Student chapter wins fourth consecutive national industrial engineering award

Miranda Buckheit
July 18, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State student chapter of the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) has been honored with the organization’s Gold Award for the fourth consecutive year. 

To determine award recipients, IISE rates each student chapter using the University Chapter Activity Report (UCAR). The UCAR scoring system allows student organizations to track their progress in order to make improvements for each academic year. The UCAR also makes it so the organization’s accomplishments can be publicly recognized. 

“This year we really focused on what we can do for our members,” Brady Bobbitt, industrial engineering student and 2018-19 Penn State IISE student chapter president, said. “We wanted them [the members] to network and develop themselves professionally.”

Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are awarded based on the number of UCAR points received by student chapters. The Gold Award is the highest honor in the professional organization’s University Chapter Recognition Program.

“We went in to the year knowing that the Gold Award was won in previous years and we are always working to ensure that we are one of the best programs in the nation,” Bobbitt said. “Our mission for the year was to make new opportunities for members, but [to] still carry on the traditions of the organization.”

Some of the traditional activities planned by the chapter for Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering students include a career fair, a Six Sigma Greenbelt training, workshops with potential employers, an award banquet and a family day. Members of the student chapter also attended the IISE regional annual conference and national annual conference. Bobbitt said the group focused on bettering these activities throughout the year. 

“I have to give a lot of credit to Aaron (Meier) and Alejandro (Salaverria), our student corporate chairs,” he said. “They were able to get the career fair in at the Nittany Lion Inn for next year and also get the event registration on the Nittany Lion Careers website. This should really help with attendance because it will make the event easier to find for company recruiters.”

Bobbitt also credits the organization’s win to the creation of new events, such as Career Days 101. For Career Days 101, the students teamed up with the National Organization of Business Engineering to orchestrate an event during the Fall Career Days. The event provided students with opportunities to prepare for the career fair and interviewing process through a mentoring talk, recruiter panel, resume review, mock interview and a headshot photoshoot. 

In addition, the group organized Consulting 101, a collaborative effort with Penn State Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Society to provide students with a panel of consultants with varying backgrounds to give insights to the life of consulting.

For the 2019-20 academic year, Bobbitt hopes the organization will be able to focus on the pre-major undergraduate student population. 

“Freshmen and sophomores aren’t really looking for full-time opportunities yet,” he said. “It’s important to try and connect with them because a lot of our events center around employment and professional networking. We did create some new events to target the freshmen and sophomores for more open communication and study nights.”

The 2018-19 IISE officers include Bobbitt, president; Gabriel Di Biase, vice president; Alejandra Ayala, treasurer; Sophia Dyke, secretary; Aaron Meier, co-corporate chair; Alejandro Salaverria, co-corporate chair; Dongyoung Choi, merchandise chair; and Pawornwan Thongmak, webmaster. All of the chapter's officers graduated in 2019 with a degree in industrial engineering, except Choi.

“Overall, we covered our bases and executed everything how we planned, whether that was selling merchandise or having employers come in for resume tips,” Bobbitt said. “Everything was very well done.”

Guodong (Gordan) Pang, associate professor of industrial engineering, serves as the group’s faculty adviser.

“I am very proud of the students,” Pang said. “They worked very hard all year long and I am happy to see that they were able to accomplish what they set out to do. They were determined and it shows.”

Industrial and systems engineers make things better in any industry — from automobile manufacturing and aerospace, to health care, forestry, finance, leisure, and education. Founded in 1948, IISE helps its members improve complex organizations around the world and across industries. Throughout their careers, members turn to IISE for tools and connections that provide an integrated and systemic perspective to business challenges. Solving complex problems is the organization’s common objective. As the world's largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the profession, IISE is an international, nonprofit association that provides leadership for the application, education, training, research and development of industrial and systems engineering.

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Last Updated July 18, 2019