Grad WiE Network

Vision and Mission of the Grad WiE Network

The Grad WiE Network strives to empower and connect women engineering graduate students.


To provide a supportive environment for the purpose of sharing information and strategies to enable women engineering graduate students to achieve success personally, academically, and professionally. 

Program Objectives
  • Community: To establish an inclusive network that affirms, inspires, and supports women and gender minorities throughout the engineering graduate career. 
  • Strategies: To provide opportunities to develop skills and introduce strategies for professional and personal development.
  • Advancement: To provide an enriching experience that encourages individual growth, and furthers the community of women engineers. 
2024 Grad WiE Network Symposium: Sharing Your Voice, Taking Your Next Leap

Calling all graduate women in engineering!

Grow your confidence. Present your amazing work. Cultivate your networks. 

The Grad WiE Network will host the

3rd annual Grad WiE Network Symposium

Sharing Your Voice, Taking Your Next Leap
on Tuesday February 13, 2024
at Purdue University

A professional development workshop will be held on Monday, February 12, 2024. 

The Grad WiE Network Symposium is an opportunity for women graduate students to build community, support your peers, hear about exciting research, and learn from inspiring alumnae. 

Registration opens December 1, 2023. 

Questions, please contact the Grad WiE Network Leadership team:

Individuals of all races, genders, and backgrounds are welcome.

2024 Grad WiE Network Symposium: Registration Open

Sharing Your Voice, Taking Your Next Leap

3rd Annual Grad WiE Network Symposium

Register here!

Call for Abstracts

The Graduate Women in Engineering Network (Grad WiE Network) Symposium will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. It is a unique opportunity for College of Engineering graduate students to build their network, share the impact of their work in new and engaging ways, and learn from inspiring alumnae. The symposium accepts abstracts on topics associated with your research. We encourage all presenters to use active engagement strategies when presenting, so please start thinking about how your will engage your audience.

Incentive for Presenters

Those who are registered for and present at the Grad WiE Network Symposium will be eligible for the WiE Travel Grant drawing. Five (5) WiE Travel Grants of $2,000 each will be randomly awarded. WiE Travel Grant funds can only be used for professional conference travel within the 2024 calendar year at which the awardee presents their novel research. Names will be drawn at the end of day Closing Reception. Must be a current CoE graduate student and present to win.

Key Points

  • Submit a 250-500 word abstract that includes an introduction, research significance (which answers the question "why did you do this research?"), methodology, key findings, and the implications of your work. Please keep in mind that your abstract will likely be reviewed by someone outside your field; thus, write for someone who may not be familiar with your research area. 
  • The symposium has 4 presentation types (outlined below). Indicate your top 2 preferences for presentation type on your submission.

Presentation Types

  • Pecha Kucha- 400 seconds to tell your story with visuals guiding the way. Pecha Kucha means chit-chat in Japanese
    • Goal: Creative use of images and storytelling to show your research; opportunity to think creatively about your work and how you convey its impact to others.
    • Presentation Format:
      • PowerPoint with 20 images, 20 seconds each, auto-advancing slides
      • 6.5-minute PowerPoint presentation
      • 3-minute Q&A session
  • Postcard Style Presentation- a concise and engaging format for sharing your research, inspired by the simplicity of a postcard; designed to convey key insights quickly and memorably.
    • Goal: Master the art of concise communication and captivate your audience with a memorable snapshot of your research.
    • Presentation Format:
      • 3-minute PowerPoint presentation in a provided postcard template for each presenter to present your research.
      • 30-minute session for in-depth research discussion using printed version of your postcard as a representation of your research.
    • Presentation Requirements:
      • A postcard template for the PowerPoint presentation will be provided closer to the symposium.
      • Printed postcards should have dimensions of letter size (8.5 x 11 inches).
  • Reverse Presentation- in this style of presentation, the presenter begins with the fundamental problem or question that their research is answering (e.g., How might we fabricate a heat exchanger with improved thermal efficiency?, How might we encourage students to (re) engage with user information during their design process?) then provide the audience the solution or findings. The remainder of the talk is then focused on stepping the audience through the process of getting from the problem/question to the solution. As you step the audience through this process, they should feel like they are embarking on the research process with you! As a reminder, few people will share expertise in your technical field - ensure that the discussion of the research process is accessible to a multidisciplinary audience!
    • Goal: Think critically about the problems related to your research and how to present them in an audience engaging way.
    • Presentation Format:
      • 8-minute PowerPoint presentation
      • 2-minute Q&A session
  • Traditional Conference Talk- the traditional way of presenting your research at an academic conference; usually has slides to aid listeners understand the topic.
    • Goal: Practice presenting and answering questions for a talk meant for a traditional academic conference.
    • Presentation Format:
      • 10-minute PowerPoint presentation
      • 2-minute Q&A session

