As Chair of the Student Chapters, the main goal is to maintain and develop new Student Chapters in the Los Angeles area. Aee SoCal already had one Student Chapter in the University of California, Irvine. The process of starting a new Student Chapter requires access to the University Administration. Since I had a contact at Cal Poly Pomona, it was a natural starting point for adding a new Student Chapter for AEE SoCal.
The Cal Poly contact was Professor Jana Spruce who was teaching a Senior Level Engineering Class on Leadership & Business Ethics. She asked me to give a talk to the students about my 40+ Years of experience in Industry, with 15 Years of the experience in the Energy Business. My goal for the talk was to help the students understand what to expect in the workplace (as none had work experience) and generate interest in AEE.
I spent most of the two hours giving a personal history, experience and knowledge of the Energy Industry, offering to host a field trip to the Industrial Workplace and exploring their interest in joining Aee SoCal as a Student Chapter. I had six students and their Mentor, Dr. Kenneth Lamb, accept the tour of the Industrial Workplace and one student offer to take the role of Aee SoCal Student Chapter President. That student was Kristen Bush, who was a Junior in Chemical and Materials Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona at the time. I got Kristen connected with the Aee SoCal UC Irvine Student Chapter President, to get all of the documentation for starting a Student Chapter. The collaboration and partnership drew the two school groups together for many of the evening events, which were easier for the students to attend. Kristen successfully implemented the Aee SoCal – Cal Poly Student Chapter and kept the role for her Senior Year. She generated interest with the underclassmen and successfully handed the presidency over to Thomas Rugh, the Second Aee SoCal Chapter President. The Student Body changes constantly as the upperclassmen graduate, making it difficult to maintain continuity of the program. The Aee SoCal - UCI Student Chapter has maintained with different Presidents for more than six years.
Kristen has now moved on with her career, having been admitted to Purdue University for the Direct PhD in Mechanical Engineering, UC Davis for the M.S. in Energy Systems, and the University of Dayton for the M.S. in Renewable and Clean Energy. She was offered an NSF Fellowship by UC Davis that includes full tuition coverage and a stipend. Ultimately, she decided to attend UC Davis in the upcoming Fall Quarter. She sent a very nice thank you letter for providing inspiration to strive for her goals. She appreciated having such a great experience through her Senior Project and the AEE SoCal – Student Chapter. She continued on to provide thanks from the other students (showing her leadership skills) from Cal Poly Pomona. I encouraged her to keep me apprised of her progress, and I am so proud to be associated with such a wonderful, charming individual that I am certain will go far and be a driving force in the Energy Industry. Hearing her success story and progress makes the effort very worthwhile…just knowing that you have made a difference for someone. I would encourage other AEE Chapters to “Give Back” and work with students in their area to develop the next generation of Energy Leaders.
Article Written By:
Donald G. Musser, C.E.M.
Searles Valley Minerals