This new blog series will focus on spotlighting different student organizations on-campus that focus on academic majors. The purpose of this series is to encourage students to get involved and stay connected to advance themselves as professionals. We hope that you find these statements helpful and that you reach out to grow your network!
We asked members of AIChE and ASCE the following questions about their experience with being involved in a professional student organization:
How have you benefited professionally from being involved in an on-campus org? What has been your favorite experience from your involvement in the org? What is something you wish you knew before joining an org? Would you recommend joining a professional student org to other students? Why? What is one piece of advice you have for students hesitant to join an org? If applicable, how has Career Services helped you and your org?
Organization: American Society of Civil Engineers
Name: Stephanie Wasag (4th year Civil Engineering student)
I have benefited from this organization for many reasons. First, I made some of my closest friends in this organization. Second, I was able to attend numerous networking opportunities and connect with so many professionals (I attended two national conferences and two local college conferences). Third, I was able to learn more about companies from the Lunch and Learn Meetings ASCE IIT would host on Wednesdays. Fourth, I gained the confidence and skills partaking in Concrete canoe.
Before joining this organization, I wished I knew how beneficial being part of ASCE is. I didn’t realize how much ASCE had to offer me until my second semester in the organization. Not only did I get networking connections that helped me get internships, but I also built two canoes out of concrete!
One piece of advice I would tell a student that is hesitant to join is to join ASCE or any other professional organization we have on campus. They are beneficial for your future and can help you find like minded individuals. I really enjoyed the days I would go to ASCE meetings with my friends and then walk together to class afterwards. Professional Organizations have a lot to offer younger members. ASCE for instance allows college students to be members of the national organization for free! It is a great perk since the national organization hosts conferences, career fairs, and grants students scholarship and networking opportunities. I myself have had two Mentors as part of the ASCE Mentor/Mentee Program.
IIT’s ASCE Chapter always hosts their own career fair. I believe that Career Services has helped out by allowing us/ assisting us the opportunity to host these Career Fairs. They are smaller than the school wide one. Through these Career Fairs, I have gotten networking opportunities and internship offers!
Organization: American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Name: Heather Pecho (5th year B.S Chemical Engineering and MEng. Environmental Engineering Technology student)
AIChE is not just a professional club or a networking organization but it is a family. AIChE makes you feel accepted and at home with fellow students from around the world. We take care of each other, push each other to strive for excellence, and better each other. My favorite experience from AIChE has been the National Conferences we attend. These conferences bring us closer together by helping us learn to navigate the professional world better. We help each other prepare for interviews, career fairs, and professional luncheons. At the last AIChE conference, I joined the AIChE Environmental Division as the youngest member. I almost did not join the division because it required me to sit in on a closed professional meeting. Eventually, I did join the meeting due to two fellow AIChE members who brought up my confidence and practically pushed me into the physical meeting. Because of this meeting, my environmental engineering network doubled in size.
In addition to the friendship, memories, and skills, AIChE has helped me and fellow members find internship and full-time employment. For example, during my third year at Illinois Tech, I became friends with a woman who worked at a start-up company. At the end of my third year, she graduated and recommended me to apply for her position. The company liked me and I earned the job. A few months later the company needed more interns and I went straight to my AIChE friends. Every intern, of the five that were hired, were part of AIChE in some aspect. This experience is very common in multiple other professional organizations on campus as well. Companies like seeing involved students. My advice to students is to get involved in at least one professional organization and one fun organization on campus.