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Eleven University of Tennessee women graduate students from stem fields hold their hands over the center of their gathered circle. A large hexagonal graphic on the wall behind them depicts swirls filaments with a glow that changes from yellow in the lower left to red in the upper right, with a very bright glow in the center. The wall decor also includes large type reading "energy" and "health."

GradSWE Expands Community for Grad-Level Women in Engineering

Student organizers launched GradSWE recently, a new element to the college’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter offering graduate-level community and connection for Engineering Vol women. Their inaugural interest meeting welcomed female graduate engineering students from all departments into the Zeanah Engineering Complex on February 6.

The meeting included a light dinner along with introductions, social discussion, and event brainstorming for the coming semester. The college’s Women in Engineering Program offered financial support for the event.

“Roughly 23 graduate students in engineering, of various genders, expressed interest in the group,” said student organizer Amy Kurr, a Bredesen Center PhD student in energy science and engineering. “The number one concern we heard was that there is a severe need on campus for a group dedicated to supporting women in their advanced engineering education efforts and professional development. We are super excited to fill this void.”

GradSWE looks forward to connecting with more students via events such as a Literature & Lunch this month, a dinner and drinks social event in March, a panel discussion on negotiating engineering-industry compensation packages in April, and a member appreciation event in May. Interested Vols can email Kurr for details.

GradSWE is dedicated to providing:

  • A professional network to support women throughout their advanced education.
  • Tailored and advanced professional development sessions.
  • Mentorship opportunities among graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Networking opportunities between engineering departments, across campus, and within the local and technical communities.
  • Writing support for fellowships, CVs, abstracts, papers, and award applications.