The deadline for submitting abstracts was Monday, November 13, 2023.

Acceptance deadline is December 7, 2023

Questions, please contact the Grad WiE Network Leadership team:

2024 Grad WiE Network Symposium: FAQs

FAQs for Presenters

FAQs for Attendees

WiE Travel Grant Award for Graduate Students

Congratulations to the 2023 WiE Travel Grant winners who were selected from presenters at the 2nd annual Grad WiE Network Symposium: Sharing Your Voice, Extending Your Reach held February 7, 2023.

  • Zeynep Gonca Akdemir (PhD ENE) - "Integrating Learning of Science with Engineering Design in a Physics Course for Elementary Preservice Teachers", National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Chicago, IL, April 2023.
  • Claudia Benito Alston (PhD BME)
  • Nikita Krishnan (PhD BME)
  • Margaret Perlman (PhD CE) - "Initial Study of Direct Shear Mechanism in Steel-Plate Composite (SC) Structures", 6th International Conference of Protective Structures, Auburn, AL, May 14-17, 2023.
  • Asha Ramanujam (PhD CHE) - "Distributed Manufacturing for Electrified Chemical Processes in a Microgrid" and "A Parametric Cost Function Approximation Algorithm for Multiscale Decision-Making", AIChE 2023 Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, November 2023.
  • Katherine Riley (PhD ME) - "Flexible Mechanical Sensors with Time-Dependent, Viscoelastic Responses", IEEE International Conference on Flexible, Printable Sensors and Systems (FLEPS), Boston, MA, July 9-12, 2023.
  • Rajni Sah (PhD ECE) - "Next-Generation Silicon Carbide MOSFETs: Powering the EV Revolution", IEEE Semiconductor Interface Specialists Conference, San Diego, CA, December 2023.
  • Montgomery Smith (PhD CHE) - "Process Control and Design of the Continuous Crystallization of a Polymorphic Agrochemical", International Symposium on Industrial Crystallization (ISIC), Glasgow, Scotland, September 2023.
  • Pankti Thakkar (MS BME)
  • Victoria Tucker (PhD MSE) - "The role of Co on Suzuki segregation in Ni- and Co- based superalloys", The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS), San Diego, CA, March 19-23, 2023.
Past Symposia
2023: Sharing Your Voice, Extending Your Reach

2022: Sharing Your Voice, Making An Impact

Program Booklet

Abstract Booklet

Meet the Grad WiE Network Leadership Team
Suzanne Zurn-Birkhimer | Associate Director
Suzanne Zurn-Birkhimer | Associate Director
Dr. Zurn-Birkhimer is the Associate Director of the Women in Engineering Program and oversees the Grad WiE Network. Here is her bio.

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"The Grad WiE Network is near and dear to my heart. I was involved in a similar program during my graduate years. Not only did it allow me to build a community of women scholars, I was able to grow personally and professionally. I am excited that we continue to bring these amazing opportunities to students today."
Cathy Deno | Administrative Assistant
Cathy Deno | Administrative Assistant
Cathy is one of the Women in Engineering Program's Administrative Assistants. She works with the mentoring program teams and the WE Link recruitment team. Here is her bio.

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"I love that the Grad WiE Network offers our women graduate students not only the opportunity to network with women outside of their disciplines but also a safe place to practice unique ways of presenting their research at the annual symposium."
Olivia Brandt | PhD Student | Materials Engineering
Olivia Brandt | PhD Student | Materials Engineering
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Olivia is from Los Angeles and obtained a bachelor's degree in materials engineering from the University of California, Riverside in 2019. Olivia's PhD research is focused on understanding ceramic processing techniques that are used to create heat exchanges. Besides the Grad WiE Network, Olivia is active in the American Ceramics Society where she is chair of the President's Council of Student Advisors. In her spare time, Olivia enjoys playing the piano, cycling, and watching her favorite TV shows.

