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.

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