Monday, December 8, 2014

End of the Semester

This the final week of the semester: exam week. I am ready for the end of the semester, but I know that I will end up missing MSU in about two weeks.

Most of my classmates were super friendly, and I kept on meeting new people throughout the semester from group projects and just by talking to the people in my classes. Chemical engineering students are required to take almost all the same classes, so I know I will see most of my peers in my core classes next semester. It's not like when I was a freshman and took large general classes with people I never saw again. I will miss my professors from this semester because all of them were great and had a good sense of humor, which makes upperclassmen engineering classes much more enjoyable.

Even though I no longer have to go to class, classes are not over because I still have some exams left. I took one this morning at 7:45 and have two later in the week. In most of my classes, the final exam is worth 30-40% of my final grade, which is a large fraction. So, the final has the power to decimate or save my grade in a class. Since finals are so important, here is some advice:
  • Make sure you know when and where your final is
  • Know your professor's exam policies, such as what material it covers, how it is graded, what you are allowed to bring, what will be provided, etc.
  • At MSU if you have more than 2 exams scheduled on one day, you can reschedule some exams so they do not conflict or so you do not have more than 2 on one day. Know your professor's and the University's policy on rescheduling exams
  • Read your syllabus and attend the last week of class, because chances are, the above information will be discussed
  • It's better to arrive early so that you can get situated and make up for any unanticipated delays
  • Study
I'm looking forward to a relaxing winter break. Hopefully I could do some reading and craft projects. Have a great holiday season and I will be back in January.

Friday, December 5, 2014

AIChE National Conference

It has been crazy around here with the Thanksgiving holiday and the last week of classes. You know that it is the last week of class when the Engineering Library and computer labs are constantly full of people working on final papers, group projects, and Design Day projects.

The AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Annual Student Conference took place from November 14th-16th in Atlanta, Georgia. As Vice President of the MSU AIChE chapter, I went to the conference along with several of our other executive board members. We flew out that Friday and came back late Sunday night, so I only missed one class. Engineering professors here tend to be understanding when students are absent for interviews or professional development events. Our registration would have gained us access to the AIChE Annual Meeting for professionals and academics the following week, but we would have missed way too much class.

As a part of the conference, we attending various sessions focused on running our chapters and professional development. Our chapter hosted the North Central Regional Conference at MSU this past spring. Some of our members who organized the event were asked to give a presentation at the national student conference about hosting a regional conference. Also our chapter earned an "Outstanding Chapter" award, which we accepted during the awards ceremony. I attended sessions on fundraising and planning large events where different chapters discussed their experiences, ideas, and advice. It was interesting seeing how different chapters had different needs and challenges and the ways that the chapters met them.

The teams that won the ChemE car and Jeopardy competitions at the regional conferences competed in the national competitions as part of the conference. There was also a breakfast with a keynote speaker, a student bash, and a recruitment fair that had mostly graduate schools in attendance. The student bash was a casual dance with a photobooth and sundae bar, so I ended up having fun. We also had enough free time to explore the city. Some of our members went to the aquarium and the World of Coke (Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola), and I had dinner with one of my friends who goes to Georgia Tech.

There are so many great professional societies that have chapters here and opportunities for leadership and professional development. Seeing an organization at the national level and what the other student chapters have been doing makes me want to be a more active participant at the local and national level. I got to travel, hang out with friends, and learn more about AIChE, so I had a great weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Glee Club Concert

Michigan State offers a lot of fun classes for students to take that may not be related to your degree at all. If you only need one or two more credits in a semester to be full time or need general credit, MSU has a lot of options. Some of my friends have taken athletic classes such as yoga, tennis, and even wheelchair basketball!

Tuesday night I had my Women's Glee Club concert. Both the Men's and Women's Glee Clubs as well as the Acafellas (a male a cappella group) performed at the concert in Fairchild Auditorium on campus. There were engineering students in both large ensembles, and I saw some engineering students in the audience. My roommate came to see me perform, and I saw some of my other friends from class and work. 

Women's Glee Club is a 1-credit class open to women of all majors. There are no auditions or prerequisites, although many members do have prior experience singing in choirs. Class meets for 80 minute periods on Monday and Wednesday late afternoons. I hate to disappoint anyone, but it is nothing like the television show "Glee." We sing women's choral music in a variety of styles and languages, a lot like other high school and college choirs. Just this semester, we sang songs in English, Latin, Yiddish, Hungarian, and Bulgarian. Michigan State does have a variety of a cappella groups and other ensembles if those are more your style.

