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Event Schedule

32nd Annual Susan M. Arseven '75 Conference for Women in Science and Engineering


3:00 PM


3:30 PM

Session I

3:50 PM

Brewing Entrepreneurship: My Path from Graduate School to Starting a Small Business

Dr. Laura Hill

Entrepreneurship is an exciting career path within STEM fields, but we rarely learn much about it during our graduate training. Leaving the more traditional workforce to start a business can be intimidating and overwhelming, but also incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. This talk will detail Dr. Hill's path from Ph.D. student to business owner. She will share some lessons learned while working in industry and what she wishes she had known before starting a business.

Perseverance: the Key to Making a Difference

Dr. Elsa Alina Murano

It is a well-known fact that in order to achieve, one must be able to persevere through difficult situations. That is easier said than done, especially as expectations for success are low due to people’s incorrect perceptions of our abilities. Science is the great equalizer, in that it is based on data, not opinions. The pursuit of facts is what drove Dr. Murano to become a scientist, pushing herself beyond what she thought would be possible. However, the main driver was her desire to gain knowledge on how to use that to solve big problems that could help people, focusing on how to significantly reduce the potential for foodborne illnesses due to contaminated meat products, and then expanding it to how to elevate people out of poverty and hunger in the poorest parts of the world through agriculture. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that your work has made a difference in someone’s life, that it perhaps has even saved people, or at least helped make their lives better through science. In this presentation, Dr. Murano will endeavor to impress upon the listener that it all begins with what motivates us, and when it is coupled with perseverance in the face of challenges, it is what will ultimately make the biggest difference. She will discuss her journey from Cuba, how that motivated her to do her best in whatever she would endeavor, and how she approached turning challenges into opportunities, with science as her anchor.


4:50 PM

Session II

5:00 PM

Finding Your Passion Requires Strength, Resilience, and Change

Dr. Debra Fowler

Life’s journey inevitably includes sharp turns and bumps. How will you navigate them? Are you ready? We explore one woman’s exceptional career path with notable leadership positions in the engineering industry and academia achieved through persistence, innovation, and adaptability. Spanning 30 plus years, her path showcases a 16-year industry phase where she mastered technical challenges and leadership roles all while raising a family, followed by an academic phase that began with her earning a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering. What led to the change? Will you know when it is time to make a change? Her academic career achievements are highlighted by a directorship at a Research I university’s teaching and learning center, where she has been instrumental in shaping the educational landscape. She is credited with developing a curricular model and process for creating and/or updating undergraduate and masters level programs, as well as developing a doctoral framework for interdisciplinary graduate education. This talk aims to inspire women in engineering and science disciplines, demonstrating the possibilities of reaching leadership heights in diverse spheres through resilience, embracing change, and continuous learning.

The World is Your Asteroid: STEAM Rises through Rocks

Dr. Allison McGraw

Embark on Dr. Allison McGraw's captivating STEAM journey, which ignited in her childhood as a rock-loving explorer. Little did she know that a childhood fascination would evolve into her greatest hobby, passion, and eventually lead her to a fulfilling career in planetary science and physics. Join Allison as she traces her path, starting from rocks on Earth to navigating the realm of flying rocks in space!
In this talk, Allison will share the insights gained during her STEAM expedition, also highlighting the significance of Data Art. Engage in a hands-on activity where attendees will connect with asteroids, creating and taking home their own clay asteroid world. Discover the transformative power of rocks, career realizations, and the boundless possibilities that unfold when STEAM intersects with the wonders of the universe.


6:00 PM

It’s not business, it’s personal

Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova

Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova will share the tips and lessons learned through interactions with thousands of graduate and undergraduate students. Together, they have built a diverse set of educational and informal Physics programs which not only attract the public of all ages and backgrounds but also provide a unique growth environment for hundreds of student volunteer facilitators. To highlight the fun part of science, she will show a few entertaining experiments.

Lunch Break

6:00 PM

Make-a-Difference Award

7:30 PM

Session III

8:00 PM

Refining a career path as a non-engineer in an engineering world

Arlean Rohde

Arlean Rohde is currently the center manager at the Texas A&M Superfund Research Center, College Station, TX. As a retiree from a 24-yr career in the oil and gas industry, she brings a unique perspective to a multitude of factors in STEM career choices. Her career began as an industry toxicologist, which then expanded to positions and opportunities in regulatory affairs and product stewardship, here and abroad. With her life experiences spanning from Hawaii to Brussels Belgium, she will highlight the decisions, speed bumps and challenges that led her through an atypical career path in STEM.

The Power of Connection

Dr. Meg Patterson

We’re all aware that so often, success is about “who you know.” As an expert in Social Network Analysis, this talk will delve into how, at times, this is true, and how our social networks matter. I will weave together examples from my research and my life to explain "The Power of Connection," and empower you to leverage your social networks in way that not only leads to your own success, but might even make the world a better place.


9:00 PM

Speaker Panel

9:15 PM

Closing Remarks

10:00 PM

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