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ICSE 2023
Sun 14 - Sat 20 May 2023 Melbourne, Australia

Call for Participation

The Student Mentoring Workshop (SMeW) at ICSE encourages and supports students who are entering the Software Engineering (SE) research community. The goal of the workshop is to attract students to research careers in SE, to demystify the graduate school experience, and to offer first-hand perspectives on the graduate study from recent Ph.D. graduates, young scholars, and senior researchers. SMeW’s core mission is to foster the development of the next generation of researchers in our community — supporting undergraduates and master’s degree students who are applying to Ph.D. programs, and early-career Ph.D. students who are just beginning their studies. SMeW aims to foster an inclusive community, promoting diversity and increasing the participation of students who are members of underrepresented groups in computing.

The workshop program will focus on important skills for beginning researchers and will offer mentoring opportunities with senior researchers attending the conference, discussing the topics such as the following.

  • How to build a mentoring network and what to look for? What is the difference between mentorship and sponsorship?
  • How to network effectively at a conference? How to find your cohort and support groups? How to find a mentor and what to look for?
  • What non-technical skills are also essential for a research career? To give a good presentation? To write an outstanding paper? To find great collaborators?
  • What are the possible research career trajectories (e.g., differences across academia, industry, startups, consulting)?
  • What are the new, emerging areas in software engineering research?
  • What are the best practices and common pitfalls in an early-stage research career?


The workshop will be structured to encourage interaction and confidential small-group discussions. We aim to provide a supportive and friendly environment for students to share their personal experiences and seek advice from their mentors comfortably. We will match mentors and mentees into small groups based on their technical and non-technical interests.

Following ICSE 2023’s structure, the workshop will be in person in Melbourne, Australia. This is a one-day workshop on May 16, Tuesday at the same venue as ICSE (lunch included!). We intentionally organized the workshop one day prior to ICSE’s main conference, aiming to prepare students (especially first-timers) for a wonderful ICSE experience! The workshop format will include presentations (a small portion of the workshop to warm up the discussions), skill practice (e.g., networking skill practice right before ICSE starts!), small-group mentoring pods based on the topics of your interest, and panel discussions on topics of common interests. The mentors will have diverse expertise and experiences to offer different perspectives, such as researchers at different stages with academic or industrial backgrounds.

How to Participate

Student Application

All students who are interested in attending the workshop in person must submit an application, which will help us match students with mentors and ensure that we can provide sufficient space to have productive discussions. To help support students to attend the workshop in person, we have 30K in funding set aside to defray travel costs, and also to cover the registration costs for ICSE. Please fill out the student application form by March 1, 2023 (AoE). Travel support is made possible thanks to a generous grant from ACM SIGSOFT.

Mentor Application

Would you be willing to participate in ICSE 2023’s Student Mentoring Workshop (SMeW) as a mentor, leading a small group mentoring pod? We will perform a match-making process, assigning specific students to mentors based on technical and non-technical interests. We expect this to be a roughly 2-hour commitment in person at ICSE 2023 on the workshop day (May 16, Tuesday), although you are welcome to meet more with the students. To volunteer to serve as a mentor, please fill out the mentor RSVP form by March 1, 2023 (AoE).

What if I can’t attend in person?

We understand that traveling to ICSE might not be easy for everyone. To expand the opportunity to more students, we will provide a platform for students to find mentors and stay connected throughout the years. You do NOT need to submit an application for this. The student application form is only used for the in-person workshop at ICSE. Stay tuned for more information on how to participate in the virtual mentoring platform.

Frequent Q & A

We are gathering common questions and sharing our responses here. This is a living document so make sure to check it before asking us new questions :) And don’t hesitate to ask us! Contact us at f.sarro@ucl.ac.uk, yzhao@isi.edu, mohamed.abdelrazek@deakin.edu.au. Please make sure to email all the organizers to ensure a faster response.

Can we also participate in the conferences in addition to this workshop?

You would need to register for ICSE’s main conference in order to attend the conference. Please see the registration page for details. Note that if you’re selected as a Student Volunteer, the registration fee for ICSE will be waived!

Do I need to register for the SMeW workshop if I already registered for ICSE’s main conference?

Nope! No extra registration fee is needed for the workshop if you already registered for ICSE’s main conference. However, please select SMeW workshop in ICSE’s registration system.

Do I need to attend the event all day?