There are a lot of events going on around campus, so I would encourage you to look into what the College of Music has scheduled and try to attend some of their concerts if that interests you. Many events are even free or discounted for students. Our Tuesday concert was free for students and located on campus not far from the Engineering Building. I had a lot of fun in Glee Club this semester, and was glad I could fit it into my schedule.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Biomedical Engineering and Concentrations

Michigan State University is going to add a new department, the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). The MSU Bio Engineering Facility has been under construction for a while now and is scheduled to open this summer. Here is the link to the article about the new department for more exciting details:

http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2014/10/24/department-biomedical-engineering-bme-approved

Currently Michigan State does not offer biomedical engineering as an undergraduate major or minor, but it is offered as a concentration. The biomedical engineering concentration is available for biosystems, electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering majors in addition to materials science and engineering majors. These concentrations are one way students can complete their technical engineering electives requirements. There are many concentrations available, including biochemical, environmental, food science, bioenergy, and manufacturing engineering. You can find the degree requirements and concentrations for the different majors here.

I am doing a biomedical concentration within chemical engineering. I took a class in genetics last year, and next semester I am taking a eukaryotic cell biology class. Right now, I am in a mechanical engineering class focused on fluid flow and heat transfer in the human body. It is like the fluid flow and heat transfer class for my major, except it covers how some of those assumptions and models change when applied to the human body.

One day in class, our professor brought in an infrared (IR) camera. We were discussing the idea of using an IR beam to detect fevers, and therefore illness, in people leaving airplanes. By taking IR pictures of multiple students in class, we saw that everyone had varying surface temperatures, especially in the forehead region where we were focusing our analysis. I have side bangs, so my hair can get in the way of a temperature reading. So, there are limitations to this method of sickness detection.
A picture of me taken by my professor, Dr. Wright, using an infrared camera
I think that it is great that MSU is bringing people together from various colleges and disciplines to do collaborative biomedical research. I really enjoy taking classes with professors and students from other departments, especially because engineers work with all kinds of people to get things done.
biosystems engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. - See more at: http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2014/10/24/department-biomedical-engineering-bme-approved#sthash.zGyN2IcH.dpuf
biosystems engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. - See more at: http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2014/10/24/department-biomedical-engineering-bme-approved#sthash.zGyN2IcH.dpuf

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Preview Day

On Saturday, October 11th, the largest engineering recruitment event of the year took place in the Engineering Building. Preview Day is an annual event for prospective engineering students and their families to come visit the College of Engineering. Preview Day is always on a Saturday at the end of September or beginning of October when there is not a home football game. Spots fill up fast and it only happens once a year, so make sure to register in advance if you want to attend.

Visitors first attend a welcome session where they get a broad overview of MSU's College of Engineering and the majors offered through the college. Then there are smaller presentations for the different majors that go more in-depth and have panels of current students to answer questions. There are two sessions, so if students are interested in more than one major, they can visit one presentation during the first session and another during the second. After the sessions are over, there is a resource fair where different engineering student organizations and other offices have booths and talk to students. Women in Engineering, the CoRe Experience, Office of Admissions, Office of Financial Aid, and the Honors College all had tables set up with representatives to answer any questions.

During some of the sessions and the resource fair, there were some other events happening. Throughout the day, people from the CoRe experience were giving tours of some dorms and facilities associated with the program. Here is the CoRe Experience's website if you are interested in learning more about CoRe. Tours of some of the mechanical engineering facilities, including the machine shop, were also available. There was also a WIE (Women in Engineering) Luncheon for prospective female students to eat lunch and talk with current women engineering students.

Working Preview Day with some of my fellow Student Ambassadors! Left to right: Erin, Nayana, me 
If you want to see more pictures from Preview Day, then you should visit our Flickr page!

After Preview Day, our office (Engineering Recruitment and K-12 Outreach) starts to offer tours of the Engineering Building. Tours start in the afternoon with a presentation that gives an overview of majors and our college, and then a Student Ambassador such as myself leads a tour of the Engineering Building. Visit our Future Engineers website to sign up for tours and register for Preview Day during September and late August. Here is the link to our events calendar where you can directly sign up for tours. Tours fill up fast, so sign up if you are interested! I hope to see you around the Engineering Building.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Career Fair Tips

As I typed this, I was wearing a suit for my interview later. Over the past year, I have interviewed with a few companies that I met at Pre-Gallery, Career Gallery, and Engineering Expo.

