ECE PhD student Liz Dreyer was awarded the Outstanding Collegiate Member award by the Society of Women Engineers, “for leadership and innovative efforts to grow SWE’s presence on campus, particularly among graduate students, and for advancing the overall interests of women in STEM fields across the globe.” Each year, the Society honors 10 collegiate members who have made an outstanding contribution to SWE, the engineering community, and their campus.
This award recognizes Liz’s years of work for the graduate committee of the U-M section of SWE (GradSWE), where she served two years as the organization’s co-director and one as its co-chair of activities. As of this summer, Liz transitioned into the society-wide position of SWE graduate member coordinator; in this position, she is the contact point for inquiring graduate students and new members, as well as the voice for grad students to the SWE board of directors.
Additionally, Liz served an active role in establishing an annual two-week residential leadership camp for 30 Liberian female undergraduate engineering students. At the Setting Up Collegiates for Careers in Engineering through Social Support (SUCCESS) camp, students at the University of Liberia received lessons on professional development, participated in group projects, and networked with other women engineers.
Liz traveled to Liberia with SWE in the early summer of 2015 to assess the needs of the students, and helped organize the first two camps in 2015 and 2016. She plans to serve as an advisor to the organizers in 2017 and focus more time on her degree.
In her research, Liz works with Prof. Steve Rand to understand how a new interaction between light and matter can generate electricity. Two of the group’s most recent projects on the subject were published by the Optical Society of America (OSA). Liz contributed to the two-part publication, titled “Optical magnetization: Theory of induced optical magnetism.” (Part one and part two.)
Liz is involved in a number of other activities on her campus and in her professional community. She was an integral part of U-M’s task force for diversity, equity, and inclusion, serving on the graduate student and postdoctoral research fellow strategic planning subcommittee. She is also a founder of the joint student chapter of the OSA and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Optics Society at the University of Michigan (OSUM).
She is active in the wider professional optics community, and spent much of 2015 organizing special events throughout the year to celebrate the UNESCO International Year of Light. In August of 2016, she traveled to the SPIE Optics and Photonics conference in San Diego, CA to report on her outreach work with this project. She presented three conference papers on the subject.
November 16, 2016