WE do Coffee #1 & #2
In the spring, the Women in Engineering (WE) Program faculty and staff wanted to create a virtual opportunity to stay connected with students during the pandemic. They had previously hosted 2 WE Chats earlier in the Spring semester and didn't want to lose the momentum of the strong connections that were being built at these events. Students were also interested in staying in touch and suggested the WE Coffee Hours premiere a semester earlier than planned. On April 30, 2020, the first WE Coffee Hour was hosted virtually through Zoom. The students and faculty had meaningful conversations and requested we host a follow-up virtual Coffee Hour on May 22, 2020. Several WE students, staff, and female faculty got together for an hour in community, checking in on one another, and answering questions, providing a safe space to have those discussions.
One notable topic discussed during the first WE Coffee Hour was classes being held virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty members asked participating students if and how they felt their professors were accommodating during the challenging transition, as well as how they could better themselves for their students to succeed. The conversation allowed for both faculty and students to gain a better understanding of the perspectives of both sides, along with the constant reminder that everyone is still learning to adjust in the current situation.
Another was the topic of perseverance and determination throughout the academic and career journey. Attendees shared their personal experiences regarding being held back by peers, superiors, and even society at times. This was met with numerous stories of endless determination and self-awareness that ultimately led to success. There was much conversation regarding this topic, as many attendees had similar experiences.
Similar conversations ensued over the two coffee hours that seemed to bring attendees together, even if only for an hour at a time. The WE Coffee Hours allow for collaboration among students, staff, and faculty, especially during a challenging time where much connection and interaction are lost. By discussing the needs of students, WE faculty and staff have a better grasp of how to help guide them to success. Additionally, by hosting events that bring together the WE students, staff and faculty, we continue to build relationships throughout the college.