(Posted on behalf of Paul Grant, PSEC SPU Mentor Night Coordinator)
To: PSEC Reps
From: Paul Grant
Date: October 29, 2015
Subject: October 27 2015, SPU Mentor Night Summary
The event was attended by about 120 to 140 students and 32 mentors. Of the mentors attending, approximate one-third had participated in last year’s event. Mentor participation was quite broad with mentors representing Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Industrial, Manufacturing, Marine, Materials, Mechanical, and Systems engineering, with subsets of computer hardware and software, environmental, geotechnical, process, and structural engineering.
Student participation at the event is a class requirement where the students will write a 2 page summary of their experience. While most students at SPU will major in electrical, computer or mechanical engineering, some of the freshmen are in “general” engineering where they haven’t decided upon a major. Consequently, mentors covering a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines are welcomed.
The format of the event included welcoming comments by Dr. Melani Plett, with the Electrical Engineering Department at SPU, who organized the event. Welcoming remarks also included acknowledgment of PSEC for providing the diverse group of mentors. Dr. Plett also introduced 4 panelists (SPU alumni) who started the event by fielding general questions from the audience. After the 20 minute panel discussion, the students rotated among the tables with individual mentors in four sessions, each also lasting about 20 minutes.
While student attendance was a class requirement, a number of students arrived early, before the start of the event, to talk individually with mentors that also arrived early. Similarly, after the event formally concluded, a number of students stayed later to similarly talk with the mentors. Such interactions truly make the event meaningful to both the students and mentors.
As suggested, most mentors brought visual aids ranging from photographs, brochures, material samples to computer presentations which worked quite well and contributed to the breadth of discussions.
Areas for Improvement:
- Eventbrite (PSEC)
Internal discussions are needed to improve clarity for the Eventbrite sign-up. Specific changes should include:
- Consolidation of Fields of “Industry” and “Engineering Expertise” into a proposed “Engineering Field”. Currently there is extensive overlap between “Industry” and “Expertise”. Because event uses table tents to identify the mentor, we should use terms that are identifiable to students in terms of their areas of study. Such terms could include the uses of “Computer” engineering with subsets of hardware and software. Similarly, “Civil” engineering could be divided into subsets of Environmental, geotechnical, structural, transportation, water resources, etc.