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Spotlight on the Student Engineers’ Council

By:  Glen Elwood 

Every year, over 5,000 eager students attend the Engineering Exposition in hopes of finding employment. Organizing this career fair is no small feat, and it takes the combined efforts of the entire Student Engineers’ Council (SEC) to make it happen.

The Engineering Exposition hosts over 250 companies and provides an incredible opportunity for students to engage with company representatives. The Expo is three days long; two days for the fair and then one day for interviews. While the Engineering Expo is by far the largest event for the council, it is only the beginning of what they do for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

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The SEC serves as the liaison between students, administration companies, and engineering organizations.

The SEC serves as the liaison between students, administration, companies and engineering organizations. The executive board for the SEC is comprised of 14 students who organize events and oversee the bi-monthly general assembly meetings. These students meet weekly to discuss and assess the status of the council and the progress being made on certain events.

The annual events hosted by the SEC are the Freshman Major Mixer, Leadership in Engineering Conference and E-Week.  The Freshman Major Mixer is an event that takes place in the first month of first semester. It is an event showcasing all 14 engineering majors, as well as the design teams and student organizations, to the general engineering students. This has been proven to a be a huge success due to the fact that it helps the incoming class take one step closer to determining a major and becoming more involved in college.

The Leadership in Engineering Conference is another event that is held in the fall. It is the perfect opportunity for students to step back from the technical material taught in the engineering courses and focus on applying leadership skills to the engineering field.

Last fall, the conference was held in Goodwin Hall, the new engineering building on campus. The two keynote speakers for the event were Michael Cardman, a Hokie alum, as well as Virginia Tech’s very own Dr. Jack Lesko. The conference also included various breakout sessions hosted by companies and Virginia Tech faculty.

E-week is a weeklong celebration of the engineering students on campus and involves several speakers, design team showcases, and competitions. This year, the event was held the week after spring break. The week started off with three speakers: Ms. Gretchen Edelmon, Mr. Edward Colvin and Dr. Alfred Wicks.

The next day was the design team showcase on the Drillfield. The design teams, as well as other engineering organizations, set up tables on the Drillfield to share their projects with the Virginia Tech community. Finally, on the third day, teams competed to build the largest, most sturdy spaghetti tower in the engineering design challenge.

Philanthropy is also a large part of the Student Engineers’ Council. The SEC is able to collect fees from the companies that attend the Engineering Expo and then give the profit back to the College of Engineering. The SEC allocates this money to design teams, engineering organizations and other projects through the Design Team Endowment, Engineering Organization Fund and big contribution.

For each fund, different organizations present to the executive board and then the general assembly to vote on what funding the organization should receive. The council also awards the Paul E. Torgersen Leadership and Nathanael Gebreyes Service Scholarships to students who apply and have demonstrated exceptional leadership or service to the university.

Getting involved in the Student Engineers’ Council is very easy. The first step is to attend the general assembly meetings that are held twice a month. The exact dates are available on the SEC webpage (sec.vt.edu). During these meetings, students are able to get information about all of the design teams and engineering organizations, learn about opportunities for involvement and vote on funding.

The SEC always needs volunteers for the Engineering Expo and would love to see students at all of their events throughout the school year. Positions for the executive board open up during both the fall and spring semesters and require the submission of an application. For more information about these positions check the SEC website, emails or attend the general assembly meetings. You can also contact Gwen Elwood at gwene94@vt.edu.