Tag Archives: conferences

Professional Conferences: Funding and Value

Cami Jones

Cami Jones,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 October 2017

As the president of an engineering student organization, one of the things I’m most thankful for that the Russ College provides is funding. Grants through the Russ Vision fund help individuals and groups of students looking to further their education outside of the classroom at design competitions, conferences, and the like throughout the country. Thanks to this funding, it is possible for us to travel to these events even if we don’t personally have the funds to do so—it breaks down barriers.

You might be able to guess why I have funding opportunities on the brain. If you’re thinking that I may be in the middle of filling out a conference proposal to request funding for a group of thirty-six industrial and systems engineering students to attend a conference in February 2018, you’d be right!

IISE logo

Our student group, the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), has received funding to attend this conference for at least the last six years, and I attribute a sizeable amount of my professional network and employment successes to attending the event for the past four years. Now, it’s my turn to make sure that we secure funding again so that this year’s group of students can also benefit from the experience.

Award Photo with Past, Present, and Future IISE Presidents at IISE Annual Conference in 2016 (at Disneyland!)

The IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference is an annual event held on the campus of one of the universities in the region (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan) that has an active chapter of IISE. In the past, I’ve attended this two-day event at Western Michigan University, Purdue University, and Wayne State University.

Ohio University IISE at Wayne State's Conference in 2016 (selfie by Faculty Advisor Dr. Yuan)

Last year, we even had the chance to host the event here at Ohio University!

IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference Planning Committee at Ohio University in 2017

This year, we will be traveling to The Ohio State University for the conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Digital Transformations: Improving Systems Everywhere” and will focus on how technology and data are changing the role of industrial engineers in industry. I’m a big data nerd, so I am very excited.

Aside from being excited to hear keynote speakers and attend breakout sessions in line with the technology theme, I’m excited to see my IISE friends from the other schools in the region again. Having attended four regional conferences and three national conferences in the last four years, I’ve made some pretty good friends across the region and country. They are “my people” and many of them have helped me grow both as an engineer and as a person.

Thanks to these connections, I’m not worried about finding a job after graduation or knowing what to do with myself. The friends I’ve made at these conferences know my interests and my strengths and are already looking out for me to help start my career.

Now it’s time for me to do my part and ensure that our group can afford to travel to this year’s conference so that our students can continue to build these relationships and experience discussions on the current events impacting the futures of our careers. Thankfully, the Russ College believes in the value of these conference experiences and is always willing to lend a hand. Wish us luck!

Impact Movement Conference

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 12 April 2017

One of the student organizations I am involved with on campus outside of the Russ College of engineering is Cru. Cru is a Christian ministry that seeks to help college students grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Recently I traveled up to Kent State university with one of my friends who leads a bible study with me for a Cru conference. The purpose of this conference was to train future leaders who will lead with the Impact Movement.

Impact Movement at Kent State

The Impact Movement is a branch of Cru that seeks to reach African American students. This trip was both a time of equipping leaders with necessary tools for leadership and an opportunity to meet college students from different universities. There were students in attendance from Detroit Mercy, Toledo, Central Michigan, Miami Ohio, Ball State and Kent state (our host for the weekend) making a total of about 70 students. In between the training sessions we played games, danced, played cards, had a talent show and learned more about the other universities represented at the conference.

One thing that has been impactful for me since I’ve been in college has been student organizations that present opportunities to meet and network with students from other universities. I’ve learned so much over the past few years from students that I’ve met from other schools and this conference was no exception.

IEEE Student Activities Conference

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 10 April 2017

This past weekend, I went with The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to the annual Student Activities Conference (SAC) at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. It was honestly one of the best trips that I have ever gone on. Events like these are mostly for professional development, but for me it was so much more. It was a chance for me to get to know my fellow students and it was also a chance to get away from Athens for a little bit and explore a new city!

This year the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science fully supported us to represent Ohio University at SAC. There we got to attend seminars about various subjects, including ethics, leadership, and the Young Professionals Society.

We also got to meet students from other schools. We competed against them in a variety of events that tested our knowledge about physics, circuits and problem solving. We actually ended up winning third in the physics competition and got to bring home a trophy!

My favorite part of the trip, though, was getting to know my fellow members of IEEE. During the car ride and the stay in Glassboro, we got to bond in a way that we haven’t before. I think this was due, in part, to school still being a lingering thought in our regular socials and meetings. Since we were off campus and most of the weekend we were busy with the conference, we got to take a break from the stress.

I was very pleased to find out how welcoming and comfortable everyone was with each other. It made the bonding experience that much better. There were a lot of factors that went into what made this trip so successful, but I honestly think it was the group of people that went that made it one of my favorite weekends to date.

Women in Aviation Conference

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Junior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 14 March 2017

Being a part of an organization has many perks—for example, having a conference in Orlando the week before Spring Break causing you to have two weeks of Spring Break.

I have gone to the Women in Aviation International conference since my freshman year. Since this was my third year, I knew more about how to approach companies that I might want to be hired by in the future.

