I Want YOU! To Impact Public Policy

The Scientists and Engineers Impacting Public Policy panel was an overwhelming success – over 30 students attended!  While scientists and engineers are routinely praised for contributions to the research community, it is also important to recognize their valuable contributions to public policy and service. The ability to involve, engage, and serve the public can have a significant impact on research strategies, federal research priorities and funding, and educational programs to ensure future generations of STEM researchers. A panel of scientists and engineers discussed their service to government agencies and non-profits, shared strategies for engaging the public to advance and inform research agendas, and demonstrated how passion for science is changing the landscape of STEM education.PD_PolicyPanel_2_13_15_a (1)

The panelists described their experiences interfacing with the public and shaping public policy throughout their careers in water management, conservation, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology. Panelists emphasized the importance of communication and collaboration in their efforts with both fellow scientists and engineers as well as with public and private organizations. Peg Riley described the excitement of hearing language she helped develop in the State of Union address and the importance of working on something you are passionate about. Mark Tuominen talked about keeping perspective and representing the interests of your discipline and nation in developing research directions. Deborah Rocque discussed the importance of having excellent technical experts in government agencies interpreting and acting on legislation and policies. She also recommended reading “Don’t Be Such a Scientist” by Randy Olson about the emotional aspects of communicating and connecting with an audience on technical topics. David Reckhow talked about his experiences working with local water management organizations and Rick Adrion described working in different government positions to develop research agendas and increasing diversity in computer science and information technology fields.PD_PolicyPanel_2_13_15_b

We want to thank all of our incredible panelists for taking time out of their already-busy days to talk to us about this incredibly important issue.  As someone who is increasingly interested in the both the art and the necessity of science communication, this panel discussion was extremely gratifying and important to me.  I’m glad I got the chance to attend, and I hope you did too.  If you didn’t, don’t worry – there’s plenty more where this came from!  Stay tuned for more information about events related to science, communication, and public policy.

Undergraduate/Graduate Mentoring Dinner was a resounding success (again)!

Last week’s undergraduate/graduate mentoring dinner went extremely well! We had 30 attendees and received positive feedback about the speed elevator pitch activity, in which students were asked to give their short “elevator pitch” (what you would tell someone about your research if you met them on a long elevator ride) to other students. Students were nervous at first but after a couple rotations around the room everyone felt more comfortable and confident giving their pitches. Many undergrads made connections with grad students and will likely be in contact with them after the event.IMG_3286

Attendees learned what an elevator pitch is and when they can use one (networking, career fairs, job interviews, etc). We practiced our pitches on each other in a speed dating style between undergrads and grad students and gave each other feedback and suggestions on how to improve our pitches. The activity was followed by dinner from Panera and informal mingling and discussion between grad students and undergrads.
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This dinner is part of a series of undergraduate and graduate dinners sponsored by the Women for UMass Fund. Future mentoring dinners this semester will be March 12th and April 22nd.

 

Professional Development events to look forward to

There are several events held through the Professional Development committee coming up this spring semester. We hope to see you at a few!

This Tuesday, 2/24, the very popular Python Workshop Series is back by demand. The details are listed below. If you were wait-listed for this event series, you have not missed out! We will be restarting this series in March.

  • What: Interactive python programming workshops
  • Where: Integrated Sciences Building (ISB) 221
  • When: 11:20a.m. to 12:55p.m.
  • Session 1: Tuesday 2/24: basic programming – installing python, loops, if statements
  • Session 2: Thursday 2/26: python basics – numpy, scipy, plotting, matrix math
  • Session 3: Tuesday 3/3: data manipulation, library sci kit
  • Session 4: Thursday 3/5: mine your own data!

A new event occurring on March 12th is “PostDocs: Search and Experience” that is open to both graduate students and postdocs. This event is co-sponsored with the UMass STEM Ambassador Program. Topics related to various aspects of the postdoc life will be discussed by a panel of UMass postdocs in the STEM fields with plenty of time for questions.

  • What: PostDocs: Search and Experience
  • Where: Morrill III, Room 319
  • When: 7-7:50 pm

Registration will be required because there will be a pizza dinner, and that information will be available shortly.

Hope to see you there!

GWIS Professional Development

 

Graduate Students for Diversity in Science and Engineering Seminar

This Thursday the Graduate Students for Diversity in Science and Engineering (GSDSE, based in Polymer Science and Engineering) are hosting a diversity talk!

  • What: Seminar on promoting diversity in science and engineering
  • When: Thursday, February 19, 2015 – 4:00pm
  • Where: Conte National Center for Polymer Research
  • Details: Refreshments are provided at 3:30 pm.

Luis Campos, founder of Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science at UCLA and Graduate Students for Diversity in Science at UCSB will present a diversity seminar, speaking about his background and his experience promoting diversity in STEM.

