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: