Tuesday, July 7, 2015

IEEE Chapter Continues to Grow

IEEE is one of the largest student organizations at UC San Diego. The national organization is the largest professional organization for electrical engineers nationwide. Despite having endless electrical engineering students at its disposal, the university’s IEEE has done a notable job developing both professional and leadership opportunities for all members, and strong connections amongst members for a “family feel."

IEEE is divided into three different groups: organization members, staff members and officers. Any organization member can be staff, who shadow the officers. This creates a stepping-stone process to an officer position. Staff members receive priority at IEEE’s technical workshops in return for the extra work they put in. Gerardo Gonzalez, a staff member, notes that getting to attend as a staff member is “a great introduction into the organization as a whole,” and he believes his participation in the organization has been a true learning experience with an important introduction to the real world. Staff members have many directions in which they may go, such as outreach or even project teams.


According to Will Chen, Outreach Chair this past school year and Electrical Engineering major about to enter his junior year, IEEE’s volunteer work is geared towards creating more STEM opportunities for both students on campus and within the greater San Diego community. The Outreach Team puts forth its best efforts to “expose others to all different resources and opportunities as possible.” Chen recalls that after their STEM Merit Badge Fair event in which boy scouts may earn their electronic and computer programming badges, he received an email from a grateful mother whose son was about to drop out of his school’s programming class before attending IEEE’s STEM program. He was eager to return to his school’s program, proving that t IEEE’s members are making a difference through hands-on learning activities.

Workshops and Project Teams

Electrical engineers are no exception to the many engineers who seek hands-on experience, and IEEE has been successfully facilitating the development of engineering skills using technical workshops and project teams. In fact, the technical resources IEEE offers are what first attracted past Outreach Chair Will Chen to the organization. Chen was involved in the Grand PrIEEE (pronounced “pr-ee”) project, gaining experience programming and working with circuit boards.

Jamie Chao, this past school year’s Project Team Chair, was in charge of the Grand PrIEEE, which is only one of many projects IEEE develops, like the Micromouse competition. Chao, an Electrical Engineering senior, says the Grand PrIEEE project consists of constructing an autonomous line-following robot. During the Fall quarter, the team brainstorms the schematics. In the winter, they configure the basic components, build sensors (usually ROC or optimal cam sensors) and use high pass filters. To follow the line, the robot either needs to see a white taped line or a copper wire emitting electromagnetic fields. Finally, in the Spring quarter, the team combines all the processes and refines the robot.

IEEE project projects are coordinated in relation to the classes electrical engineers must take. For example, ECE 125A and ECE 125B are both power classes and are referenced when dealing with the power components of the robots.

“You get what you put in,” said Chao. And because IEEE members put heavy effort into their projects, most students are inspired to return the year after.

IEEE member and officer Tony Wong describes his experience with the organization as “helpful, especially as a first year student and when you don’t know what resources to utilize.” The interdisciplinary aspect of the club, given its technical workshops, professional development, engaging students, and extensive bonding and ties made amongst members, prepared Wong before making any mistakes.

As for Ryan Collins, current 2016 President, he says members are “not just people who want to get their resumes boosted.” In addition, he notes that the skills-building opportunities allow members to become more confident in what they are learning – confidence that they can then lend to others when given the role of, say, staff member or officer.

As for the future of UC San Diego’s IEEE chapter, Collins hopes to hear from recruiters and leverage their expertise as he plans for more professional events and Tech Talks in order for members to gain exposure to more companies. Collins is also working towards obtaining a new project space – a designated area for multiple student organizations to work on side projects.

Keep up with IEEE at http://ieee.ucsd.edu/ 

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