Reimagining our Careers and Campus Culture

Transforming Recruitment, Retention and Advancement for Women Faculty in STEM Disciplines at RIT

Be sure to watch for our new program brochure and website, launching at the end of this summer!

Connect Grant Recipient Updates

In the past year since being awarded a Connect Grants, the 2015 recipients have been working extensively to complete proposals, write papers, and conduct research.  Please read below for updates on their ongoing projects. 

Resilience in Countries in Transition: Connections among Resilience, Ethnic Identity, and Just-World Belief in Young Adults in Croatia and Kosovo: Dr. Larisa Buhin is currently undergoing specialized training in qualitative research methodology, as well as expanding her ongoing research interests, which will lead to a presentation at an international conference.  By participating in these international conferences, Dr. Buhin will increase her professional visibility in international networks.  She also is holding informal networking talks on multiple campuses, which help to strengthen leadership and mentoring for women faculty.  This grant further supports an on-going mentoring relationship with Dr. Vincent Serravallo which focuses on career goals

Empower Leadership of Women in Electrical Engineering: Drs. Jing Zhang and Santosh Kurinec are utilizing the grant to help to enhance the careers of women in the electrical engineering fields.  There are two main goals for their project: to attend academic conferences and to invite researchers external to RIT to visit and give presentations on the RIT campus.  Both of these goals provide rich networking opportunities.  Drs. Zhang and Kurinec have attended multiple conferences insofar, including SPIE Photonics West and the MRS Spring Meeting.  Several seminars have been given on campus from external researchers, including Dr. Huili Grace Xing from Cornell, Dr. Zetian Mi from McGill University, and Dr. Theodore Moustakas from Boston University.  These seminars allow for the attendees and external researchers to discuss one-on-one their career paths and research interests.

Establishing Competitive Collaborations between Nanotechnology and Glaucoma through Mentorship: Drs. Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard and Michael Schrlau are collaborating in an effort to create a quantitative single cell approach to take real-time electrochemical measurements of glaucoma-related biomolecules.  Drs. Kaluthar Santhanam and David Calkins serve as project mentors for Dr. Lamkin-Kennard, who serves as mentor to Dr. Schrlau.  They are also creating outreach STEM programs for K-12 students within the Rochester City School District.

From WISe to WISE: Networking for Women in Science and Engineering: Drs. Sonia Lopez Alarcon, Dhireesha Kudithipudi, Lea Michel, and Kara Maki are supporting career development and navigation of women faculty within both the College of Science and Kate Gleason College of Engineering.  Through this funded effort, the expanded WISE group has held a series of luncheons to help to create an open forum among the women STEM faculty, administration, and notable speakers.  One such event was given on September 25th, when Eileen Pollack gave a seminar on her newest book, The Only Woman in the Room (Beacon Press).  Pollack spent six years interviewing dozens of teachers and students and reviewing studies on gender bias. In her book, Pollack details the cultural, social, psychological, and institutional barriers confronting women in the STEM disciplines. The Only Woman in the Room brings to light the struggles that women in the sciences are often hesitant to admit and provides hope that changing attitudes and behaviors can bring more women into fields in which they remain, to this day, seriously underrepresented. Eileen attended a luncheon with RIT women faculty and then spoke to over 100 RIT faculty, staff, and students about her book, followed by a book signing. The events were sponsored by the Connect Grant (PI, Sonia Lopez Alarcon), the Women in Science program, and the Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

Promotion and Tenure Strategies for Minority Women Academics at RIT for Transformative Success (P&T SMARTS): Drs. dt ogilvie, Kijana Crawford, Twyla Cummings, Danielle Smith, and Charlotte Thoms are currently continuing to actively support non-tenure-track, tenure-track, and tenured AALANA Women faculty to develop successful careers at RIT while improving retention by offering a series of workshops crafted to provide the information, skills, and strategies they need to address the challenges to career success that they may face.  P&T Smarts hosted a workshop on April 22, 2016 with Tracey Laszloffy, PhD, LMFT, who spoke about overcoming barriers to live a balanced life.  Dr. Laszloffy is co-author of The Black Academic's Guide to Winning Tenure Without Losing Your Soul, as well as two other books and has published extensively in academic journals.  She is a faculty coach specializing in supporting tenure-track faculty of color. She has presented workshops and seminars both nationally and internationally about working with marginalized populations.  Read more below on other offerings through P & T Smarts.

Exploration of Techniques to Integrate Images and Functionality into Clothing through Classroom Environment: Dr. Shu Chang, Marla Schweppe, and Christine Heusner are currently working with a class to design a dress that tells the history of famous women from Rochester.  Panels are designed and created by both faculty and students involved with the class.  Research on the women is ongoing and a prototype of the dress will be made in the summer and completed in the fall.  It is hoped that the dress will be exhibited in events in and around Rochester, including at ImagineRIT and possibly the 2017 Digital Rochester Technology Women of the Year event.  Other projects that are ongoing is the incorporation of printed work into a dress, as well as a large vinyl print that will be located on the first floor hall of Gannett.  A workshop about printing on fabric at the U.S. Institute for Technical Theatre, as well as a talk at SIGGRAPH 2016 are also planned. 

