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May 2024 // WCEC

Published on
May 30, 2024

It was our honor to observe Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with Dr. Wei Yuan and Dr. Grace Poon Ghaffari. At our last webinar, Keeping C.A.L.M to Address Burnout: Coping and Living Mindfully as Women of Color in Engineering, our guests held an insightful conversation on the challenges they’ve faced in their careers as women of color, the lessons they’ve learned along the way, and the tools they’ve developed to thrive in the workplace.

See the recap here.

About Dr. Wei Yuan:

Wei is the global excellence manager in Lubricants Supply Chain at Shell Global Solution. She has been with Shell Global Solution since 2011 as a reach engineer in Houston, Texas. Since then she has held multiple roles in Technology, Manufacturing & Supply Chain, and also Sales & Marketing. She has been working across multiple continents and cultures.

Wei is originally from Beijing, China. She received her Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University. In her spare time, she enjoys travel and painting.

About Dr. Grace Poon-Ghaffari:

Dr. Grace Poon-Ghaffari is the creator of Asian Women College Survivors on Instagram and is passionate about transforming systems and environments that prioritize the needs & realities of survivors of color, especially Asian women college survivors. Grace earned her PhD in higher education at Azusa Pacific University by studying how systemic oppression and cultural wealth shape bodily harm and healing among Asian American women survivors of sexual and relationship violence. Grace also works at Stanford University where she creates educational interventions to prevent violence and cultivate care among college students. In the fall, Grace will transition to becoming an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at San Jose State University. As an Asian woman who has experienced dating and racist violence, Grace understands how racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression uniquely intersect to shape abuse and systemic violence. She believes that healing of trauma must be intersectional and intertwined with cultural wealth.

Connect with Grace on LinkedIn.

Webinar Information:

Our next webinar is scheduled for July and will commemorate Disability Justice Month! Please follow us on LinkedIn for the announcement and updates.

May's Featured Literature

Asian Women in STEM Careers: The Double Bind, 18 Years Later

Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind by Lilian Wu and Wei Jing was published in the Fall 2011 edition of Issues in Science and Technology. The article delves into the underrepresentation and unique challenges faced by Asian women in STEM fields. While there is a persistent assumption that Asians regardless of gender excel in STEM due to their high visibility in educational and professional institutions, the data presented suggests otherwise.

The term “double bind” is used to describe the intersecting challenges of gender and race/ethnicity faced by Women of Color in STEM. For Asian women, this double bind arises from racial stereotyping, which creates a “bamboo ceiling,” and gender bias, which leads to the “glass ceiling.” Despite Asian women’s perceived presence in STEM, they encounter obstacles that hinder their progression in leadership roles in the industry.

For example, Asian women are consistently underrepresented in managerial roles in business and industry. According to National Science Foundation data, although Asian women comprise 37% of Asians in non-manager roles, they are only 23% of the managers and 16% of the science and engineering managers. Asian women are outpaced by every other racial/ethnic group with the exception of Indigenous Americans.

Asian women are also massively underrepresented in academia and government leadership. Wu and Jing point out that while Asian women are increasingly prevalent in non-faculty positions or nontenured faculty roles, very few are awarded tenured faculty positions, full professorships, and other leadership roles in American universities. This pattern also appears in the government sector, where Asian women are again absent from managerial and S&E managerial roles when compared to their male counterparts, white women, and women from other marginalized groups.

Ultimately, Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind is a call for continued action in supporting Asian women throughout their careers. By addressing the systemic challenges of racism and sexism that bind them, we can create inclusive, equitable STEM working environments that will attract, retain, and advance the brilliance that is still being overlooked in this group.


Wu, Lilian, and Wei Jing. “Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind.” Issues in Science and Technology 28, no. 1 (Fall 2011). Online.

Inbound Resources

Part of the WCEC’s strategic plan is to provide resources to Women Engineers of Color that will help them feel supported, remain engaged, and become equipped to advance within the engineering industry. In the coming months, the WCEC will be rolling out the following initiatives:

Profiles Database

The WCEC Profile Database will be a hub for engineering professionals to uplift themselves, their work, and their organizations. Those that use the profile database will have the opportunity to amplify their work to other industry professionals using the WCEC platform, irrespective of their discipline or employment status.

To ensure this database meets the needs and expectations of our community, we would like to hear from you! Please take this survey and tell us how the Profiles Database would best benefit you.

