In November 2017, the EE and CS departments hosted the Rising Stars Workshop. We welcomed 70 women from around the world for two days of workshops, panels, and discussions aimed at helping them navigate an academic career.
Rising Stars – now in it's 6th year – was started at MIT with the sole intention of helping women interested in academic careers navigate the process.
At the welcome dinner, Provost Persis Drell encouraged the participants to "always remember that the diversity you bring to the conversation is of enormous value. It's not about them having accepted or allowed you into the room, it's that they desperately need you to be there."
Co-chairs of the event were professors Moses Charikar, Andrea Goldsmith and Fei-Fei Li. They were joined by more than 30 faculty, as well as industry leaders to organize and run the event. The participants were selected from nearly 400 applications.
For the young scholars, hearing from a range of panelists with a variety of backgrounds helped give them the tools and the mindset they need to succeed. Umashanthi Pavalanathan, a doctoral candidate in social computing and natural language processing at Georgia Tech, said that as an international student from Sri Lanka, hearing the experiences of faculty members with similar histories gave her confidence: "When I see role models, I get inspired." Adds Sara Mouradian, a doctoral candidate in quantum information processing at MIT: "When you go to conferences, I'm usually the only one or one of two women in any given room of 50 to 100 people, so it's been great to see all these women." Being here, she says, has been "mind-blowing."
Thanks to all of our participants and support for the 2017 Rising Stars event.
Excerpted from "'Rising Stars' workshop raises visibility for women in engineering," Stanford Engineering, March 14, 2018.
Rising Stars 2017 website.