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:

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:
biosystems engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering. - See more at:

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.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting involved

One advantage of Michigan State being such a large university is that there are a lot of organizations that students can join. Sparticipation is a huge Welcome Week event where students learn about different student organizations by visiting their tables. Normally the rain location is the Breslin Center, but storms were so bad this year that the event was rescheduled for this weekend. The following link has information on Sparticipation 2014 and getting involved at MSU:

Some of the groups on campus are professional and social Greek organizations. I am an active sister of Phi Sigma Rho Sorority, a national social sorority that is different from other sororities because it is only open to women majoring in engineering. Our chapter was officially installed in December 2012, so we are still very new on the MSU campus.

Last night was our 2nd Rush event for Phi Sigma Rho. We have four nights of recruitment each semester where girls interested in our sorority can come get to know us and what we are all about. Our activity for the night was painting small boxes, and on Monday we did icebreaker activities and painted nails.

All the supplies for our painting boxes, the craft Rush event, for Phi Sigma Rho this semester
I love being involved with Phi Sigma Rho because I continually make new friends, see friendly faces in the Engineering Building, and have a place to go where I can relax and enjoy the bonds of sisterhood with girls who understand what I am going through as an engineering student. We have done a lot of fun sisterhood events together, including pumpkin painting, ice skating, laser tag, and visiting the planetarium.

I personally recommend that students of all ages get involved at MSU. Two things that I did not know about Greek life before I came to college are that all ages, not just freshmen, can join and some groups recruit at the beginning of the spring semester as well as the fall. Other student groups welcome new members of all ages at any time. So, you did not miss your chance to get involved with Greek life or many other groups. It is never too late to get involved!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Summer 2014: International Corporate Tour

As I talk to fellow students about their summers, many of them said that they regretted not going abroad. I have already studied abroad and absolutely loved it! If you are not interested in taking classes abroad, MSU has other international opportunities that are not for academic credit.

The main highlight of my summer was traveling across Europe on the International Corporate Tour (ICT). The ICT is put on by the Lear Corporation Career Services Center, which is located in the Eppley Center attached to the Business College Complex. The goal of the trips is for freshman and sophomores in business and engineering to be exposed to different places and types of careers in industry. In addition to the ICT Europe trip, there is also an ICT China trip.

We started off the trip by spending a few days in London. We stayed at the beautiful Regent's University in Regent's Park. Some other MSU study abroad programs are housed at Regent's, so we ran into some other MSU students just finishing a study abroad in London.

Regent's University, our accommodations in London
Next, we flew to Germany and spent about 2 days in the Cologne area. Some participants brought an MSU flag for pictures which attracted some alumni. In front of the famous Cologne Cathedral, we ran into some girls who had just graduated from MSU who were traveling around Europe. Go Green!

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
We stopped in Luxembourg next for about 3 days. I thought that Luxembourg city was very beautiful and different from any place I had ever been.

Luxembourg City
National Bank Museum, Luxembourg City

From Luxembourg City, we spent an entire day driving to Geneva, Switzerland. So, if you are not a fan of long bus rides, another one of MSU's learning abroad experiences might be better for you.

Geneva, Switzerland, with the Jet d'Eau and Lake Geneva
Next we traveled to Turin, Italy, and visited Diageo while we were there. The site was a historic winery, so we got to see a mini museum of glasses, a hand-dug wine cellar, and old spices and distillation apparatuses that were historically used to make beverages. This was one of my favorite site visits because I learned about the history of the site and region in addition to touring their modern bottling facilities.

Taking a tour of the Diageo facilities
I liked that I was able to see companies from a business perspective as well as the engineering perspective. When company representatives come to speak at meetings put on by engineering student groups, they tend to focus on engineering roles within their company. Seeing the different types of people needed to run all areas of the company helped me appreciated the diversity in the workplace and engineering career paths.