Attendance at Ultrafast Optics 2015: Dr. Jie Qiao was able to attend the Ultrafast Optics 2015 international conference in Beijing, China, of which she was a co-chair.  There, she was able to disseminate her work, providing visibility for both her and a Ph.D. student.   The Ph.D. student was mentored by Dr. Qiao, who also helped her to connect with an international research community. 

Supporting Career Advancement through External Leadership Development: Dr. Linwei Wang organized multiple events throughout this year to help to support leadership development, professional visibility, and promote the role of women in computing.  With the grant, she was able to co-chair the 2015 CyberBridges workshop entitled “Cyberinfrastructure for Computational and Data-enabled Science and Engineering.”  Dr. Wang was also part of the executive committee for the Consortium for Electrocardiographic Imaging.  Other events organized throughout the year were an ECG imaging workshop in Germany, as well as a Hackathon event during the Conference of Computing in Cardiology 2015 in France. 

Support Successful Research Grant Proposal Development: Drs. Behnaz Ghoranni and Raymond Ptucha recruited an Electrical Engineering student to work on the development of custom software for high-speed image acquisition using two time-synchronized cameras. The student presented her work at the RIT Graduate Symposium. As part of this collaboration, Drs. Ptucha and Ghoraani invited Subhashini Venugopalan, an internationally famous expert on deep learning, to RIT. Dr. Ghoraani also attended the NSF Grant conference and spoke with the NSF program officers to identify a potential program for a proposal submission. 

Developing Case Studies to Further Scholarship Pertaining to Business and Design, Prepare Students for Changing Professional Landscape: Professor Mindy Magyar has introduced a new design methodology entitled, “stakeholder co-design” to the academic community.  She has attended a workshop held by Ivey Publishing where she explored  developing case studies that show the power of implementing design methodologies within social and business contexts. 

COMMENT: Communication and Outreach through Mentored Media Engagement and Networking Teams: Drs. Callie Babbitt, Kara Maki, Matthew Hoffman, and John-David Rocha have been working throughout the year to create a group of interdisciplinary, junior STEM faculty to help to increase their public visibility, professional reputation, and research impact.  Group participants are mapping out their professional careers, strengthening their communication skills, and developing expertise in social media platforms.  To help fulfill these goals, the group has hosted several group speakers and has worked with University News and mentor Dr. Brian Koberlein.       

The 2016 Connect Grant recipients will be announced soon.

For more information about Connect Grants and its recipients, please visit the AdvanceRIT website.

Read More

P&T Smarts

P&T Smarts is continuing to actively support non-tenure-track, tenure-track, and tenured AALANA Women faculty to develop successful careers at RIT and to retain them by offering a series of workshops crafted to provide information, skills, and strategies they may need for career navigation.

Two such workshops were held on February 12, 2015.  These workshops were conducted by Dr. Chavella Pittman, an assistant professor of sociology at Dominican University.  The first workshop focused primarily on the importance, planning, and execution of efficient and effective course preparation materials.    The afternoon session discussed the strengths and limitations of student teaching evaluations and how they may affect teaching effectiveness.

CREW: Council for the Representation & Engagement of Women Faculty

In December, 2014, a new advisory council to the Provost for women faculty was launched.  This council is called “CREW” which stands for the Council for the Representation & Engagement of Women Faculty.  The mission of CREW is to support, retain, and promote career success of women faculty at RIT.  The council consists of faculty representatives from all of the colleges, as well as representatives from the AdvanceRIT team, the Office Division of Diversity & Inclusion, and the Office of Faculty Recruitment.  CREW has hosted several networking events and workshops in collaboration with AdvanceRIT since its inception. These workshops have included topics related to service assignments, supporting research focused faculty, and welcoming new women faculty to RIT.

For more information, please visit the CREW website.

NSF AdvanceRIT Student Program Assistant & Hot Wheelz Program Manager, Jenn Smith Wins 1st Place in Project Management

Jennifer Smith (2016, KGCOE/ME), a student program assistant in the NSF AdvanceRIT office, is the RIT Hot Wheelz Formula SAE Electric Team program manager, leading a 40 member team.  On May 2nd to the 5th, the Hot Wheelz team participated in a competition at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, hosted by Dartmouth College.  The team built a 82 horsepower, 700 lb electric hybrid Formula-style race car that participated in endurance events.

Jenn, giving the presentation in program management, received a 100%, placing RIT in first place for program management.  The RIT Hot Wheelz team also won third place in design and received the GM Spirit of Formula Hybrid award, as well as the FCA Gracious Professionalism Award. 

To read more about RIT Hot Wheelz, please visit their website at