2009 Career Mentoring Workshops (CMW)

Originally Printed in Summer/Fall 2009 Newsletter

CMW 2009Two CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshops (CMW) were held in 2009: The research focused workshop (CMW-RL) was held July 11 -12 in Pasadena, CA, in conjunction with the Twenty-first International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. The education  focused workshop (CMW-E) was held March 4 in Chattanooga, TN, in conjunction with SIGCSE 2009.

The goal of Career Mentoring Workshops (CMW) is to bring junior researchers and educators together with women CMW 2009already established in their fields. The established professionals provide practical information, advice, and support to their younger colleagues. CMW-RL provides mentoring activi-ties for female senior graduate students and women just starting as industrial researchers or faculty.  The work-shop in Pasadena was attended by 45 participants who attended panel sessions given by 11 speakers. The participants included 28 graduate students, seven post-docs, six tenure-track faculty, and four researchers from labs/industry.  For 63% of the participants this was their first CRA-W event. The career goals of the gradu-ate students spanned the entire spectrum of possible research positions, with a significant number of graduate students interested in a post-doc position after graduation. The workshop speakers were established researchers who also served as mentors and met individually with participants.   They included Cecilia Aragon, Carla Brodley, Tina Eliassi-Rad, Carla Ellis, Judy Goldsmith, Leana Golubchik, Susanne Hambrusch, Sandy Irani, Shimei Pan, Tessa Lau, and Ashley Stroupe.  Find past CMW Slides and Agendas here.

The workshop sessions attended by all participants covered the topics “Research as a career”, “Mentoring 101: How to find a mentor, how to be a mentor,” and “Time management.”  Graduate student participants and other prospective job searchers  attended the session “The job search process,” while those not expected to be on the job market next year attended “Growing your research program through funding, collaboration, networking.”  The remaining workshop sessions divided the participants based on a career or expected career in academia or the lab/industry environment. They included: “The tenure process” and “Advising/supervising students” versus “Getting started in the lab” and “Learning how to lead.”

The CMW-RL workshop achieved its goals of bringing together junior and senior researchers, outlining different CMW 2009research career paths as well as strategies for pursuing them, highlighting elements leading to success in a research career, and starting to build a network for female researchers.  Reflecting the current hiring situation in academia, student participants suggested that future workshops include a session on how to find and interview for a post-doc position and how to best use a post-doc position to build one’s own research record. In addition, participants suggested a joint session on how to handle two-body situations and expand discussion of this topic beyond its inclusion in the job search session.

The CMW-E workshop is conducted every other year in conjunction with ACM’s Computer Science Education Conference (SIGCSE).  The 25 attendees at this year’s workshop were awarded scholarships for participation in the workshop, registration for SIGCSE, travel, and lodging (for the workshop and the SIGCSE conference).  Participants included Ph.D. students in their final year who are interested in teaching as a career, Assistant Professors, and Associate Professors from teaching institutions distributed across the country.  The topics addressed issues of particular importance to faculty at teaching institutions: teaching strategies and learning styles, promotions and tenure strategies, networking strategies, research collaboration, time management, student engagement, and strategies on balancing teaching, research and service activities.  The workshop was held the day before the SIGCSE conference so participants could begin using some of their newly acquired skills and strategies during the following days while networking with others who had attended the workshop.  Speakers for the CMW-E workshop included experienced faculty who shared their expertise and advice with the participants: Susan Rodger, Jodi Tims, Ellen Walker, Lisa Landgraf, Susan Williams, Andrea Danyluk and Sheila Castañeda.