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Women In Engineering "She Leads @ IUS" panel at 2021 IUS

2 years 6 months ago
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Approximately 60 women engineers gathered virtually for the She Leads @ IUS event at IEEE IUS this year. The event was co-organized by Hong Chen (Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiation Oncology at Washington University in St. Louis) and Muyinatu Bell (John C. Malone Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University). Hong started by introducing the goal of this event which was to share, empower, and connect, highlighting the co-organizers’ viewpoint that we can all be leaders within our spheres of influence. Prof. Bell then introduced the schedule of this event. After the introduction, five women leaders from academia and industry at different stages of their careers shared their experience through the pandemic and lessons they learned in 3–4 minutes each. The panelist consisted of a Professor (Kathy Nightingale, Duke University), an Associate Professor (Meaghan O'Reilly, Sunnybrook Research Institute), a postdoctoral fellow (Sophie Morse,  Imperial College London), a graduate student (Serish Hussain, University of Leeds), and an industry representative (Jessica Liu Strohmann, Qualcomm). The panel discussion was followed by eight volunteers introducing their name, affiliation, and one topic they were interested in discussing. These topics were then discussed in breakout rooms. All participants reconvened at the end of the event and shared what they learned through the breakout room discussion. An online survey was administered upon completion of the event in which participants were asked to assess awareness of women peers and leaders experiencing pandemic challenges similar to theirs before and after this event, on a scale of 1 (unaware) to 5 (aware). Awareness rose from only 30% of respondents reporting being aware before the event to 96% of respondents reporting being aware after the event. Overall, the feedback was highly positive. One participant commented that "It is hard to navigate being a leader early in a career when you don't have a title that instantly proclaims you as a leader. Therefore, a seminar like this advocating leadership at every level of your career is very empowering."