By Marie Louis, Ph.D., Research Engineer, Regis University
I did not know about the program; the idea came from one of my mentors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for me to apply for the opportunity to attend the Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering (ALWE) program. In October of this year 2017, I was graciously awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) ASSIST Travel grant which enabled me to attend the ALWE meeting in conjunction with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conference in Austin, Texas. One of the goals of applying to the ALWE program was to learn and network with professionals in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics(STEM) fields.
Attending the ALWE program enabled and enriched my awareness of the different kinds of women desired to become leaders in the engineering field. Attending the program gave me a fresh perspective on how and what one should and should not do while in the process of becoming leaders in a STEM field. At the ALWE meeting I had the opportunity of meeting, interacting with, and hearing first hand successful female leaders in a variety of fields.
The program invited exceptional guest speakers, and attendees were free to relate with the speakers at the end of each day. The program also scheduled specific talk sessions for attendees in which the speeches of the day were discussed and questions answered that the program speakers did not have the time to answer in the time allocated for the speeches.
I would describe the benefits I gained from the ALWE program as follows:
- I widened my networking web by socializing with other persons from various national and international institutions.
- I interacted with persons of like interests as myself to identify potential allies, associates, and companions in future projects. It also allowed me to learn what others are doing.
- I learned strategies to advance my leadership and research skills which would lead to my eventual achieving of my career goals.
- I received invaluable tips on proposal grant writing.
Attending the ALWE was a rewarding experience, so I intend to encourage other colleagues and friends to attend future ALWE programs. I believe the ALWE program is indeed an essential program that all women who aspire to becoming leaders should attend. The program is excellent in helping one to prepare and strengthen personal skills and advance academic career.
After attending that the ALWE program, I now have a good grasp of the what and how of the steps that I need to take for me to be moving towards achieving my career goals.
The ALWE program is based upon work partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1548200 and through the generosity of the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc.