Well, I gotta say my favorite group I’m involved with is my fraternity, Theta Xi (which is why I’m president), but you can read about Greek life on Zach’s blog or Gavin’s blog. I’ll instead be taking about IEEE’s student chapter here at USC. IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Most engineering disciplines have some sort of international conglomerate that forms from engineers’ desire to share and validate knowledge amongst their peers. Another example is the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), which is the umbrella organization for Computer Scientists. IEEE formed to bring together both electrical and computer engineers under one umbrella, and it sponsors conferences and publishes important findings in electrical engineering research.
Last year, I was on the executive board of IEEE’s chapter at USC as the Director of Communications. IEEE puts on a lot of events for its general members, including company info sessions, networking events, and social event. One networking event even had about 10 recruiters for about 20 students! As director of communications, I got to write the really long weekly bulletins about all these events (really long because there were so many).
What sets apart being a general member in an organization and being on the executive board is the cool experience you get as a result of working with other leaders. Each week, we would have an executive board meeting, which was rather like meeting on how to run a business. Delegation and cooperation, vital skills for leaders, are on display as younger members learn from older members. Careful logistic considerations for events have to be made, and other officers discussed lobbying recruiters or professors for hands on events.
While I am not doing IEEE’s executive board this year due to other time commitments, it continues to be an awesome way to experience the world of electrical engineering. Even though I’m primarily a software guy, IEEE is really valuable in keeping me abreast of the field that enables my software to run, and I look forward to continuing to attend events as a general member!