By Tricia Simo Kush, PEM
The 2014 IAC, like so many others, has passed (and rather quickly at that). I cannot believe that just a week ago I was packing, getting ready to board a plane and make my way to Virginia Beach. And never mind what I forgot to bring; while I thought that I had a good idea of what to expect, there are always surprises or activities that completely slip my mind. That's what keeps it fresh and relevant.
Otherwise, why would we ever attend another conference?
As nice as it is to see friends and colleagues, it was especially fun to see some familiar faces within the student teams. I mean this sincerely. The conference showcases many student projects that range from papers and thesis submissions to the on-site team case competition. "The Students," as a few of us affectionately refer to them, consistently surprise me with their creativity, focus and the high quality of their work. It's really great to meet them and hear about their projects. (ASIDE: I'd love to bottle that energy and sell it at the registration table.) It's also really interesting to watch "The Students" interact with their advisors and realize just how much care and support that is represented by each institution.
Yes, I am a bit envious; guilty.
Granted, I am late to the ASEM dance and did not join as a student member. I recommend membership highly and particularly for students. It's not just the reduced membership rate, but also the exposure to what makes the association and the conferences so interesting. For example, students were present on the tour that I took to the US Navy Base-Norfolk Submarine Learning Facility, which was an amazing experience and is worthy of a blog in itself. They also joined us in the large events (see blog photo from lunch on Friday) and presented their work during the conference.
I didn't get to peek in on the student competition - that's a no-no - but I'll bet it was interesting and exciting, given the competitors that I met during the conference.
I'm not trying to write from an 'us-n-them' perspective. I simply didn't take advantage of the opportunities to participate in all of the things that they've accomplished during the conference. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they were always happy mingling with everyone. I enjoyed speaking to them personally and asking about their perspectives on the conference, the association, and their respective programs. It made me think about how I spent my school years... and I realized that they are doing it much more productively than I did.
I totally missed out and have a lot of ground to regain!
I encourage every student to reach out and connect with the folks that you met during the conference. Post here - or at another ASEM social media location - and let us know what your thoughts about the conference. Tell us about your upcoming projects and what you might plan to present at the 2015 IAC. Send us a blog to post and share with the association. Connect with us, ask questions and keep in touch.
All of us at ASEM are very proud of your efforts and - like you - we want to know more!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tricia Simo Kush is a recently certified Professional Engineering Manager. Her background is in Information Technology with a goal is to take her career to a higher level through Engineering Management. To her, Engineering Management is a fascinating mix of technology and business, people and process. Follow her on Twitter (@TSimoKush) or check out her profile on LinkedIn.