A Decade in the Making

February 12, 2022

@ I Hotel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



weSTEM (Women Empowered in STEM) is a one-day conference designed to inspire and connect current and aspiring STEM leaders. It was started in 2013 by the Graduate Society of Women Engineers (GradSWE) at the University of Illinois.

Invited speakers will share experience and insight from their diverse career paths following a graduate degree in STEM. The conference features lectures, workshops, and breakout sessions that showcase successful career paths of women and men in STEM, and facilitate the discussion of topics unique to the graduate student experience. 

Click here to watch a video about weSTEM 2016! 

Please note all times listed are in Central Standard Time (CST).
*Schedule below is from weSTEM 2021 and is representative of the schedule for this year.
Finalized schedule for weSTEM 2022 is coming soon!

Friday, February 11th


6:30-8:30 PM

Evening Welcome Reception

Networking reception with participants and conference speakers

Guido's Bar and Grill

2 E Main St

Champaign, IL 61801

Saturday, February 12th​

8:30-8:55 AM



9:00-9:15 AM

Opening Remarks

Angie Wolters

Keynote Auditorium

9:15-10:15 AM

Opening Keynote Speaker

"Striving for Imperfection"

Nancy Martin

Keynote Auditorium

10:15-10:30 AM

Speaker Photo

Keynote Auditorium

10:30-11:45 AM

Breakout Tables

Breakout Discussion Room

12:00-1:00 PM

Lunch & Networking

Lunch & Networking Lounge

1:00-2:00 PM

Session One Talks

"Themes for living and leading in STEM"

Maureen Reitmann

Excellence Room

“Building a Resilient STEM Career in Uncertain Times: Adaptations from environmental climate change plans”

Katherine Moore Powell

Loyalty Room

"Go to a place where you can make a difference"

Karen Lozano

Innovation Room

2:15-3:15 PM

Panel Discussions

"The life side of work-life balance"

Janet Williams, Jennifer Morikawa, & Karen Wawrousek

Excellence Room

"Making a difference with your degree"

Michelle Hawkins, Joan Wills, & Nichole Pinkard

Loyalty Room

"Career success beyond the CV"

Romie Morales Rosado, Stephanie Salas-Snyder, & Shobha Vasudevan

Innovation Room

3:15-3:45 PM

Networking Session

Networking Lounge

4:00-5:00 PM

Session Two Talks

Personal Success: "Two truths and a lie: when the unthinkable becomes reality" & "You belong: finding confidence in the face of self-doubt and imposter syndrome"

Wendy Wright & Jen Heemstra

Excellence Room

Career Pivots: "Academia or Industry after Graduate School?" & "Opportunity Makers, Takers and Breakers"

Jessica Bian & Alveda Williams

Loyalty Room

Career Pathfinding: "A midcareer scientist in retrospection: What I got right and what I would have done over" & "Piloting my career"

June Lau & Laura Bogusch

Innovation Room

5:15-6:15 PM

Concluding Keynote Speaker

"Resiliency: Succeeding through challenging times"

Jami Valentine Miller

Keynote Auditorium

6:15-6:30 PM

Closing Remarks

Keynote Auditorium

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COVID Statement

GradSWE at Illinois is committed to having a safe and healthy environment for the weSTEM 2022 conference.  

The weSTEM 2022 conference is currently planned to take place in-person in the I-Hotel at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on February 12th, 2022. We are working closely with our venues and the University of Illinois to address the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic to provide a safe and meaningful conference experience. Safety protocols may include wearing masks, frequent handwashing, surface decontamination, social distancing and/or others following guidance from the University of Illinois, Champaign County Public Health, the State of Illinois, and the CDC. If need be, weSTEM 2022 will adapt to either a hybrid or entirely virtual conference as was successfully executed at weSTEM 2021. 

At this time all speakers and participants will be REQUIRED to show proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID test upon entry to the conference. Additionally, participants will be required to wear a face covering when not eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status.  

These COVID protocols are subject to change at any time up to the conference. Conference speakers and participants will be informed of all COVID protocols prior to the event.  

If you have any questions, please reach out to the weSTEM director, Kathleen Oolman, at


We hope to see you at weSTEM 2022! Stay safe and healthy! 

 -weSTEM 2022 planning committee 



Registration for weSTEM 2022 is now open!

Sign up today. Please contact Laura Gray ( with any questions.



More coming soon!


Meet the committee



Join us this year for our flagship initiative to inspire and motivate brilliant young women in STEM! With your sponsorship, you’ll gain unique recruiting access to the nation’s top graduate women in engineering.
































































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