“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow”: maybe Einstein’s golden words were in the back of our minds when we were planning WITS: an event around Women in Technology and Sciences at GE Global Research, Bangalore. WITS was proud to host 40 women Ph.D. students from across the Indian Institutes of Technologys and Indian Institutes of Sciences at our research center – the idea was to encourage networking with each other as well as with us to get a realistic understanding of R&D in an industrial setting!
The students started arriving the evening before the WITS. They met with each other and us over a dinner that evening which saw us giving them a glimpse of GE through informal chats. After a welcome address by Dr. Mano Manoharan, GM, Global Research, Dr. Kshira Muthanna, manager, Systems Dynamics & Tribology lab, took us through her career at GE. Her engaging story and heart-felt learnings over the last decade touched the student participants, who found this session to be “truly inspiring”! What followed was pure fun: mind teasers such as having meaningful conversations without the words “I/me” or deciphering names of famous personalities through linguistic clues spruced up the evening!
The next day started with Dr. Mano Manoharan’s address to the students. GE’s illustrious heritage of innovation always fills me with inspiration, but I was particularly proud to see our work, coming out of GE Global Research in Bangalore as part of the innovation timeline.
Mano’s talk led us to the technologies we develop in our labs at GE, and in the next 2 hours, the students were given a flavor of exactly that! Extensive lab tours had been planned out based on the relevant disciplines of the students, and they were escorted by enthusiastic “buddies” through the planned tour routes. It is in these labs that the technologists truly belong, and their passion came out while they were proudly showing off their work in the labs!
In the post-lunch session, it was the students’ turn to share their research work with us. Grouped again by relevance areas/disciplines, we got the opportunity to hear these bright minds about the work they are currently pursuing as part of their thesis. Sitting in the audience now, I was marveling at these smart, articulate and technically deep students, who explained their complex areas of research in the most lucid way!
After our enriching sessions of technical exchanges, we reassembled along with the students to have a panel discussion. Several interesting aspects of our lives at GE came out through this interactive session including the nature of our cross-disciplinary work, flexi-time options, relevance of industrial R& D, and so on.
An open session of feedback/Q & A with the students followed the panel discussion. In his closing remarks, Bala, HR Manager, Global Research, quoted Edison’s words “I pick up from where others have left” to suggest that the liaisons formed during WITS should be nurtured to let the conversations continue beyond this event!