Watson Alum Networking & Diversity Speaker Series (WANDS) Grant

The Watson Office for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (OEDEI) and the Watson Career and Alumni Connections (WCAC) office are pleased to offer funding for Watson alumni to take part in our speaker series that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion, and inspires dialogue and community engagement. We invite innovative leaders who can speak about one or both of the following:

  • Topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce or within a particular industry
  • Belonging to an underrepresented group in the workforce

It is expected that speakers have time assigned to meet with undergraduate and/or graduate students after their presentation as a networking opportunity.

Criteria and Guidelines

  • The complete proposal application must be submitted. Note: applications will be continuously accepted throughout the academic year.
  • The event must be open to the entire Watson College community
  • The speaker’s remarks must center on diversity and inclusion (see above).

Application Selection Process

The selection committee will review proposal applications. If your proposal is selected as part of the first-round review, you will be contacted by a committee member to set up a meeting to discuss your proposal. After first-round selections conclude, the committee will decide on which proposal will be selected for funding. If chosen, you will receive notification.


If your proposal is selected, you will receive a $300 stipend and $200 for supplies. If you do not need supplies for your presentation, you may use those funds for travel support (as applicable).


If selected as a diversity speaker, you will be featured on the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science social media channels, including Facebook and LinkedIn. In addition, some speakers may be asked to share their story for a notable alumni profile news article or similar areas. Ultimately, Watson College would be eager to promote your success and facilitate connections with our current students.