WE2 Fall 2020 Overview and Looking Ahead to Spring 2021

The IAC Women for Energy Efficiency (WE2) Network has grown to 620 connections (57% IAC alumni, 21% current students). 51% of current students who identify as women have been involved in Network programming, and 22% of women currently in the program are considered highly active. We are excited to continue this growth with you into Spring 2021.

What has the IAC Women for Energy Efficiency Network been up to this past Fall Semester?

In order to continue to serve the Network’s mission statement and goals, we have rolled out two new programs as well as year two of our WE2 Student Mentorship Program, this year focused on pulling mentors from CAES’s newly formed IAC Alumni Database. For more on where the WE2 Network stood coming into Fall 2020, check out the recording from the July WE2 Annual Meeting 2020.

1. Virtual Socials and Student Networking Events (NEW)

In Fall 2020 CAES held 4 virtual networking events targeted to facilitate a platform for IAC students from different centers to get to know each other.

These events were open to everyone connected to the IAC and WE2 Network (male allies encouraged) and had turn out from across the country and IAC centers. In the IAC’s goal of workforce development, it is important to build up male allies as well as empowered women professionals, so creating intentional spaces for diverse groups of IAC students from across the program to interact and share ideas is an important aspect of the WE2 Network mission. Running a program like this through WE2 rather than the larger IAC program serves to ensure a more diverse turnout to events, securing space for women in the conversation, increases awareness of the WE2 Network throughout the program, and puts the discussions and social bonding in the context of the STEM gender gap in engineering and IAC program as a whole.

Challenger Movie Night and Discussion – December 2020

Stay tuned into the CAES calendar Spring 2021 for more WE2-hosted Virtual Networking and Inter-Center Social Events!

2. WE2 Book Club (NEW)

The WE2 Book Club, launched this past August, held its first Virtual Discussion in October 2020. The selected book was “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. The purpose of the WE2 Book Club and Reading List is to provide a structured space for open discussion about women, diversity and gender issues in engineering, energy and manufacturing industries, as well as create a platform for a diverse group of professionals to gather to discuss hot topics in their fields. This is also a space for everyone connected to the WE2 Network or the larger IAC program and alumni network affiliates to get involved.

The member’s list is currently 53% alumni and 27% student. Please reach out if you want to be put on the email list!

For more on the major discussion themes and takeaways for the IAC Program that came out of the first Book Club Event check out the LEAN IN discussion notes.

Book Club Discussion on “Lean In” – October 2020

The second WE2 Book Club discussion will be held January 26, 2021 to discuss “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler. Written in the early 1990’s by one of the greats of speculative fiction, “Parable of the Sower” explores themes surrounding leadership, trust, change, faith, climate change and sustainable living, and empathy as both a weakness and a strength. Even if you find yourself unable to find the time to finish the book but are interested in the topics/themes to be discussed, you are encouraged to join in!

The 3rd Book Club discussion is expected to be held end of March (exact time and date TBD), and for Women’s History Month we are looking to pick a nonfiction book that explores the life and/or findings of an important woman or women in STEM. For this reason our top contenders are “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson or “Alchemy of Us” by Ainissa Ramirez. Feel free to reach out if there is another book you would like us to consider for Women’s History Month (or Black History Month since it will be past February as well).

3. Mentorship Program Fall 2020 to Summer 2021

It is official! The Pairings for the WE2 IAC Student Mentorship Program went out in November and the majority of mentor-mentee pairs have already made first contact.

This year there are a total of 42 pairs. This is up 50% from last year, with 28% of participants continuing on from last year. 68% of the mentors are alumni of the IAC program themselves. 90% of IAC’s have at least one current student or alumni in the mentorship program this year (81% of centers have at least 1 student signed up as a mentee). Additionally, roughly 50% of women students currently in the program were mentees in the program either this year or last.

We would like to thank all the mentors, mentees and the DOE for sending a few mentors our way. If you applied to be a mentor but were not selected we encourage you to get involved in some of the other WE2 programming, as well as sign up again next year and stay in touch in case we get any late student sign-ups.

If you are interested in learning more about this program or are in the program already but have a question, please visit our website or feel free to contact us directly.

What else should we look forward to this Spring from WE2?

We will continue to post about virtual events and courses on our LinkedIn account, both hosted by us and others, so make sure you follow us on LinkedIn as well as the CAES calendar and WE2 IAC webpage, which will be updated monthly or as needed. Keep an eye out for special events, skill-building opportunities and posts from us in February for Engineering Week and March for Women’s History Month. The WE2 Annual Meeting of 2021 will be virtual again and be held in early June.

New resource pages on Becoming a Better Ally, Career Development Opportunities, resources for International Students, and more will be uploaded January and early February. Updates will be reflected on the main WE2 page.

Also make sure you check out other CAES IAC programming, such as our IAC Webinar Series and IAC 101 Episodes, more episodes coming soon. New Webinar events will be announced on the IAC calendar, as well as kept updated on the CAES calendar which is set up to easily transfer events to your own Google Calendar so you can stay in the loop.

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