I am currently involved in a Viterbi student organization called the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE). This year’s West Regional Conference (WRC) was hosted by the University of California San Diego, so eight other USC SASE board members and I traveled to San Diego to attend the conference.
The conference started early, at 8:30 am. The WRC staff provided breakfast and started the conference with an opening speech. Then, the first workshop session started. You can choose one of the 3-4 workshop options for each session. I decided to attend “Transitioning from Undergrad to Industry.” There were UCSD alums that spoke about the real struggles of going from an undergraduate student to a full-time employee in the industry, such as managing finances, finding your community of people, and standing up for yourself. Very useful advice for the future!
The second workshop I attended was “Technical Consulting Panel and Q&A.” Many representatives from Booz Allen Hamilton spoke about their professional experiences, what it is like to work for their company, and what the consulting industry entails. Next, there was a networking session with other company representatives that attended WRC. Some companies, like Lockheed Martin, Illumina, Northrop Grumman, etc., set up their booths so SASE members could talk to the company representatives one-on-one, ask questions, and hand out resumes.
The third workshop series were more casual, so one of the options was “U See SD – Campus Tour,” Since I have never been to UCSD, I decided to go on the campus tour to explore UCSD. I got to see some of UCSD’s iconic architecture, like the Geisel Library, the Fallen Star, a house sitting on top of UCSD’s engineering building, and go up to the top of one of their buildings to get a good view of the campus and the ocean.
After a quick lunch break, the last workshop I chose was “Human-Centered Design.” A Product Designer at Visa talked about what is a human-centered design and its applicability in a wide range of industries. It was fascinating to learn more about improving the user experience and some common dark patterns in popular software platforms we use daily. Lastly, there was a closing ceremony that wrapped up SASE WRC 2023.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend my first collegiate conference. It was exciting to meet other SASE chapters from different universities, and it was so much fun attending the workshops offered at the conference!