Luyao Li, Empowerment Conference [luyao [at] mit [dot] edu]. I am a first-year Ph.D. student in Planetary Sciences (course 12) interested in studying habitable planets outside the solar system. I'm working on the designing and testing of a small space telescope, aiming to look for earth-size, habitable planets around the bright, near-by stars. The prototype of this telescope is expected to be launched in the year 2012.
I learned about GWAMIT during a lunch meeting in the graduate student orientation week. The welcoming atmosphere from all its current members, as well as the many amazing opportunities it provides for the graduate women community, deeply attracted me and I decided that I would like to become part of this awesome organization. After knowing more about GWAMIT people and events in the following several board and executive meetings, I decided to help organize the 2011 Spring Empowerment Conference. This has been one of the smartest choice I've made at MIT and I enjoyed the interaction with the organizing committee immensely over the last few months. The organizing committee was highly democratic, every member is highly encouraged to bring forth their ideas to whichever extend they feel comfortable, and new members and ideas are always welcomed with open arms.
GWAMIT has been offering a full range of events and opportunities for the personal and professional development of graduate women. I also feel that joining GWAMIT is a terrific opportunity for one's personal growth, as well as getting know some of the most active and outstanding women at MIT who are shaping the future for women at this community.