AeroWomen Workshop prepares female engineering graduate students for STEM careers

09/19/2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Eighteen graduate students from aerospace engineering and other Penn State College of Engineering programs took part in the first-ever Graduate AeroWomen Professional Development Workshop on Aug. 25 and 26 at the University Park campus.

The workshop, hosted by the aerospace engineering department, was created to help prepare female engineering graduate students for successful and sustainable STEM careers through the understanding and mastering of non-technical aspects.

"The AeroWomen Workshop was truly inspiring,” said Sema Erten, Ph.D. candidate in engineering science and mechanics. “It is crucial to have an open and evolving conversation about exciting, engaging, inspiring and empowering women in engineering fields and to have a platform to share ideas and experiences.”

The two-day event kicked off with keynote presentations by Amy Pritchett, aerospace engineering department head, and aerospace engineering alumna Pamela Gomez, NextGen Performance and Outreach, Federal Aviation Administration.

Additional sessions included the following:

  • Career panel discussion with Gomez; Swati Saxena, project and program manager at ESI Group R&D; Sunny Wicks, research engineer at Lockheed Martin; Peggy Johnson, dean of Penn State Schreyer Honors College and professor of civil engineering; and Julianna Simon, assistant professor of acoustics

  • Professional skills exercises on self-marketing, negotiation tactics and problem solving conducted by Namiko Yamamoto, co-organizer of the workshop and assistant professor of aerospace engineering, and Susan Stewart, co-organizer and senior research associate and associate professor of aerospace engineering and architectural engineering

  • Inclusivity seminar by Thomas Litzinger, assistant dean for educational innovation and accreditation and director of the Leonhard Center

  • Networking activities with fellow participants, engineering faculty and university personnel

“When I was a graduate student, I had this ‘unarticulated anxiety’ about my future career in engineering. It went away only after talking to senior professionals,” said Yamamoto. “From their stories and advice, I developed healthy expectations and felt supported in my career decisions. Our goal with the workshop was to pay it forward with the same type of advice and support from successful professionals across industry, government and academia.”

Feedback from the participants was positive. 

“The workshop was an enriching experience. It also reaffirmed my belief in the limitless possibilities for personal and professional development in the fields of science and engineering,” said Shreya Trivedi, graduate student in aerospace engineering.

Yamamoto and Stewart hope to build on the success of the event and conduct future workshops with expanded offerings. 

“We are engineers, so we are capable of scoping challenges and coming up with good solutions as a team,” said Stewart. “We hope to continue what we started with this workshop, and participation from the vast Penn State alumni network, including both women and men, would make a huge difference in its growth and continued success.”

The AeroWomen Workshop was sponsored by the University's Equal Opportunity Planning Committee. Michelle Vigeant, assistant professor of acoustics and architectural engineering, was also a co-organizer of the workshop.

To view photos from the workshop, please see the photo album.

For individuals who are interested in being involved with future AeroWomen workshops or activities, you may contact Namiko Yamamoto at nuy12@psu.edu.

 

Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email

MEDIA CONTACT:

Chris Spallino

cjs53@psu.edu

AeroWomen Workshop participants

AeroWomen Workshop attendees share ideas and experiences during one of the workshop sessions.

Namiko Yamamoto, assistant professor of aerospace engineeringNamiko Yamamoto, assistant professor of aerospace engineering

Susan Stewart, senior research associate and associate professor of aerospace engineering, and director of the Pennsylvania Wind for Schools ProgramSusan Stewart, senior research associate and associate professor of aerospace engineering

“The workshop was an enriching experience. It also reaffirmed my belief in the limitless possibilities for personal and professional development in the fields of science and engineering,” said Shreya Trivedi, graduate student in aerospace engineering.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Namiko Yamamoto
Aerospace Engineering
nuy12@psu.edu

 
 

About

The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569