The Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences is welcoming some of the nation’s best aerospace PhD students for a Women in Aerospace Symposium.
The event will offer a unique opportunity for this select group of women who are interested in pursuing an academic career in aerospace, to present research and network with mentors and colleagues from across the country. This is the first time the University of Colorado Boulder has hosted the annual symposium, which has previously been held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The symposium seeks to build a larger community for prospective female faculty in aerospace, who will likely be entering departments that are predominantly male.
"One important goal of this conference is to build a cohort. These women are seeking to be professors, to share their passion for research and teaching. If all you see are men as professors, you don't necessarily think of yourself as being a part of that group," says Smead Aerospace assistant professor Allie Anderson, who assisted in organizing the conference. "When I attended the symposium, I found it very inspiring to see the my colleagues discovering new things that no one else in the world knows."
This will be Anderson's fourth Women in Aerospace Symposium, having previously attended the event as a graduate student at MIT. She earned her PhD three years ago and started as a faculty member at CU Boulder in January 2017.
Smead Aerospace Chair Penina Axelrad says the conference will give already successful professors a chance to share their experiences, answer questions, and address concerns from students who are considering an academic career path.
"We hope this symposium will provide an environment that fosters rich discussions among the women graduate students, post-docs, new hires, and senior faculty members. I expect that many have questions about how to land or negotiate the terms of their first position; some wonder whether they have what it takes to be successful in research or teaching; or have concerns about what a faculty job might mean in terms of raising a family. It can be tough to bring up questions like this to your research advisor or mentor; so I’m excited that we are able to host an event like this, where our potential future colleagues can have meaningful conversations both about their research and other important aspects of choosing a career path in academia.”
The symposium will be Wednesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 1 at the Engineering Center on the CU Boulder main campus.