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Why Become a Participant of the IEEE Systems Council?


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Qusai: I like that. That's really-- I always call for engineers to join the IEEE, and there was always challenge. What's your message for those people why to join the IEEE? You been [unintelligible 00:23:45] for a long time.

Bob: IEEE is a good home for engineers because of the networking capability that exists to meet others involved in your field to easily learn about activities such as system engineering that will benefit you as an individual and your company who employs you. It helps you understand organizational methodologies if you get involved in a conference, for example. It helps you in your pursuit of perfection for yourself because you're able to see things in others that you would like to be able to do, so you tend to learn about them.

It's a place where you can learn about new activities, mainly in your field. You will be surprised at how many things you will learn about, say, radar design. If you interact with others on a radar committee, you'll find another engineer who has explored a concept that you were thinking about and he has success. You say, "Oh my gosh, it works." You will learn new technical things. You will meet people involved in your field that will help you further your career. You will have more activities to pursue that give more meaning to your work.

You will have an opportunity to publish your work in journals or magazines and get recognition for your accomplishments. The awards program that IEEE has is pretty extensive, so if you are good at your job and you've done some interesting things, then you might be rewarded for that with one of our publication awards or an achievement award or things of that nature. IEEE offers quite a bit to an engineer. Quite a bit.

Qusai: Even if you are a student, even if you are still in college, it's very helpful. It's always very helpful.

Bob: It's unfortunate that our student engineers who do join IEEE, only about 20% to 25% of them progress into full membership, even though we have a graduated program. Those are the ones who realized the benefit of IEEE when they were a student. I'm a member of the GUOS committee, the Geographic Unit Operational Support Committee. One of the things that I've been trying to push is to get greater emphasis on our student members.

Our student members are 25% of IEEE members, as it turns out, or even more than in some societies, and providing a bit more focus to those student members will benefit engineering as a whole and those students specifically. We need to try to do more for our student members.

Qusai: How can we do that, Bob? What do you think?

Bob: I'm sorry, sir. What the--?

Qusai: How can we do that? How we emphasize, how we can talk to the universities, how we can do that?

Bob: Well, for me, student members join mainly because there's a student branch chapter at a university. Worldwide, we have about 3,000 student branches of IEEE, which is pretty good. We only have 343 sections, but we have multiple universities in every section. The student branch chapters and student branches are the opportunity for students to become engaged and involved. We need to get more IEEE members involved in mentoring for these student branches and student branch chapters is what we need to do.

We need to work more with the universities to let them promote the benefits of IEEE membership and get our senior and fellow members to be active in those student branches and student branch chapters. Mentoring of students is tremendous. Letting them know how to apply for jobs and letting them know how to better network would greatly aid students today. They need to feel that they've joined a profession, engineering that will give them a lifetime career, and having people who are in that lifetime career as mentors or helpers would go a long way, I think. That's what we need to do more of.


Written by Qusi Alqarqaz, IEEE Systems Council History Column Editor, Writer