Each year, NIU’s NSBE chapter sends some of its members to the NSBE National Convention, which was held in Anaheim, California this year. At the convention students are able to network with hundreds of companies as well as collaborate with other NSBE chapters from around the country. Two of our NSBE members Taylor Bogan, and electrical engineering major with a biomedical emphasis, and Ryan Sorsby, also an electrical engineering major, both had incredible experiences at the NSBE National Convention.
“It was my first time attending [the national convention] and it was very inspiring to see 5000 minority students trying to excel academically.” Bogan said. While at the convention, she was able to network with huge companies like Apple and Google. “What I liked the most is that the people who work for big companies, at the end of the day are people just like you and I.”
While networking, Bogan was able to connect on LinkedIn with professionals and even exchange personal emails on some occasions. Bogan had been to regional and national conferences for other organizations like Engineers Without Borders and Society of Women Engineers and said she appreciates every chance she gets to market herself to possible future employers.
“The more exposure I get, any time I talk to any rep, or attend a conference, it’s an opportunity to improve myself,” Bogan said. “There are things I can fix now, like my elevator speech and how I do in interviews, instead of waiting until next semester when it’s too late.”
One aspect of networking that really sets the NSBE National Conference apart from other conferences is that the representatives of big companies that are in attendance, are actual hiring managers and even Vice President’s of departments in some cases, not just human resources workers.
“I was able to interview with Boeing and saw one of the managers from Dell that I worked with,” Sorsby said. “I gained additional contacts from Lockheed Martin and Intel; it was a much easier step in the door rather than applying online.”
Aside from networking, there were competitions like a hack-a-thon and a Boeing flight competition that our chapter took part in. The conference also had Pre-collegiate initiative event for high school students, which NIU NSBE is trying to incorporate here on campus.
“We went to my junior high and spoke with people there to start a NSBE Jr. chapter and partnership with NIU,” Sorsby said. “They were getting more into STEM, and the principal reached out to me to help them become a STEM school and partner with university.”