ECE Multiplies Student Opportunities

in ECE Spotlight Student, NEWS, Spotlight STEM (Outreach & Diversity)

ECE offering sponsorships for women in STEM and clubs like NSBE

By Gabriella McNevin

Boston University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) empowers students by offering support to those interested in extracurricular professional opportunities. Within the last year, the department acted as sponsor for multiple student clubs, conferences and a hackathon.

Most recently, the department became a sponsor of the BU Chapter of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The NSBE is a student-organized club working to increase the presence of African Americans and Black people in engineering. The funds support NSBE outreach events and bi-weekly meetings that involve interview prep, workshops, and discussions about culture and technological issues.

A snapshot of NSBE members at the club's bi-weekly meeting, hosted at the Photonics Center.
A snapshot of NSBE members at the club’s bi-weekly meeting, hosted at the Photonics Center.

In the latter half of 2017, ECE awarded twelve sponsorships for female students to attend conferences aimed at encouraging young women in STEM. Six ECE students attended the 2nd annual Women of Light Symposium (WLS). WLS takes place in Washington DC and gathers women in leadership ranks from industry, government and academia. For BU ECE’s aspiring female students, the event served as an opportunity to connect with internationally renowned leaders and get career advice.

Six students attended the Grace Hopper Celebration, which is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Now, ECE student Katherine Elkind (MS ECE ’17) encourages her peers to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration too. “I expected to meet with a lot of companies to have preliminary interviews” recalled Elkind. “My expectations were exceeded given the rate at which companies were interviewing, extending offers and arranging on-site interviews.”

The Director of the BU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Karen Hennessey says, “it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to encourage young engineers, especially women, to support their growth and prepare them for a fulfilling career.”

Also within the last year, ECE has increased participation with local hackathons by serving as a Mega Sponsor for SheHacks Boston 2017. SheHacks is a hackathon organized by female students at Boston University and other local institutions. Since 2015, ECE has contributed to at least two hackathons per year.

Pictured from left to right: Eugenia Almandoz (ECE '18) and Laura Salinas (ECE '18) at the Grace Hopper Celebration.
Pictured from left to right: Eugenia Almandoz (ECE ’18) and Laura Salinas (ECE ’18) at the Grace Hopper Celebration.