Carnegie Mellon University

Lay the Groundwork for Your Career

Rising Stars is a workshop for outstanding women doctoral students and postdocs who are interested in pursuing teaching and research careers in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Launched at MIT in 2012, this workshop has been hosted at several universities. As a participant, you will be able to interact with faculty members from top institutions, build a network with scholars in the field and receive advice for advancing your career.

This workshop will include remote sessions on different career paths, securing a faculty appointment, and thriving as a new faculty member. Participants will get personalized feedback and be able to pair with a faculty mentor to review their application materials. 

Working in small groups throughout the curriculum will facilitate relationships among each other and with faculty. Many of these remote sessions will include active discussions and interactions and will require commitment from participants to complete the sessions. 

We invite early-career women in CEE to join us for this exciting online experience held over multiple sessions during the next academic year. 


Civil and Environmental Engineering at CMU offers a offers a unique interdisciplinary education and research environment centered on developing imaginative solutions to real world engineering problems. Learn more about our research and academics.


Rising Stars Workshop Schedule

Finding and Applying for Research and Teaching Jobs

October 5-6, 2020 
Afternoon Half Day Sessions

  • Career paths in research and teaching
  • Academic application process and documents
  • Life as a faculty member

One-on-One Application Document Reviews with Faculty Mentors

October and November 2020
Individually Scheduled

  • Research Statement
  • Teaching Statement
  • Diversity Statement

Application Finalization and Submittal

November 19, 2020
Afternoon Half Day

  • Final application advice from faculty reviewers
  • Question and answer session

Interviewing and Negotiating

January 13, 2021
Afternoon Half Day

  • Interview process
  • Determining what to negotiate
  • Negotiation strategies

Succeeding in Your Research and Teaching Career

March 22-23, 2021
Afternoon Half Day

  • Beginning and managing an academic career
  • Grant finding and proposal writing
  • Balancing work and personal life


Dave Dzombak
Hamerschlag University Professor and
Department Head, Civil and Environmental Engineering

"CEE@CMU is pleased to host Rising Stars 2020!  We are planning a rich, diverse, interactive program that will provide you with new insights as you plan the start of your teaching and research career."


Susan Finger
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Associate Dean, Integrative Design Arts & Technology (IDeATe)

"We look forward to virtually welcoming you to CEE at Carnegie Mellon and to helping you prepare for your future in research and teaching."


Sarah Christian
Assistant Teaching Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

"We are excited to host the Rising Stars in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon. We are looking forward to bringing together women at the forefront of our field, sharing our experiences, and providing guidance as you embark upon your academic career."


Mahnoush Babaei
PhD Computational Mechanics
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Micro Robotics Lab

"Welcome to the Rising Stars Workshop at Carnegie Mellon University! As a fellow participant, I encourage you to leverage this professional development opportunity to build valuable connections, meaningful collaborations, and shape your future career."

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

We invite applications from women with their PhD or who are about to receive their PhD in civil and environmental engineering or related fields. Up to 20 candidates will be selected from the submitted applicants. Individuals already holding faculty positions in Fall 2020 will not be considered. Women who are currently graduate students or postdocs in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CMU are not eligible. 

two graduate students

Application Packet

Upload your 2020 CEE Rising Stars application packet via the Box Link by June 30, 2020 [APPLICATION PERIOD HAS ENDED] and include the following items in a single PDF:

  1. Application Form: download and complete the Application Form. [APPLICATION PERIOD HAS ENDED]
  2. Cover Letter: up to one page explaining what you hope to gain from this experience.
  3. Personal Statement: up to 300 words explaining your areas of research and teaching interest.
  4. CV: submit your current CV.

All documents should be submitted as a single pdf and using the following naming convention:

‘Last Name.First Name.Rising.Stars.2020.’

Reference Letter

A letter of recommendation is required from a faculty member having deep familiarity with your research, such as your research advisor. Please include their contact information on your application form. The review committee will reach out to your reference directly. 

Once all documents are uploaded you will be notified within 72 hours, via email, that you have completed the application process. Please note that you will not be able to access your application packet after it has been uploaded.

If you have any questions regarding the application process please email Heather Cain.

Workshop Committee

akinci-june-2016--222px.jpgBurcu Akinci
Paul Christiano Professor
Associate Dean for Research
College of Engineering
Engineering Research Accelerator

finger-july2015.jpgSusan Finger
Associate Dean

christian-s-2019.pngSarah Christian
Assistant Teaching Professor

1babaei-mahnoush-new.pngMahnoush Babaei
Postdoctoral Research Associate