For students, you’re highly recommended to stay at the event to get the most of out it. It will be worth it! But we understand if you have other priorities and you’re not obligated to stay the whole time.

For mentors, nope! You can indicate your availability during the signing-up process in this mentor RSVP form. You’re expected to attend a 1-hour session in the afternoon of the event to lead a small-group mentoring pod.

What can be reimbursed with the funding?

The following items are reimbursable: Flight, Hotel (during ICSE week), Taxi, Cab, Shuttle, Meals, Mileage, Parking

Any helpful tips for requesting reimbursement?

  • The dates on the Expense Form must match the dates on the receipts (the Expense Form will be sent out after the workshop).
  • The expenses cannot be submitted until the conference has ended.
  • Receipts are required for each expense, including cash receipts.
  • If a submitted receipt carries another individuals name, you must provide a note from that individual indicating that it is OK to reimburse you.
  • If your name or the amount on the receipt is written in language characters, please translate or identify where your name and the amount is on the receipt.
  • Receipts paid by credit card should include your name and total amount paid on the document. If the receipt only includes the last 4 digits of the card, please attach proof that card belongs to you (this can be a picture of the card showing your name and the last 4 digits, the rest can be blacked out). If purchases are consistently made with the same last 4 digit card, it is easier for us to identify that the receipt is yours without asking for other proof.

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Tue 16 May

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09:00 - 10:30
Introduction & Ice BreakingSMeW - Student Mentoring Workshop at Meeting Room 103

Welcome, ice-breaking activities, discussion on academic well-being, building a mentoring network, how to get the most out of your mentoring experience, etc.

11:00 - 12:30
Presentations & Group Q&ASMeW - Student Mentoring Workshop at Meeting Room 103

Presentation on networking/making friends at conferences with interactive activities to practice, aiming to help students get the most out of ICSE experience.

12:30 - 13:45
Lunch SocialSMeW - Student Mentoring Workshop at Meeting Room 103

Our room 103 is available for lunch! We invite all of our participants to mingle with each other in the same room and have fun over lunch :)

13:45 - 15:15
Mentoring PodsSMeW - Student Mentoring Workshop at Meeting Room 103

Small mentoring pods led by many mentors based on different topics. Topics include (not limited to) Time Management & Work-life Balance, Mental Health, Research Career Path & Job Market, Communication & Presentation, Improving Visibility & Impact, Finding Suitable Advisors/Labs/Colloborators & Forming Relationships, International Students in a Foreign Country, Underrepresented Group, Small University and/or Department, etc.

15:45 - 17:15
Panel Discuss & ClosingSMeW - Student Mentoring Workshop at Meeting Room 103

Free-style AMA (Ask-Me-Anything) panel discussion. We will have one panelist seat open for anyone to join spontaneously when you have something to share about the topic under discussion. The topics will be driven by students. We will collect questions from students prior to the event and start with common questions.

Here are some tips for our students and we hope they can help you prepare for a fun trip at ICSE! :)

You can find the resources collected from ICSE 2022’s mentors here.

Please don’t be overwhelmed by the tips :) Not all advice will serve you as we’re all unique individuals. Here’s an article about How to ignore advice by David Evans and we hope you’ll find what’s really working for you!

Presentations at the Workshop

  1. SMeW@ICSE 2023, by Yixue Zhao and Mohamed Abdelrazek

  2. Keynote Well-being in Academia, by Cristina Martinez Montes

  3. Breath work exercise during the keynote, by Birgit Penzenstadler

  4. Making Meaningful Connections at ICSE (and beyond!), by Brittany Johnson-Matthews

Couldn’t attend our workshop in person? You can find the video recap of what was covered at ICSE 2023’s workshop HERE.

Networking Tips

  1. How to get the best out of any conference, by Bara Buhnova

  2. How to get the most out of your first research conference, by Yixue Zhao

Job Search

  1. The two-body academic job search, by James Davis

  2. How to Get a Letter of Recommendation, by Fabio Massacci

  3. Materials for academic job-hunting 1.0, by Shurui Zhou

  4. Academia, Industry, and Everything in between. A (non-exhaustive) list of job opportunities for PhD students and Postdocs, by Yixue Zhao

Academic Well-being

  1. Dealing with academic criticism, by Amy J. Ko

  2. Depth and Persistence: What Researchers Need to Know About Impostor Syndrome, by Danfeng (Daphne) Yao