This conference has helped me grow more as a person and give me more knowledge about the field that I want to go into. I have grown more confident in speaking with companies and knowing in what I want in my future career. I have met a pilot without arms, a female fighter pilot who was in D.C. during 9/11 and a flight attendant who was on the Miracle on the Hudson flight; those are just a few of the amazing women there.

There are all of these amazing women there and they just want to help students who are trying to get into the field. Every woman there has an inspiring story and will give you tips that they wish they knew at my age. I always look forward to the conference every year because I get closer with other members in the OU chapter, but I also see my friends who I made my freshman year in the conference.

Hosting the IISE Regional Conference

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 2 March 2017

Last weekend, Ohio University hosted the Great Lakes Regional Conference for IISE (the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers), the professional organization for Industrial and Systems Engineering majors.

Each spring, there is a conference hosted by one of the schools within each region. Ohio University is in the Great Lakes Region, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

About 400 students gathered in Athens for a two days of networking, listening to speakers, and exploring the possibilities within the professional world.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Finding the IE in relief”. We explored how industrial engineering tools and skills can be used within humanitarian relief situations.

One of the professors in the Russ College Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering specializes in humanitarian logistics. He was the first speaker on Saturday morning. He discussed how his experience with natural disasters in Chile lead him to begin his studies in humanitarian logistics.

Later Saturday, there was a time to converse with a few recent graduates from the major who recently began working full-time. It was nice hearing their perspective, as I am going to be graduating later this spring. There were a few other break-out sessions and key-note speakers throughout the rest of the day.

I really enjoyed this conference as it helped expand my perspective of Industrial and Systems Engineering and presented an opportunity to network with students from different schools.

SWE Conference

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 6 November 2016

From October 26th to 29th, I had the privilege of attending WE16, the national conference for the Society of Women Engineers in Philadelphia, PA. We drove two vans to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, and left early Saturday.

I had been to a SWE conference before—the regional conference in Cincinnati last spring—but this was a whole new ballgame. WE16 advertises itself as being the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. It did not disappoint.

At the regional conference last spring, there were sessions to go to about LinkedIn, interviewing, and a few other topics. They were definitely interesting, but the sheer quantity of sessions at the national conference could not even be compared. There were sessions about anything you could possibly want to learn: in one day, I attended a panel about working while raising a family, a talk about presenting research as women in science; a presentation about advocating for diversity; and a session about unconscious bias.

The SWE conference is the kind of event that young women entering engineering dream of: thousands of poised, accomplished, determined women all gather in one place to celebrate each other’s accomplishments and help other women reach the same heights.

On the second day of the conference, I tried my hand at the SWE career fair. The breadth of companies which were represented was impressive—everyone from Google to Honeywell to Merck was in attendance. I was actually selected for interviews by two companies that morning: IBA Proton Therapy and Boston Scientific. Both went really well, and I was so grateful to have been able to speak with companies from the biomedical engineering field.

After the interviews, I had the opportunity to present my research in the WE16 Rapid Fire Undergraduate event. The title of my presentation was, “Novel Small Molecule Inhibitors of Inflammation Prevent Saturated Free Fatty Acid-Induced Inflammation Associated with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Human Hepatocytes.”

This particular event was unique because some of the presentations were based on research projects, and some were based on internship experiences. I liked the breadth of topics that were addressed because of this set up: young women presented about everything from Harley Davidson motorcycles to weather patterns across the United States and their impact on heating and cooling bills.

I was so honored to represent my university, and in particular the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, at a national level. The entire national conference was the most amazing experience, and I know that experiences like it can completely change careers for the young women (and men) who are lucky enough to attend it.

Retail’s Digital Summit

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 27 September 2016

This past weekend I attended Shop.org Retail’s Digital Summit in Dallas, Texas. They flew a few Ohio University students down there for free. The only thing I had to pay for was a ride to and from the airport, a lunch and a dinner.

I was informed about the event by our secretary here in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I saw “free” written everywhere, and so I figured I would apply. After a day they emailed me and told me I had been accepted to go to the conference.

One important aspect of the trip was being able to network with large retail companies like GSN, Ebay, and PayPal. They attend this conference looking to network and team up with other companies to brainstorm new ideas for selling their products. They also were hoping to show off their recent marketing schemes.

One thing that I did learn was how to communicate on a professional level with people that aren’t just strictly engineering. I got to meet some students from other schools. I also got to meet some students from Ohio University’s Russ College who I hadn’t known before this event. I also learned that although the marketing industry treats their members very nicely, I don’t think it’s a field that interests me.

While I was in Dallas, I was able to do some sight-seeing and enjoy some good food. I got to see where John F Kennedy was shot with the help of an unofficial tour guide. He pulled us out into the street to get a picture near the “X” of his assassination. The skyline was beautiful and so was our hotel. I tried one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, with some amazing peach cobbler. We got delicious free food at the conference events. Although we tried to diversify our taste buds, to save some money we stopped by a Subway to get an Italian BMT.