the way ahead
New beginnings by John Paserba
any of you reading this column right now are in the process of settling into another academic year at your university or college, along with most of the northern hemisphere institutions. While I have spent my own career in industry, I have had the privilege of teaching academic courses from time to time for almost 25 years, and I am in the midst of teaching on campus (and concurrently online) a semester-long graduate course in power system transients for the fourth time in seven years, an activity I enjoy immensely. On a personal note, my oldest child begins his journey as a freshman university student this year, and I am pleased to say that he has selected engineering as his field of study. This time of year, for many of us, represents new beginnings or renewal. I assume that the vast majority of people reading this issue of IEEE Potentials are IEEE Student or Graduate Student Members for 2014. I would like to use this opportunity to make a few comments on your “new beginnings” by asking you to join IEEE or renew your IEEE membership. I have had the opportunity to facilitate IEEE Student Branch Leadership Training Workshops (SLTWs) for IEEE Student Branch members and leaders over the past 19 years, having led over 30 workshops during this time. In these SLTWs, I often engage the attendees in a discussion on many topics including why did you join IEEE and why do you stay a member. What I hear has been enlightening and useful. On the topic of why people joined, I have experienced nearly 40 different responses that were consistent across 19 years and at different universities and IEEE Regions. Among the most repeated answers were to network with like-minded people, upperclassmen, and professors; for leadership development opportunities; encouragement from classmates or professors; for technical tours and speakers; resume building; to be more well rounded; a Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPOT.2014.2330909 Date of publication: 9 September 2014
S e p t e m b e r / O c t ober 2014 IEEE Potentials
desire to be part of a team and to help grow it; access to technical information (publications and conferences); to help guide career choices and career paths; for fun; to supplement my education; to build stuff (hardware contests and projects); FOR THE FOOD!; to meet other people; and IEEE Spectrum; just to name a few. I joined as a Student Member for some of these reasons myself, with the leading ones being “encouragement from a professor” and “resume building.” It should come as no surprise that the same reasons we all joined IEEE are collectively the same reasons we all stay IEEE Members. Individually our own personal reasons for joining and renewing could change, but the collective reasons are very similar. While I joined for different reasons as noted above, I have remained an IEEE Member (30 years and counting) primarily because of leadership development opportunities, access to technical information, and the opportunity to publish. Please reach out and encourage your classmates to join IEEE. If you are in an IEEE Student Branch leadership position, consider arranging with your professors for a few minutes at the beginning of a required class to promote becoming an IEEE Student Member. Share your reasons for joining, and relay the benefits of IEEE membership. For those of you who are already IEEE Members, we are in the middle of the 2015 renewal cycle. I encourage you to renew your IEEE membership and make use of the Member advantages. Finally, some of you may be graduating by the end of the calendar year, so utilize the benefits of IEEE membership in elevating to a full-grade Member upon your graduation and consider getting involved in your local Section, Region, or Chapter. Engage in the benefits and opportunities in IEEE to create your own unique Member networking experience.
About the author John Paserba ([email protected]
) is the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities chair—Student Activities.