We finished our European tour in Venice, Italy. We visited 7 companies (BP, GM, Eaton, ArcelorMittal, Diageo, Bosch, and ALCOA) on our trip, but still had a lot of free time to explore the cities. We visited 5 countries (UK, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Italy) and also drove through France. Our program was just over 2 weeks long, so we visited a lot of companies and countries in a short amount of time. I thought that going on this trip was a fun way to build my resume and learn about careers.

If you want more information on the International Corporate Tours, visit

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Summer Programs

As an engineering student, I put a lot of thought into how I spend my summers. Summer is an awesome opportunity to take extra classes, learn about companies, gain work experience in industry or research, travel, and experience other cultures. This summer, I am going on the International Corporate Tour of Europe, and last summer I studied Music, Art, and Language in Bregenz, Austria. The summer of 2012, after my senior year of high school, I participated in Beacon, one of the summer programs offered by MSU College of Engineering's Office for Recruitment and K12 Outreach. There are programs for people of all ages, and if you are interested in more information about them, please follow the link below:

Beacon is a residential program at the Kellogg Biological Station that is funded by the NSF and focuses on biology, evolution, and engineering. This program is by invitation only, but there are other great programs that are open to all eligible students, such as the High School Engineering Institute (HSEI). Some of the people that I met at Beacon had participated in HSEI before and had so much fun that they wanted to participate in another engineering summer program.

During the summer program, I spent a couple days learning about engineering and science in a classroom and out in the field. This program reminded me of a mix between summer classes without the homework and summer camp. In our free time, we played card games, hung out by the lake, played sports, and had a bonfire. I still am friends with some of the people from my summer program, and I see some other participants around campus sometimes because a lot of us ended up attending MSU for engineering. I thought that participating in a summer program was a fun way to meet other people interested in engineering and learn more about engineering before actually starting college.

Looking through a microscope at D. melanogaster larvae, July 2012
Measuring the sizes of damselflies in a population, July 2012
There are some more awesome pictures like these from our summer programs posted on our Flickr page:

Among my other friends studying engineering, the most popular ways they are spending their summers are studying abroad, working at internships or other jobs, and taking classes. If you are wondering what to to this summer that will prepare you for studying, here are some tips:
  • Attend a MSU engineering summer program! Learn about engineering and make new friends
  • Take some time to prepare for college. 
    • Sophomores and juniors (as of fall 2014): study for the ACT or other standardized tests and take practice tests. I spent a couple hours of my summer studying for the ACT because good scores can help you get into college and get scholarships.
    • Seniors (as of fall 2014): work on college applications. Some become available at the end of the summer and you are NOT going to want to work on them once the school year starts. Trust me on that one... 
  •  Maybe earn some extra money by working a summer job
  • Taking summer classes is also an option. At you can see what classes transfer from a community college to MSU. I took a psychology class at home the summer before my senior year at Washtenaw Community College that was able to transfer here.
  • Have fun! Enjoy the weather while it is nice. 
I hope that everyone has a great summer, I know I will! It is the last week of class and next week I have my final exams, so summer break begins next week for me. I am also looking forward to starting a great junior year in the fall. We just had our E-board elections for AIChE, and I am going to be the Vice President next year. Well, I better start studying for my exams...
 All opinions expressed in this blog are my own personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


One of the many activities undergraduate students can participate in here at MSU is undergraduate research. I have worked in a research lab in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science since the beginning of my freshman year. The Honors College pays me a stipend to do research for my first 2 years at MSU as a part of their Professorial Assistantship (PA) program. The following link has more information about the PA program: Even though the PA program was how I got involved with research, there are other ways to get involved with research.

Friday, April 4th was the annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum, called UURAF for short. The event was held at the MSU Union and about 660 undergraduate students participated. This is an opportunity for undergraduate students to present their research as posters in a morning or afternoon poster session or to give oral presentations. All of the posters and oral presentations are divided into sections within their categories for judging. There are graduate student evaluators who give feedback and faculty judges who score the presentations to determine the first place winners in each section. Other faculty members, students, and family members also attend and ask questions about the posters.

