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Survival Tips From The Trenches

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Survival Tips from the Trenches

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1151.1 - 15.1151.6



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Paper Authors


Susan Lantz Trine University

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Dr. Lantz is currently the Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Trine University. She has been teaching for 17 years, at four different universities. She may be reached via email at

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Adrienne Minerick Mississippi State University

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Dr. Minerick is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Mississippi State University. She is also Director of the Medical micro-Device Engineering Research Lab (M.D.–ERL) at Mississippi State. She may be reached via email at

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Donna Reese Mississippi State University

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Professor Reese is currently the Associate Dean for Academics and Administration for the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University and a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. She has been on the faculty at MSU since 1989. She may be reached via email at

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Beena Sukumaran Rowan University

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Dr. Sukumaran is an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering at Rowan University. She completed her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1996 and worked at Amoco Corporation and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute before joining Rowan University in 1998. She may be reached via email at

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Survival Tips from the Trenches Susan A. Lantz, Ph.D.; Trine University; Adrienne R. Minerick, Ph.D., Michigan Technological University; Donna S. Reese, Ph.D., Mississippi State University; Beena Sukumaran, Ph.D., Rowan University

Abstract: Panel Discussion: Four women in academia---one with 5-10 years of experience, two with 10-20 years of experience, and one with 20-plus years experience---will offer advice, suggestions, and discuss tips and techniques that worked (or did not work) for them. The panelists include a woman who left academia for nine years, but returned two years ago.

Between them, these four women have five children, 148 referred journal publications, three book chapters, six books (novels) and two novellas, and 76 research grants and contracts, totaling $9.4 million.

Susan’s Top Ten Tips for Academic Survival 1. Live close to where you work. The more time you spend commuting, the less time you spend working or with your family. 2. Love your work. If you aren’t passionate about either teaching or research, your work will become a job, not a career. 3. Balance your personal and professional lives. This can be difficult to do, and you can’t always maintain a perfect balance, but strive to maintain the balance most weeks. (And don’t forget to include an hour or so for yourself every day.) 4. Learn how to say no. Remember to use that word (in moderation) when asked to take on tasks that will not advance your career. (Corollary: Don’t get bogged down with time- consuming tasks. Get through them as quickly as possible, then concentrate on activities that are more meaningful.) 5. Papers do not have to be perfect to be accepted; proposals do not have to be perfect to be funded. Well-written (but not perfect) proposals will be funded, and well-written (but not necessarily perfect) papers will be accepted for publication. The time spent polishing a paper or proposal from “very good” to “perfect” is, therefore, time that could be better spent. 6. Be active in your professional society. Committee membership or service as a session moderator at conferences is an excellent way to increase your recognition within your profession. 7. Learn to delegate (at work and at home). Convince your husband/significant other to cook two or three days a week, or to do the laundry, or to clean the house/apartment. Let a graduate student or postdoc do background research for your next paper or grant proposal. 8. Make friends who aren’t academics. They might not understand everything you do, but they will understand you. 9. Find a mentor or role model. It is helpful to have a mentor within your department, within the university, and within the profession. Each mentor/role model will provide a different perspective on your career, all of which are valuable.

Lantz, S., & Minerick, A., & Reese, D., & Sukumaran, B. (2010, June), Survival Tips From The Trenches Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16796

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