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"The Grad WiE Network is an exceptional program that offers networking opportunities with alumnae and students within different engineering disciplines and provides a space for academic, personal, and professional growth through unique programming. The Grad WiE Network has given me resources and skills that I could not have obtained through my own engineering discipline and has allowed me to make connections that I would have otherwise missed if I was not involved."
Burla Ondes | PhD Student | Industrial Engineering
Burla Ondes | PhD Student | Industrial Engineering
Burla received her B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida at Gainesville in 2019. Her PhD research is focused on deriving performance bounds for multi-objective simulation optimization algorithms. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, visiting springs and reading novels.

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"The Grad WiE Network is an extraordinary program that offers many opportunities for women graduate students such as networking with alumnae and fellow women graduate students along with the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. It also provides a welcoming environment for women graduate students in any discipline of engineering which is extremely important especially in graduate school."
Angie Rojas Cardenas | PhD Student | Materials Engineering
Angie Rojas Cardenas | PhD Student | Materials Engineering
Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Angie received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) in 2022. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue University. Her undergraduate research work focused on visualizing the stress on a confinement elastomer using mechanophores. She is currently working on a research project under the guidance of Prof. Chelsea Davis (MSE) and Prof. Amy Marconnet (ME) on Thermally conductive polymers. 

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"The Grad WiE Network is an exceptional program that actively promotes diversity and inclusion within the engineering community. By fostering connections with other women in engineering and even alumni, it provides a valuable opportunity to create a strong support network. I wholeheartedly encourage all graduate women in engineering to join us at our various events. Here, they will discover a welcoming and nurturing environment where they can forge meaningful friendships and find the support they need to thrive in their academic and professional journeys."
Elizabeth Sanders | PhD Student | Engineering Education
Elizabeth Sanders | PhD Student | Engineering Education
Hometown: Central Illinois

Elizabeth is an Engineering Education PhD student, originally from Central Illinois. She completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her M.S. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. Her current research focuses on human-centered design, ethics, and empathy in engineering. Outside of school, she likes to spend her time making music, doing art, being outdoors, or enjoying some live music!

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"The Grad WiE Network is an incredible program that intentionally centers community among women graduate students. I love that the Grad WiE Network provides an inclusive and welcoming space for women graduate students to connect across disciplines and create meaningful, lasting friendships!"
Anne Serban | PhD Student | Chemical Engineering
Anne Serban | PhD Student | Chemical Engineering

Anne received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2020. She is part of the Beaudoin group and is currently working on understanding the adhesion between energetic particles and their binders. In her free time, Anne enjoys being outside and trying new foods. 

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"The Grad WiE Network provides opportunities to meet fellow women in engineering and helps build networks; this was especially meaningful to me as I joined Purdue during COVID."
Shanmukhi Sripada | PhD Student | Mechanical Engineering
Shanmukhi Sripada | PhD Student | Mechanical Engineering

Shanmukhi is from New Dehli, India, and obtained a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2021 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Dehli, India. She worked as an R&D engineer at Dassault Systèmes Solutions Lab before joining Purdue University as a PhD student. Her research is focused on minimizing the thermal resistance in the stator-winding assembly in electric motors. On the computational side, she is working on developing a Physics informed Neural networks model for accurate estimation of thermal properties of materials. She is also the Chair of Women in Mechanical Engineering at OMEGA (Official Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association). In her spare time, she plays Badminton, attends Zumba classes, and reads books.

Why the Grad WiE Network is great
"By joining the Grad WiE Network, I established valuable connections with fellow women engineers, including graduate students, professionals, faculty, and alumni, who share my dedication to making significant contributions in the field of engineering. Participating in the Pop-In events and presenting at the symposium not only allowed me to network with women who share similar goals but also enabled me to develop lifelong friendships that I hold dear."

Grad WiE Network Partner:


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