One of the other undergraduate students I work with and I made a poster of our research and presented it during the afternoon poster session. Neither of us had ever participated in an event like UURAF before, so we thought it would be a good chance to gain more experience explaining our research to other people. Talking about our poster was not as bad as we thought it would be, especially as we got more comfortable as the 2-hour session progressed.

Standing next to my UURAF 2014 research poster
After all of the events of the day, there was an awards ceremony. At this ceremony, the winners of some study abroad scholarships, the Faculty Mentor of the Year award, and first place awards in each section of UURAF were announced. My poster won first place in its section within the Engineering, Computer Science, & Mathematics category! The winners each get $100 and are eligible to submit their work for the UURAF Grand Prize, which is $500 and will be announced in early June. Even when working with a group, each member of a winning project earns the $100 prize money (up to $400 would be awarded to a group of 4 people or more). So, my poster partner and I did not have to split our prize money, we each won $100! When we decided to do this event, money and awards never crossed our minds, but it is definitely a nice bonus! We wanted to have the experience of making a research poster and presenting it a poster session, and I now feel more comfortable talking about my research, so we accomplished what we set out to do.

There were so many interesting posters that I wish I could have gotten the chance to look at them, but I had to stay with my poster the entire poster session. I had a quiz and an exam in the morning, so I was unable to attend the morning session and stay for the entire day. I am really glad that I participated in this event, and I would be interested in participating again in the future.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Relay for Life

It is the last month of school, and it finally feels like spring outside. I just signed up for my junior classes, and most other people will be signing up for their classes soon. Signing up for classes early is one perk of being an Honors College member. Today I have my chemical engineering thermodynamics exam, and the month will end with me taking my final exams.

Last Friday was Relay for Life at MSU. Relay for Life is an event held in a lot of communities around the country where teams raise money for the American Cancer Society and have members walk around a track through the night. This year it was held at the Breslin Center, and last year it was at Jenison Field House. Thank goodness the event have been held inside the past two year, because you never know how the weather is going to be this time of year. Even though the weather was nice this year, the campus was flooded AND it was snowing last year!  During the event, there were performances by various a cappella groups and dance clubs. Each team had a stand along the track where they sold a variety of things to donate the money to cancer research.

There were a lot of student groups in attendance, including a team of Spartan engineers, which was open to anyone in engineering. The event was especially large because Relay was a part of Greek Week this year. There are a lot of professional and social Greek organizations on campus. Just because you are studying engineering does not mean that you cannot be involved in Greek Life. I know lots of engineering students that are members of many different social sororities and fraternities, including me! I am an active member of Phi Sigma Rho, a social sorority for engineering majors. I really like having a large support group that understands what I am going through as a girl in engineering. We also do a lot of fun events, like spring formal, which helps me take the time to enjoy myself in addition to my school work.

With events like Relay for Life, members of all types of student organizations can come together and support a good cause.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Going back to Europe!

The spring semester is halfway over, so summer is quickly approaching! The snow is melting and the sidewalks are clear, but knowing Michigan, it will probably get cold again. I have finally decided on something I am going to do this summer. Two months from now, I will be in Europe as a part of the International Corporate Tour.

The International Corporate Tour (ICT) is a two-week experience for freshmen and sophomores in business and engineering. It is an opportunity for students to visit some of MSU's international corporate partners, network with them, and tour their facilities. There is no homework, but this learning experience does NOT count for course credit. In each of the destinations, there will be at least one free day to explore the city. There are two ICTs this summer: one in Europe and another in China. As part of the Europe ICT, London, Cologne, Luxembourg, Geneva, and Venice are some of the cities we will be visiting. Some of the companies we are planning on visiting are BP, GM, Eaton,  ArcelorMittal, Bosch, Diageo, and ALCOA.

