Orange County Section


2018 IEEE Young Professionals Rising Stars Conference Recap from OC IEEE Young Professionals

Whoooooo! Engineers! In Las Vegas! You know we’re going to get it popping! Well, you might not think that. In fact, you might think we’re kinda boring and nerdy but that’s not quite true either. In fact, we’re all different kinds of people, and I found that again when I attended the 3rd Annual Rising Stars conference, held at Las Vegas the weekend after New Year’s, January 6 to 8. This conference is meant for the young professionals of IEEE, the international engineering organization that started from developing standards for electrical communication like ethernet ports. I was representing Orange County (whoo! Go SoCal!) and brought my best friend & vice president along for the three day conference.

We don’t look like we party hard, and we don’t, since that wasn’t why we came to the conference. We had come to learn what IEEE could do to help us grow as young professionals and the answer was more than just meeting new people to network with…it was a variety of different ways!

  1. Provide the funding for us to develop our own programs to help our community
  2. Provide access to people who may be able to volunteer at events or show up as attendees
  3. Inspire us to do something bigger than ourselves with motivational talks

First and foremost, it’s hard to get things going without any kind of funding for food or venues. Free pizza, boba, any kind of delicious food or drink is a huge draw for events for young professionals who haven’t given into the domestic cooking life yet or want to take a break from it. I host boba nights and telling people the boba is free is a huge draw…$4 may not seem like a lot, especially when you start working, but how many times can you say you’ve had free boba? Not many…one of the ways that I’ve been able to keep the members of my Young Professionals group coming is with free boba, which keeps my event special from all the other networking mixers and YP events out there.

I learned that there’s more that IEEE can provide than money for free boba though, there’s a whole pot of funding meant for special events that Young Professionals in IEEE like me can tap into, if they meet the requirements…talking to the funding organizers at the conference was much easier than trying to find the information online and gave me a clear idea for what I intend to do in the future.

  1. Host a event for recent graduates (at least 10) with a focus on making the transition from student to working professional, or graduate student — $500. I think a talk at the university nearby, UC Irvine, would be a great place to start bringing together my graduated peers and the students looking to get access to tips, internships and jobs!
  2. Meet ups: Not the website, but an actual meet up, preferably at another conference or large technical event. I spoke to Mario, a former Toronto YP member, and he mentioned hosting their meet ups at large venues like the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas or TEDxTalks. I think our section of YP would benefit from the $1500 to either host our own conference at UCI or to pay for boothing at a larger venue to get more visibility to our peers.
  3. Seed funding is what I think should be used to grow the YP’s base, and I’ve already created a event that I think brings together the community, as well as YP’s, called Tinker Night, where the idea is for everyone of all ages to tinker with toys, whether they’re toddlers to graduated engineers, playing is an important part of learning and I think the $750 for this event is best used for re-usable resources like robots.
  4. There should be another $1000 in funding, purely from IEEE YP, announced for 2018 so will be keeping an eye out for that.

Some of the notable connections I made at the conference included:

Hugo, a student member from the University of San Diego, who asked me my about my college experience and what he could do to get ahead. I let him know the most important trait is perseverance, because not everything you want will come easily, and your plan to get there may not work, but if you keep trying and learning, there’s nothing that can stop you from reaching your goals! In my case, I wanted to lead my micromouse team my senior year to the UCSD competitions since UCI had never been. We put in hundreds of hours, each of us doing a different task but working together as a team — I was the one doing the paperwork for funding, presenting to the public and organizing things like a project lead would…my two other teammates worked on creating the actual code needed to implement the AI of the micromouse and debugging it.

I also met James, the president of the CSLUB IEEE student section, who really impressed me with the way he was able to keep his student chapter so active while juggling an active engineering schedule…we’ll do something in the future given our close proximity!

My VP had a great time networking with the members from USC!

Attending the conference for the second time, I realized how important IEEE is to me since I got my internship, my first job and met some of my best friends from it, in addition to using it to host events for other engineering students. I see IEEE Young Professionals as a great vehicle for providing aspiring entrepreneurs like me a softer way into starting their ideas up without having do an actual start up. Hopefully, we will dissolve the idea of a Young Professionals altogether in the future when young professionals are just a part of IEEE and we won’t even need a name for our inclusion, it’ll just be natural for IEEE to have a lot of young professionals!


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