The survey is anonymous and consists of only three required check-box questions and one optional written question, only taking a few minutes of your time.

Travel Stipend

As part of our initiative to support the professional development of Women of Color in engineering, the WCEC is proud to announce our travel stipend program. This program seeks to support access to professional development by providing financial assistance to Women of Color engineers so they may attend conferences, workshops, seminars, and other networking opportunities. Applications are expected to open in Fall 2024.

Resource Database

The WCEC Resource database will be a sharply curated hub for resources from our organizational partners all in one central location - the WCEC website.

More information and updates about these programs and resources will be distributed through this newsletter as well as on the WCEC website.

Member Events Icon

Upcoming WCEC Member Events

The WCEC shares numerous professional activities offered by our member organizations. Member organizations are committed to creating a supportive, encouraging, and inclusive environment for WOC in engineering. Find out more about their events and register to attend!

WEPAN Equity in STEM Community Convening

Baltimore, MD, June 2-5, 2024

Since 2019, the NSF-Funded ADVANCE Equity in STEM Community Convening has served as the convening for NSF ADVANCE grantees in a format that facilitates engagement with change agents within and beyond the NSF ADVANCE community. The ADVANCE EiSCC brings together a variety of change makers from higher education, professional societies, industry, government, and non-profits in an engaged exchange of knowledge, resources, and support to drive systemic change in STEM.

Learn more & register

**WCEC Leadership will be at WEPAN and we look forward to connecting with you!

AWWA ACE24 National Conference

Anaheim, CA, June 10-13, 2024

ACE, where the water community comes together to learn, connect, and be inspired to solve global water challenges. Be a part of the water revolution that addresses critical issues about the world’s most important resource. Regardless of where you are in your career, there is something for everyone at ACE.

Learn more & register

ASEE National Conference

Portland, OR, June 23-26, 2024

The premier event of its kind, the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition fosters an exchange of ideas; enhances teaching methods and curricula; explores how to manage engagement, retention, and return on learning experiences; and provides unparalleled networking opportunities for engineering and engineering technology education stakeholders, including deans, department chairs, faculty members, researchers, and industry and government professionals.

Learn more & register

AISES National Conference

San Antonio, Texas, October 3 - 5, 2024

The Annual AISES National Conference is a unique, three-day event focusing on educational, professional, and workforce development for Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers.

Learn more & register

Call for sessions

SWE Conference

Chicago, IL, October 24-26, 2024

WE24 is poised to be the premier global conference for women in the fields of engineering and technology. It aims to unite a wide array of female engineers, those aspiring to join the field, and supporters from around the world. The conference will feature sessions designed to inspire, showcase technological innovations, and provide valuable networking opportunities. Attendees can also expect insightful panel discussions led by leading experts, focusing on the latest trends and effective practices in the industry.

Save the date & learn more

SHPE National Convention

Anaheim, CA, October 30-November 3, 2024

Held annually in a different city, the convention brings together over 9,000 of the best and brightest Hispanic scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to celebrate our Familia through our STAR Awards, compete for top prize money showcasing their skills, and enhance skills and networking through our many workshop sessions and engagement events. For corporate sponsors, it is a beacon of top STEM talent. For SHPE members, it is a life-changing opportunity to build a dream career.

Learn more & register

What is the Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative?

The Women of Color in Engineering Collaborative (WCEC) was created in 2021 as a partnership network of professional engineering societies and STEM-based companies. The WCEC is working to address systemic barriers that prohibit equitable work environments for women engineers of color.

Since its inception, the WCEC has grown to 29 organizations, created a shared vision and mission, and developed a strategic plan that will guide our efforts over the next few years. Thank you for your interest and support of our work. We hope that you will engage with the WCEC as we begin implementing the strategies aimed at tackling the major challenges facing women of color (WOC) in the engineering workplace.

Want to Get Involved?

Are you interested in having your organization become a member of the WCEC? Read our membership guidelines and fill out an application. Learn more.

While we don’t offer membership to individuals, we do want to grow the WCEC community! Soon we will begin collecting profiles of amazing WOC engineers for our Inspiring Leaders database. We are also collecting resources from our member organizations to place in our online Resource Center. We will be using this newsletter to get the word out as these activities get underway. Please share the WCEC with your network and invite others to sign up for our newsletter through the Contact Us form on the WCEC website.

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