I think that a program like the ICT definitely has its advantages. A lot of people forget that you have to do homework when you study abroad. I spent the two weeks after I returned home from my trip finishing up all my homework. You may not get class credit for an ICT, but you can focus on all of the company visits and exploring cities without worrying about any homework. Also, I have to do minimal planning for the trip. I just have to pay the cost of the trip, buy my plane ticket, and attend a few informational meetings. They even suggested a flight so that we could travel with the group, which  made finding a flight really easy. I do not have to worry about any of the logistics, like lodging and travel, which would be necessary if I planned a trip to Europe on my own.

I already have some international experience on my resume from my study abroad last summer, and I think that a lot of companies were impressed. I have been asked to elaborate on my study abroad at career fairs and during interviews, so I know that it is definitely something they look at. A lot of companies that have presented at club meetings have international opportunities for engineers, such as rotations abroad as a part of a rotational program. I have been to London and Venice before, but I haven't been to any of the other cities. My family and I went to London almost 6 years ago for a family vacation, and I went to Venice last summer during the free weekend of my study abroad trip.

I took this picture last summer when I visited Venice, Italy
I am looking forward to going back to Europe, especially because I had so much fun last summer! Visiting all of these countries and facilities will help me see in what kind of environment I would like to live and work. Michigan State University has a variety of international experiences available, you just have to choose which one is right for you!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back from Break

Last week was Spring Break for Michigan State. A lot of people I know went to Florida and Mexico, but I just went back home to cold Brighton. The weather here hasn't decided if it wants to be spring or winter. The past two days the snow was melting, but right now it looks like a blizzard! Everything is white, and I really do not want to walk to class in this weather! One of the most random things I had to get used to when I came to college was that I had to actually walk outside and cross the street to get to class. In high school I wore heels since all my classes were in the same building, but that doesn't happen anymore! Now that I am deeper in my engineering curriculum, a lot of my classes are in and near the Engineering Building, but I am still not going to wear high heals to class anytime soon.

One important part of choosing a college is the faculty. The faculty are the people who will be teaching you classes, writing recommendation letters, and maybe even giving you a campus job if you work in a lab or grading papers. I like learning from people who are very involved in and excited about what they do, and most of the engineering faculty I know are like this. A lot of the professors are involved with a lot of cool projects at the university and national level. I like hearing about all of the interesting things that Michigan State and its professors are involved in, so I thought that maybe you would be, too.

Mechanical Engineering professor Farhang Pourboghrat went to the White House at the end of last month for the president's announcement on a new Detroit manufacturing institute. Canton Township will be home to the new Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute which will bring about 10,000 new jobs to the area. The $148 million Department of Defense institute will be supported by $70 million of federal funding and the rest will be supported by consortium partners. Here is the link to the full article with the list of university, corporate, and organizational sponsors:
Farhang Pourboghrat

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Engineers Week 2014

Last week was Engineers Week, which is an entire week dedicated to events related to careers in engineering. Some of the events include the annual Evening with Industry Banquet and the Engineering Expo which I both attended.

The Evening with Industry Banquet was Wednesday night, and it was at the Huntington Club on the fourth floor of the stadium. One of the sponsors of the event was SWE, so I know some of the girls that helped run the event. The event was free to attend, but attendees had to register and pay a ten dollar deposit by a deadline. The deposit was returned to each person as they checked into the event. Students get a chance to network with many of the same company representatives that attend the Engineering Expo the next day. They also get to eat a free dinner and listen to a keynote speaker.

The program starts with check-in and mingling with the company representatives. Then, everyone takes a seat and company-sponsored scholarships are awarded. Students who are involved with SWE, Women in Engineering, Diversity Programs Office, and service can apply or be nominated for some of these awards. Then, it is time for dinner, which includes a salad, chicken or vegetarian main dish, and cake for dessert. Dinner is also a good time to talk to some of the representatives at your table. A talk given by a keynote speaker was the final event of the evening.

