IEEE Cultivates A Community of Self-Driven and Successful Engineers

With the online fall term looming just around the corner, students can expect a variety of experiences that will allow them to grow as professionals in their desired industry, as well as flourish in a community that enables success. Electrical and computer engineering students in particular can look forward to a virtual fall term with Drexel IEEE, whose mission is to cultivate a strong community of self-driven and successful engineers. The organization emphasizes utilizing its resources to provide students with opportunities to develop professional and technical skills, as well as provide exposure to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields.

Student working at a computer

Drexel IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers — but they encompass so much more. With an officer board of diverse majors and events that teach many skills, Drexel IEEE is truly a melting pot of all engineering industries and fields of study. Drexel IEEE offers workshops to help students refine their engineering skills, as well as an annual hackathon that encourages teamwork and innovation. The organization also allows for outreach programs and social events to relieve stress and promote a larger sense of community and unity among students. In the past, Drexel IEEE has partnered with different departments and computer science professors to encourage interdisciplinary professional development, and will continue to do so even with the fall term’s online format.

“In name, the organization is comprised of electrical and computer engineers who want to learn more about their field of study and how to make the most of the resources available to them. However, these are not the only students who join IEEE,” explains President Matthew Rantz and Vice President Har Patel. “Due to the wide variety of events we offer — especially when it comes to technical, professional and social events — IEEE attracts students from many different colleges and majors available at Drexel!”

At a national level, IEEE is one of the largest technical and professional organizations with more than 423,000 members in over 160 countries around the world. The scale and visibility the organization has allows for an influx of resources, connections and content available to members at the University level. Being in Drexel IEEE means being immersed within the engineering field, and gaining knowledge that allows you to stay technically relevant in a society that makes technological advancements every single day. Drexel IEEE connects with other student branches in the Philadelphia Section of IEEE, collaborating on events and sharing resources. As a national organization, IEEE sponsors more than 1,600 conferences and meetings per year, and while there isn’t one defined, centralized conference, there are more than enough to choose from and attend.

At the University level, Drexel IEEE has had the opportunity to host an abundance of events that benefit its members. They’ve held technical events, including DIY workshops where students have the ability to follow along, utilize and learn numerous computer languages, microcontrollers, and basic engineering skills like soldering. On the professional side of things, they’ve held tech talks for students to learn about different co-ops directly from other students, as well as professionals in the industry. Drexel IEEE also holds social and outreach events like game nights where students can compete to earn prizes, movie nights to relax and get to know fellow members, tabling events to promote recruitment efforts, and general body meetings to keep members up to date on all things Drexel IEEE.

“Due to the wide variety of events we offer — especially when it comes to technical, professional and social events — IEEE attracts students from many different colleges and majors available at Drexel!”
Matthew Rantz and Har Patel

On a larger scale, Drexel IEEE also organizes the University’s largest student-run hackathon, DragonHacks, where students from all over the world are invited to compete in a 24-hour coding competition. Additionally, the organization strives to act as a liaison to Drexel’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department to facilitate communication between faculty and students. They spark this relationship through co-hosted events with the department, such as ECE talks, where graduate students and professors discuss research, fields of study and degrees within the department. The organization also hosts student-run workshops that allows members and non-members alike to learn new skills outside of the classroom, providing students with a competitive edge in co-op and career interviews.

“We are a fun, loving family of engineers,” says Rantz and Patel. “We place importance on events for student growth and strongly believe IEEE supplements student’s undergraduate education, which helps prepare students for future employment. Because of our variety in events, students are able to participate in new activities supplementing their knowledge and social skills through workshops and friendly competitions.”

Students working on electronics project.

Focusing on the core purposes of IEEE — to be essential to the global technical community — the student branch connects talented engineers with common interests and pursuits, allowing them to grow, learn, network and identify themselves with others who similarly enjoy technological advancement and look to positively impact their communities.

“For the upcoming virtual fall term the officer board has worked diligently to come up with an elaborate plan to ensure we can offer similar events we do every year,” explains Rantz and Patel. “We want to make the virtual experience feel as real as possible for each and every one of our members.”

With plans to utilize Slack for communication purposes and Zoom to host virtual events, Drexel IEEE is more than prepared to adapt to the virtual format. They’ve spent the past two online quarters developing the best practices for online growth, and are confident their officers are prepared to effectively hold events, overcome technical issues, and proceed with the same number of events they host every fall term. Drexel IEEE will continue to host technical, professional, social and outreach events virtually, and will record each event and post the videos to their YouTube channel for members who could not attend.

Some events potential and current members can look forward to include a collaboration with Drexel’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) to host an information session with Lockheed Martin, a professional development workshop with Second Order Effects, a Python programming language workshop to assist first year students, a collaboration with the Drexel IEEE Graduate Forum to for graduate students to share their research experiences, an informational workshop regarding different career paths in ECE and a co-op search workshop so students can learn how to search for a co-op during a pandemic and to help those struggling with this.

For those interested in staying up to date with the organization, and to learn more about events and opportunities, be sure to connect with Drexel IEEE via DragonLink.