This article is published in the November 2012 issue.

Terrific CRA-W Mentoring Workshops at Grace Hopper 2012

CRA-W hosted another successful set of Career Mentoring workshops on the afternoon of Oct 3rd at Grace Hopper 2012 in Baltimore. Designed to be a “bite-sized” version of our two day Career Mentoring workshops, CRA-W sessions at Grace Hopper are organized into three tracks: Undergraduate, Graduate and Early Professional, each consisting of three one hour sessions. CRA-W has run these workshops at Grace Hopper since 2009. Our workshops consistently have a large number of attendees and receive very positive ratings on the Grace Hopper attendee survey. In 2012, all nine sessions had more than 70 attendees and the final session in the Graduate track on “Building Your Professional Network” had over 150 people learning about and actively practicing their networking skills. Slides from all the sessions are available on the CRA-W website on the Career Mentoring Workshops at Grace Hopper page.

The success of the workshops are the result of the experience and enthusiasm our distinguished group of speakers bring to their sessions. All presenters have been working to make their sessions interactive and kept attendees engaged with a range of strategies including short small group discussions and pausing frequently for questions.

The Undergraduate Track started with a presentation on Undergraduate Research Opportunities presented by Jamika Burge (Information Systems Worldwide) and Andrea Danyluk (Williams College) that covered what research is, why attendees should consider participating in research opportunities, and includes a great list of research opportunities for undergraduates.  Next, undergraduates learned about the Graduate School Experience from A.J. Brush (Microsoft Research) and Lori Pollock (University of Delaware) including the graduate school timeline, how graduate school differs from college, and choosing research topics.  A session on How to Apply to Graduate School presented by Tracy Camp (Colorado School of Mines) and Susan Rodger (Duke University) completed the Undergraduate Track.   Professors Camp and Rodgers discussed the application process, deciding where to apply, the differences between a Master’s and Ph.D., and strategies students can use to increase their chances of being accepted to graduate school.


The Graduate Track kicked off with a session on Graduate Survival Skills from Rachel Pottinger (University of British Columbia) and Nancy Amato (Texas A&M University).  Aimed at first and second year graduate students, this session covers hot topics including how to make sure you are getting what you need in graduate school and how to handle a range of common challenges from advisor interactions to research frustration.  In the next session, Publishing Your Research, Maria Gini (University of Minnesota) and Meredith Ringel Morris (Microsoft Research) outlined best practices related to research publications including strategies for improving technical writing, handling name changes, and the importance of being an ethical author.  The Graduate Track finished with a very popular session on Building Your Professional Network where Miche Baker-Harvey (Google) and Elizabeth Bautista (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) had the room buzzing with folks practicing their networking skills and sharing successful strategies for networking.

The Early Professional Track started with the always well-attended Finding Your Dream Job session presented by Kathleen Fisher (DARPA) and Erika Shehan Poole (Pennsylvania State University).  With tips on the application process, interviewing and the importance of negotiating job offers, this session offered attendees practical advice to help them in their job search.  Next in the Starting and Growing Your Own Research Program session, Julie Adams (Vanderbilt University) and Deb Agarwal (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab) discussed strategies for being successful in growing your own reputation and research program, in particular how to build collaborations and author proposals.  The final session, Preparing for Promotion, presented by Nancy Amato (Texas A&M University) and Mary Fernandez (AT&T Labs) discussed both the tenure process and strategies for improving your chances of promotion in industry.

After wrapping up this set of successful workshops at Grace Hopper 2012, we looked forward to 2013.  Each track closed with slides on CRA-W programs to encourage attendees to participate in other CRA-W events.