The Engineering Expo is a career fair that takes over the Engineering Building for an afternoon. Companies look for engineers for summer internships, co-ops, and full-time positions at this event. A lot of the companies conduct interviews at the stadium the following day. I spoke with a lot of company representatives, many of whom were MSU engineering alumni. One lady had my research professor as a professor and asked me to tell him that she said hi. Knowing that some of the recruiters were once in the exact same spot as I am now made me feel much more comfortable talking with them. There were so many people and companies that it was hard to walk through the hallways! I did have an interview with one company for an internship, and many of my friends had interviews for internships and co-ops.

Over the past week with the SWE conference leading into the festivities of Engineers Week, I have been super busy. I am definitely ready for Spring Break next week!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SWE Region H Conference

This weekend I attended the SWE Region H Conference at Michigan Tech in Houghton, MI. SWE is the Society of Women Engineers, which is a professional society comprised of collegiate and professional members. Membership is not limited to female engineers; I even saw a handful of guys attending the conference. Every year there is a national conference and each region hosts its own regional conference. The conference took place all day Saturday, and we spent all day Friday and Sunday on a charter bus traveling to and from the conference.

Michigan State has its own section of SWE, and I am a member of our local section and a national member. We have meetings that are generally biweekly where we have food and company representatives come to talk. It does not cost any money to be a member of our Michigan State section and attend meetings, but it does cost a small amount of money to be a national collegiate member. I regularly go to meetings, but I wanted to get a little more involved, so I thought going to the regional conference was a good way to do that.

The conference started with a keynote speaker, Patricia K. Poppe, who is vice president of customer experience and operations for Consumers Energy. Then the president of SWE Stacey Delvecchio gave the State of SWE address. I really liked learning about what was going on with SWE at a regional, national, and international level, because I never really thought about what SWE does beyond what we do at MSU. After, there was a joint meeting with the professional and collegiate session, and we voted on where we wanted to hold next year's regional conference. Each section had one vote, so I was able to contribute my opinion. The 2015 SWE Region H conference is going to be at Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, which will be a much closer drive than to Houghton! Then we separated into professional and collegiate sections, and had our own meetings and sessions. I attended a session on "Promoting Your Work with Powerful Presentations." I thought that the speaker was very engaging, and I learned a few tips, like to not dim the lights during your presentation in order to keep your audience engaged.

For lunch, we had boxed lunches and got to talk to the company representatives that were going to be at the career fair later that day. I liked that the atmosphere was relaxed and casual, but it was a little awkward when a representative wanted to shake you hand and it was in a bag of Doritos!

In the afternoon, there was a series of four breakout sessions that anyone could attend. When we registered, we chose what sessions we wanted to attend, because a couple of the special sessions had limited space. There were sessions on interviewing tips, building teams, fundraising, and leadership success, for example. There were also some special sessions that filled up fast, like snowshoeing and dog-sledding. Instead of attending a breakout session, people could also take tours of Michigan Tech departments and facilities and of local attractions, like a brewery and mine. One of the other options was the career fair. It was on a much smaller scale than the events at MSU, but I was able to talk to a lot of companies and hand them my resume. Over the course of the weekend, I accumulated quite the haul of free stuff from the career fair and conference in general.

That night we had the final event: the banquet. Because of the weather in Houghton, our keynote speaker's plane was not able to land! Our keynote speaker was Martha N. Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sensata Technologies. Good thing engineers are problem-solvers, because she was still able to talk with us over Skype.

Me (left) with some of the MSU SWE girls at the banquet
I had a wonderful SWEekend and was definitely glad that I went, even though I had to miss class on Friday. I liked listening to the speakers and learning how they were able to build their careers starting out with their engineering degrees. I also liked networking with other students and professionals and learning about their experiences. Overall, it was a great experience, and I would like to go to the regional conference next year!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mr. President's Visit

Friday was a pretty ordinary day, except for the increase in police officers, barricaded roads, and the occasional helicopter flying by. The current President of the United States was on the MSU campus to sign the Farm Bill into law. All of the events were closed to the public, but I still managed to wave to him.

