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Ohio State shines at 2017 IEEE Student Activities Conference

A handful of engineering students from The Ohio State University attended an annual technical conference and came home with more than scholarly and future career experience. 

The Region 2 Student Activities Conference (SAC), hosted at Rowan University from April 7-9 in New Jersey, is designed for college students involved in their university’s Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) chapter. Each year, several colleges from the Midwest and northeast regions of the country gather at SAC to network, develop professional skills and even compete to win. 

“SAC is important because it allows students from different universities to connect, share their experiences and learn from each other,” Amber Silvaggio said, president of the Ohio State’s IEEE undergraduate chapter

This year 19 IEEE Ohio State students attended and several competed in the 10 competitive categories offered. 

Walking away with third place 3-D printed trophies in the Sumo Robot Kit competition, were Ohio State students Matt Kaplan, Hucheng Guo, Chuan Zhai, Alex Doan, Junho LimTim Heaton and Tyler Heaton. Fellow students, Meghan Booker and Mary Scherer, also returned with third place trophies as a result of the new Women In Engineering [WIE] Teach contest.

“I chose to participate in the WIE Teach competition because I think it’s very important for young girls to see women having fun and thriving in STEM fields,” Scherer said, a fourth year in electrical and computer engineering [ECE]. “I hope to have inspired the next generation of problem solvers.” 

Booker, a third year in ECE, said they became “middle school teachers” in the competition, explaining to adolescent girls how to create basic and physical circuits, simplify Boolean expressions and when to use DeMorgan’s law. They even covered the advanced topic of MOSFETS (metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors). 

“We worked hard to teach the complex concepts to the young girls,” Booker said. “And we also tried to think outside the box. At one point, we were doing jumping jacks.” 

With Scherer graduating in May, the conference was bittersweet knowing it was her last time attending. With graduation further off, Booker is excited to return next year and hopefully encourage more young girls to study in STEM programs. 

“Since I will be back next year, I hope to participate in the competition again and maybe place higher,” Booker said.

Scherer and Booker said they were very excited and proud that they could make a difference and walk away with wins.

“When our names were called as the third-place winners at the awards banquet… I felt so proud of our girls,” Scherer said. “The real challenge of this competition was on the students who, for three straight hours, went from new lesson, to test, to new lesson.” 

The 3-D printed trophies will be on display in the bridge between Dreese Laboratories and Caldwell Laboratory. Scherer said she is excited to share their accomplishments. 

“(It’s) a reminder of our responsibility to share our knowledge with others,” Scherer said, “and of Ohio State's excellence in all aspects of engineering.”

Story by ECE Student PR Writer, Lydia Freudenberg

Photos by: IEEE Undergraduate faculty advisor, Paul Berger