Monday, July 1, 2019

I am excited to announce 
I am helping organize the first ever Women in Nitrides event alongside ICNS-13, The International Conference on Nitride Semiconductors in Bellevue, WA next week.
This will be the first event of its kind at this conference, with the goal to meet and network with other women in the field. The event will be a breakfast on Wednesday morning, prior to the third day of talks. 
(Contact me for details if you will be there! )

A bit of back story...

As a Ph.D. student working with III-Nitride semiconductors, we were very lucky if we got to attend one of the large Nitrides conferences that happened once a year, either ICNS or IWN (International Workshop on Nitride semiconductors). 
Both are big week-long conferences with several concurrent sessions on materials and device research and researchers from all over the world attending. It was a VERY BIG DEAL to present at either. The first I attended was ICNS in Jeju, Korea in 2009 and it was such a terrifying and amazing experience! 

I switched roles a year ago and last fall I was delighted to be able to attend IWN2018 in Kanazawa, Japan. It was comforting to see so many familiar faces and feel immediately welcomed back in the Nitrides research community after being away from the field for over five years.
Obviously I noticed a lot of new faces as well, as a whole new generation of graduate students had come up in the years I was gone. 
I also noticed that the conference was still hugely male-dominated.
That week, I met a woman graduate student at a conference dinner and we casually discussed it would be nice to meet some of the other women in the field. The conversation stuck with me. I couldn't stop thinking about how cool it would be to have a networking event just for women at the next conference.

This year, I am organizing that event.  
I saw that ICNS would be in the Seattle area, and my company's recruitment team in Seattle area was graciously willing to help me organize, plan and more importantly: fund it. Honestly I feel so lucky to work at a company that is willing to invest in something like this and they have definitely made it very easy for me. 
I feel like the hard part was getting the courage to ask the question, and now I have an entire team of women helping me get all the details in order. 
Obviously our company hopes to use the event to recruit some potential applicants for some open job positions in my team but we're trying to keep it as inclusive and classy as possible. 
I am learning a lot from the experience already. We're still a week away and I'm a bit nervous! 
Still, I know in my heart that anything worth doing, especially something novel, is never easy. I also know that I would have loved an event like this, especially when I was a graduate student attending these large conferences for the first time.  
Representation is important.