I was walking along my usual route from organic chemistry to my chemical engineering class, when I noticed snipers on the roof of Vet Med and a small crowd gathering across the street. A couple of people had signs, but most of the people seemed like they stumbled upon the scene by chance like me. I figured that meant that the President was inside and possibly coming out soon, so I decided to stop walking and join the group of people. After all, I still had plenty of time until class started.

I stood there for a while in the freezing cold talking to some of my classmates when some flashing lights turned on. It was so cold that my phone kept on turning off, so I got only one picture of the scene before any of the action started. A procession of cars started to drive out, but not through the exit that I thought they would be using. I ran over to the exit they actually were using and walked up a small snow bank from which I waved to the procession. There were two official-looking black cars, and in the second one I saw an older-looking man sitting in the back left window seat. Sitting next to him was another man, but I couldn't see his face from the angle I was at. Also, it was pretty difficult to see through the glass of the car windows. According to one of my classmates who was at another position in the crowd, that man was the President and he was waving to the onlookers.

After a lot of cars drove by, it was all over. I just walked to my next class like usual and I made it there right on time. It was a little disappointing that I couldn't get a good view of him, but hey, I was about 20 ft from the President of the United States!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Let's be honest, finances have a huge impact where we go to school. One of the activities that I took part in was the annual ADS (Alumni Distinguished Scholarship) Competition, which takes place during the first two weekends in February. Last weekend was the first weekend and this weekend is the last weekend for the competition this year. About 1,100 of MSU's top applicants are invited to partake in the competition each year. On the first day, students learn about MSU and the Honors College and the opportunities they have to offer, like research and study abroad. The next morning, the students take the scholarship test. Even though the two days revolved around taking a test, it actually ended up being really fun. If you are a prospective MSU student who is invited to ADS, I would definitely recommend going!

Now that I am a student here, I am on the other end of the ADS experience. For the past two years, I have spoken at the Women in Engineering Breakfast. We invite all the prospective women engineering students that are attending ADS and treat them to a breakfast with awesome breakfast burritos. Students and their parents get the chance to talk to female engineering faculty and students about engineering at MSU before registration for ADS opens. I really enjoy talking to prospective students and their families about what I love about engineering and MSU, especially because I know what it is like to be in their shoes.

Whether you are an ADS participant or not, there are still other scholarship opportunities for incoming freshmen. Engineering freshmen are automatically considered for scholarships from the College of Engineering, and will be notified if they receive any awards around April. Students invited to the Honors College also have some more scholarship opportunities:

Also, here is a link to the MSU Office of Admissions' page about scholarships:

If you are interested in the Honors College at Michigan State University, here is the link to their website:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All is Well

Classes have been going well so far, and I like all of my professors. Everything I have been involved in is slowly starting up again. AIChE and SWE have their semester kick-off meetings tomorrow, and my inbox is accumulating emails from the Center and Career Services about upcoming career-related events this semester. The Engineering Building seems so empty around this time of the semester, especially after I was so used to seeing the labs packed with people preparing for their Design Day projects in December, but I know it is inevitable that we will all become that busy again.

This year is going to be awesome at MSU, but so many cool things happened last year. So, I found you some articles on some of the achievements in the engineering made last year at Michigan State so that you will get excited about what will happen this year!

Here is an article that summarizes some of the major headlines of the College of Engineering this past year:

Also, here is a link to an article about achievements made by MSU engineering students and faculty in 2013:

If you are interested in more stories like these, we also have a Facebook page for Future Spartan Engineers. Here is a link to the page if you are interested:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First Day of School (Finally!)

The first day of class was supposed to be on Monday, but because of the awful weather, MSU was closed until 5pm. This was the first time in MSU history that we had two snow days in a row, or so I have heard. I am glad that class is back in session because being stranded in my dorm room for two days is not as fun as it may sound. I had a great winter break and watched the Spartans win the 100th Rose Bowl from the comfort of my house. Now it's time to get back to business. I have my first class of the year in less than an hour. I'll let you know how everything goes. Stay warm everyone and have a great new year!