WIC+ Travel Grant Summary – Vyshnavi Vennelakanti, 2022 WE Local Conference

I am extremely thankful to WIC+ Professional Development Grant for providing me the
opportunity to attend the 2022 WE Local Conference in Buffalo. This was my first time attending a leadership conference. While I did not present at this conference, I attended the talks and participated in the activities held at the conference. There were sessions on a wide variety of topics, ranging from understanding the ideas of perception and reality in the workplace, exploring our unconscious gender bias, to improving presentation skills, responding to bad behavior in the workplace, and how to lead an energetic career. Most of the sessions had a presentation component followed by active discussion among the participants. This helped me understand the different perspectives of other attendees, and also to think in unconventional ways. There were sessions that talked about how to strike the work-life balance, and how family and friends can act as pillars of support through stressful times. There were discussions related to the importance of mental health, and how to openly talk about these issues, and learn to face them. I felt that all of the sessions I attended were extremely helpful, and I took something valuable from them, which I can apply in my personal and professional life. I also had the chance to network with fellow women in STEM, and connected with them. The process of networking helped me identify not only opportunities for internships in industry but also potential next steps for a career in academia.

I thank the WIC+ Professional Development committee for their generous support that allowed me to attend this brilliant conference which has been a wonderful learning experience for me.