Prof Campos will be also giving a technical talk on Friday Feb 20th about his research in functional nanomaterials at 3:30PM in the same location.

Upcoming Outreach Activities

Sign up to participate in upcoming GWIS Outreach events!

Where: the Amherst Regional Middle School (just 2 miles away from campus)!

Workshop: We’ll be doing a cool STEM activity with an 8th grade after school science club on a Tuesday from 3 to 4 pm. To sign up and see available dates, see form here.
Sound Bites cafe: Give a 20 minute talk about the cool research you do to 8th graders over lunch (Fridays). Sign up here.
We hope you join us to help inspire girls!

Graduate Student/Faculty Luncheons, 2/24 and 4/29

What: Graduate Student/Faculty Luncheons, a fantastic way to network or get advice in an informal, relaxed setting. Female faculty members from CNS and CoE are invited to attend so that STEM graduate students can meet with them and discuss topics ranging from research to work/life balance to academic politics and back again.  Enjoy a yummy (free) lunch while having engaging discussions – what could be better?

When: February 24 and April 9, 12-1

Where: Gunness Student Center in Marcus Hall

How to RSVP: Use the link below!  Register for one or both of the dates today!  This event fills up fast!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ourhNMi6_biy3BgkzA9K3d-_8pYQrUR_sjEwvWHP0-M/viewform

Python Workshops – back by popular demand!

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Back by popular demand, improved with feedback from you!

GWIS is holding a series of interactive workshops to show the ropes of the versatile programming language popular with scientists and engineers!

  • What: Interactive python programming workshops
  • Where: Integrated Sciences Building (ISB) 221
  • When: 11:20a.m. to 12:55p.m.
  • Session 1: Tuesday 2/24: basic programming – installing python, loops, if statements
  • Session 2: Thursday 2/26: python basics – numpy, scipy, plotting, matrix math
  • Session 3: Tuesday 3/3: data manipulation, library sci kit
  • Session 4: Thursday 3/5: mine your own data! 

Participants will interact with experts with free coffee and Atkins cider donuts!

Don’t forget to BRING YOUR LAPTOP!

Please be aware that the workshops build upon the content covered in previous workshops. We encourage you to attend the entire series or join us for the session that fits your programming background.

REGISTER HERE!

Hope to see you there!

GWIS Professional Development

Scientists and Engineers Impacting Public Policy

While scientists and engineers are routinely praised for contributions to the research community, it is also important to recognize their valuable contributions to public policy and service.  The ability to involve, engage, and serve the public can have a significant impact on research strategies, federal research priorities and funding, and educational strategies to insure future generations of STEM researchers.

A panel of STEM researchers will discuss their service to government agencies and non-profits, share strategies for engaging the public to advance and inform research agendas, and demonstrate how passion for science is changing the landscape of STEM education.  This discussion will encourage participants to think about the potential for public policy in their research today and throughout their careers.

This panel is co-sponsored by the Graduate School Office of Professional Development (OPD).

Lunch will be provided and pre-registration is required.

 

 

Date: Friday, February 13

Time:  11:30a m – 1:00pm

Location:  162-75 Campus Center

Announcing monthly STEM graduate student appreciation day coffee hours for Spring 2015

Need a midday pick-me-up? How about free coffee and snacks?

Mark your calendars for:

  • Wednesday, February 11 @ 2:30 PM in ISB 145 (special treats will be served in honor of “Galentine’s Day”)
  • Monday, March 23 @ 2:30 PM in Gunness Student Center
  • Wednesday, April 22 @ 2:30 PM in TBA

Come meet graduate students from other departments! All are welcome – no registration required.

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Sponsored jointly by GWIS and the Graduate School

Girls, Inc. Outreach Event a success!

The Spring semester has started for GWIS! On the 17th, 25 8th-9th graders who are a part of Girls, Inc. of Holyoke’s Eureka! program braved the cold on a Saturday morning to have some science fun at UMass. Our GWIS member (and Co-chair of Mentoring Committee in-training) Laura Parker designed a workshop called “Playing with Polymers” that involved creating Gloop and Oobleck through the process of polymerization using surprisingly easy materials found at the grocery store!

Thank you for our GWIS volunteers who joined us! These outreach workshops cannot be done without the enthusiasm and help of our volunteers. Everyone came out to UMass on a Saturday morning when it was literally 3 degrees outside! AMAZING!

Creating oobleck as GWIS volunteers Zana and Alyssa look on.

Creating oobleck as GWIS volunteers Zana and Alyssa look on.

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Laura, center, talks the girls through the creation of gloop!

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One of our girls displaying EXCELLENT measuring skills!

 

Are you interested in creating a STEM workshop or participating in one? Keep an eye out on the blog for our next outreach efforts, or sign up for GWIS emails!