, collaborations often times result in tangible outcomes, and mentoring relationships provide a context for support, encouragement, and advice. The skills and connections gained through these interactions are beneficial not only in graduate school, but also throughout one’s career, since activities like networking, collaborating, and mentoring are everyday occurrences in the lives of professionals.
GEECS, the Graduate Engineering Education Consortium for Students, was designed to bring together a network of students engaged in engineering education for these types of interactions. This session provides an opportunity for students to learn from others' experiences and establish connections with one another. Current and former GEECS members will engage in discussions on how the organization was an avenue for networking, collaborating, and mentoring during graduate school, and how those experiences benefited them during the process of securing a position in industry, government, or academia.
This session will consist of three sections: A panel discussion, a short presentation, and a break-out session.
Panel Discussion (30 min):
Four panelists will discuss their networking, collaborating, and mentoring experiences in GEECS. After introducing themselves and summarizing their post-graduation employment experiences, each panelist will respond to two questions:
1. In what ways did your experience in GEECS enable networking, collaborating, and/or mentoring?
2. To what extent have these experiences provided a foundation for success in your career?
Session participants will be given an opportunity to ask the panelist questions as well.
Presentation (30 min):
Three faculty members in engineering education will share their top three to five tips on how to initiate and engage in networking, collaborating, and mentoring as a graduate student and during your career.
Break-out Session (30 min):
Session participants interested in networking, collaborating, and/or mentoring with other students will be given an opportunity to implement some of the tips discussed in the presentation and leave the session with a list of contacts. Participants will be divided into two main groups for a small-group discussion session. Attendees will self-select into groups based whether they want to form connections with others based on research interest or career trajectories (The two groups will be encouraged to divide into sub-groups of four to five people). While in groups, participants will introduce themselves to one another, generate a list of expectations for these types of interactions, and implement tips discussed in the presentation to make concrete plans for interacting with other session attendees after the session. Former and current GEECS members will mingle with the groups and serve as facilitators in the discussions.
Geoffrey L. Herman, Ph.D., is a visiting assistant professor with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois and conducted postdoctoral research in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He now serves as the Intrinsic Motivation Course Conversion project lead with the iFoundry and on the steering committee of the College of Engineering’s Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program.
Dr. Lauren D. Thomas is an “alternative academic” aiming to improve STEM education through research and practice. Holding a Ph.D. in engineering education, Lauren's research examines the identity-trajectory of graduate students. She held several fellowships in graduate school, including the NSF Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), and a special appointment at University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She has also worked a contractor at the U.S. Army Research Office overseeing the implementation of several STEM education programs and developing the Army’s STEM education research program. She is currently the program coordinator for a new effort, the Chancellor’s Science Scholars, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In this role Lauren designs professional development activities and advises undergraduate students in order to prepare them for competitive admission into leading Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. programs. Lauren is also the former chairperson of the Graduate Engineering Education Consortium for Students, GEECS.
Robin S. Adams is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She was also a Senior Design Engineer in the semiconductor packaging industry, an Assistant Director for Research at the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching, and the lead for the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education with the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. She received her Ph.D. in Education, Leadership and Policy Studies and her M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Dr. Adams seeks to empirically develop “languages for learning” in areas central to engineering practice – cross-disciplinarity and design – and engineering education. A language of learning describes what it means to know, be able to do, or be as a professional and how this changes over time and through experience. It provides tools for learners to reflect upon and self-assess their own progress, teachers to design and assess learning experiences, and leaders to take action in shaping engineering education programs and policies. Her group, XRoads, collaborates on research at the “crossroads” where different perspectives connect, collide, and catalyze new ways of thinking.
Monica F. Cox, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and is the Inaugural Director of the Engineering Leadership Minor. She obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College, a M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Teaching interests relate to the professional development of graduate engineering students and to leadership, policy, and change in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Primary research projects explore the preparation of engineering doctoral students for careers in academia and industry and the development of engineering education assessment tools. She is a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career (CAREER) award winner and is a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Engineering Education Innovation Center and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. At Virginia Tech, Rachel was a Dean’s Teaching Fellow, which afforded her the opportunity to teach first-year engineering courses along with graduate level teaching practicums. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, and innovative approaches to teaching. She is a recipient of the 2012 American Society for Engineering Education Women in Engineering Division Mara H. Washburn Early Engineering Educator Grant. Currently, she teaches within the first-year engineering program at Ohio State while maintaining an active engineering education research program.
David B. Knight is an assistant professor in Virginia Tech's Department of Engineering Education and affiliate faculty member with the Higher Education program. His research interests include student outcomes, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, learning analytics, diversification of STEM fields, international higher education, and organizational issues in higher education.