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Duke ECE Hosts Talk and Tour for Triangle Women in STEM Interns

Triangle Women in STEM (Tri WiSTEM) interns are treated to an evening of networking, information and advice

The prospect of attending graduate school has never looked better for Triangle Women in STEM (Tri WiSTEM) interns that attended the Duke Pratt School of Engineering Talk & Tour July 19. The evening included networking, a Mini-Bootcamp on graduate school and graduate fellowships, a panel discussion with female graduate students, a delicious dinner spread and a tour of the Duke Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility for nanotechnology (SMIF). 

Many prospective students don’t realize that PhD students in STEM fields are paid while pursuing a PhD, and tuition and fees are free. To bridge that knowledge gap,  the Mini-Bootcamp focused on what graduate school is all about. It covered master’s and PhD degrees, actions for attendees to take to position for a great graduate school application, and the inside scoop on how to apply for prestigious fellowships such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 

Presenters at the Mini-Bootcamp included Drew Hilton, a professor of the practice in Duke’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE); Johnna Frierson, director of Duke Engineering’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and Nan Jokerst, professor in ECE, associate dean for strategic initiatives in the Pratt School of Engineering, executive director of Duke’s SMIF and a Tri WiSTEM Steering Committee member. 

A lively panel discussion with six female PhD students in engineering and computer science engaged the audience by responding to attendee questions about their experiences at Duke University. Dinner with the graduate students and female faculty in engineering and computer science prompted further conversations, followed by a group photo. 

Two takeaway nuggets of advice from the evening were to consider the areas of study the school’s faculty are currently working on and whether the department and research team have a culture of support, particularly for female students. Thank you to all the speakers and graduate students for your words of wisdom, and thank you to Nan Jokerst and Alex Naseree of Duke ECE for organizing the Talk & Tour!