Today I want to talk to you all about an engineering club within Viterbi that is tailored to my major, Industrial and Systems Engineering. USC has student organizations dedicated to professional development for students in every branch of engineering, and you can find a comprehensive list of Viterbi student orgs here, but for now I’m going to focus on a club that is near and dear to my heart, and that’s USC’s chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers!!
I know, it’s not the most catchy name in the world, but it makes up for it in how crazy awesome the club actually is.
At USC, Industrial Engineering has one of the smallest major classes coming in, but grows a ton as people find out about the major and how valuable / applicable an ISE degree can be. I started out as a Mechanical Engineering major, and didn’t know anything about Industrial Engineering when I got to SC. My first semester here, I took a Freshman Academy class with Professor Najm Meshkati. Every incoming Viterbi student takes this class, which introduces you to every branch of engineering. While I really enjoyed my Intro to Mechie class, I loved the idea of learning how to do things efficiently, optimizing processes, and improving the quality and productivity of people’s lives. For the full story on my switch, check out an earlier blog of mine here.
Also, my friend Clare wrote a rad blog on why she chose ISE. Be sure to check it out.
Anyway, back to the club. I joined IISE right after I switched majors, and I’m now on the Executive Board as the Programming Director. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made at USC, for quite a few reasons:
1. The Learning. You will definitely learn more about your major. especially as an underclassman, it was invaluable to listen to guest speakers explain in clear terms what Industrial Engineering meant to them. It gave me a better idea of what I was studying and motivated me to learn more!
2. The People. Knowing other people in your major comes with huge perks. You’ll get to know older students who have been in your shoes. These are students who have gotten the internships, taken the classes, and are more than willing to help you out. Most of all, they’re super chill people who will become your friends, and who doesn’t want more of those?
3. The Free Food. No club meeting would be complete without free food. Our general meetings are always well stocked with CPK or Panda.
4. The Connections. The industry professionals and professors that come to general meetings to speak are more often than not taking resumes for summer internships or a full-time job. In addition, much of the ISE department are members of the national organization, so seeing them at meetings could significantly boost your chances of landing a research position or a letter of rec.
5. The fun! Every year, some student go to the IISE regional conference, where there is an opportunity to listen to professionals, attend workshops, and meet other college ISE students. Last year, the conference was at Disneyland!
Bottom line, IISE is the best. And depending on your major, you should join the professional development org for that branch, because it will help you out immensely. And it will be super fun, so get out there and do it!
Til next time,