Making Cultural Connections with SASE

Students in Society  of Asian Scientists and Engineers
Viwing Zheng (left) is president of SASE.

Since its formation in 2013, Drexel’s chapter of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) has connected students of Asian heritage to education and employment opportunities and served as an important hub for the celebration of pan-Asian culture. Chapter president Viwing Zheng, a third-year student studying computer science, shared some updates on what’s new and what it can offer students in the College of Engineering.

How does SASE help students?

SASE provides different ways to connect with people. We have a Discord server for games, chatting, homework help and more. We offer a mentorship program that connects underclassmen with more experienced students. This program is especially important to keep up during the pandemic, since so many students start out not knowing anybody, and there are fewer opportunities for in-person interaction. We tried our best to maintain that experience by having events dedicated to the mentor-mentee pairs.

Professional connections with alumni and company representatives/recruiters is an important part of what we do. We participate in events such as Lockheed Martin Info Sessions and the SASE National Conference.

We also collaborate with other Asian student organizations to focus on  culture. We started a Bring Your Heart workshop series to host intimate discussions about the Asian-American experience. Celebrating different cultures allows people to connect on a closer level and brings people together.

On the professional development side, we host workshops such as a Co-op Prep Workshop with alumni. We find opportunities to connect with the community, typically through volunteering. The remote experience has introduced new ways to connect with and redefine what community means. For example, we have a community challenge to give back and connect with people continuously throughout the term. We hope to encourage the thought of continuous service through connections with nonprofits and local organizations.

What does the organization have planned for the winter term?

We currently have collaborations quite a few events planned with different orgs, including an all-day Lunar New Year, a Bring Your Heart Workshop with GCC and SASA, a financial planning event with SigEp, a winter social for Engineering Week, and more.

We want a good mix of social, professional development, cultural and community events. We are also selling hoodies as merch!

How has the organization adjusted to being fully virtual?

We have learned how strong our organization and members are. Being online has made it easier to talk to new people and for those who could never make it in person to participate more. We translated some events to online format using Zoom and Discord platforms and created new events suitable for online, including game nights and fireside chats.

To keep our community service activity going, we started hosting fundraisers for organizations like Make-a-Wish and encouraging political activism by writing letters to legislators. We utilized Discord to create a space for casual hang outs with friends in place of usual physical meetups We try to keep it active and have informal things happen.

To learn more about SASE and their upcoming events, visit their website.

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