Here a some of the tips that I learned during my time at Michigan State:
  • Try to get as much interaction with companies that interest you as much as possible. This year when I spoke to the representative from Dow Chemical, he said that he remembered me from last year. Many of the same recruiters return every year and save old resumes. Also attend engineering student organization meetings, info sessions, resume critiques, mock interviews, and/or any other events that companies are hosting.
  • You are not too young to attend any of the career fairs. I have gone to all of the career fairs since my freshman year. The first time I went to an event, I only talked to a couple people and felt pretty overwhelmed. Now I am much more comfortable attending these events, especially as I am looking for an opportunity this summer. Also, a lot of companies hand out some really cool free stuff, including full-sized products.
  • Go to the career events even if you are not looking for an opportunity within the next year. I have some friends that already have internships or other opportunities lined up for this summer, but went to career fairs to network with companies and inquire about future opportunities. Just make sure that you are professional, clear with recruiters that you are not available, and do not accept an interview for a job that you never intend to accept.
  • Visit the booths for smaller companies and/or with smaller lines. While I was waiting in a long line for a large company last year, I talked with some representatives at a small booth. I probably would not have stopped there, but I actually heard back from them and got an interview.
  • Use the career resources available to you, such as The Center. The Career Services Network at Michigan State offers a lot of great resources to help you with careers. Their website has a lot of helpful articles about resumes, interviews, professional attire, cover letters, etc. The Center is a branch of career services that focuses on engineering located within the Engineering Building right by Sparty's. It is a really convenient place to visit, just try to do so BEFORE the week of Career Gallery because they are very busy.
Like always, these are my own personal opinions and not the official opinions of Michigan State University and its affiliates.

I was looking at my older blog post from a year ago, and a lot of the advice I would give students now and a year ago is the same. Even as I get older, I still find all of these tips just as important, if not more important.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Upcoming Career Events

The weather has been absolutely beautiful this week, which is good timing for Homecoming this weekend and all of the career events that are happening this upcoming week. In between class, I just walked around campus and picked up an iced chai tea latte at the Starbucks in the Business College. The weather will not stay like this forever, which is why I had to seize the opportunity to enjoy campus.

Next week is Career Gallery, the largest career fair of the year at MSU. Over 300 employers will be looking to hire interns, co-ops, and full-time over the course of two days at the Breslin Center. There is also an event just for engineering internships and co-ops called Pre-Gallery. It takes place in the Engineering Building courtyard and is a good warm-up for the Career Gallery the following day. I have mentioned these events in some of my previous blog posts.

This week, there have been a lot of smaller events leading up to the Career Gallery and Pre-gallery. Companies have been hanging out in the Engineering Building lobby, talking to students, critiquing resumes, giving info sessions, and participating in mock interviews. Various engineering organizations have also been hosting different companies at their meetings to talk about career opportunities.

A few of my classes have really put an emphasis on careers and relating what we learn to industry. In my fluid flow class, two MSU chemical engineering alumni from Dow Corning came in to talk about their careers and how to read P&ID diagrams. In my Chemical Engineering as a Profession class, we had engineers from Marathon, Dow Corning, and General Mills come in to talk about safety in a refinery, professional behavior with potential employers, and different engineering jobs within a plant, respectively. Later in the semester, we are also going to have an etiquette lunch where we learn how to properly act during a professional meal. I know that in the future I will have more industry interaction in class because many senior design projects are real projects from MSU's corporate partners.

I would really encourage students of all ages to attend as many career events as they can. A lot of the same representatives come back to recruit at MSU year after year. I have recognized quite a few recruiters, so chances are some of them may recognize me if I made an impression. When I go to presentations at student engineering organizations, I even recognize some of the speakers as students who have recently graduated. I remember attending meetings with some of these people, and now they are the ones who are talking about their new company. I feel much more comfortable and confident when I speak with representatives I already know.


Also, I have redesigned my blog! I went on a lot of cool trips through MSU, so I decided to use pictures I have taken while in college as the background. Every time I post a new blog entry, I will change the picture to encourage all of you to regularly look at my blog. I also will post a caption at the side that will explain the picture.