Dynamic Complete Engineer Conference focuses on success-making competencies, interactive opportunities for industry

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Keynote speaker Jason Rea, Assistant Vice President of Engineering Construction at Union Pacific, talks with students at the Complete Engineer Conference.
Keynote speaker Jason Rea, Assistant Vice President of Engineering Construction at Union Pacific, talks with students at the Complete Engineer Conference.
The Complete Engineer Conference, the premier leadership development conference for collegiate engineering students in Nebraska, provided 2018 participants with opportunities to identify, learn and use non-technical skills during two days of programming, March 2-3, at Nebraska Innovation Campus. For students, it’s a great way to engage with industry and learn more about careers in engineering. For industry, it’s an opportunity to get involved with the College of Engineering by presenting workshops, sponsorships and networking with future engineers.

“I believe the presentations challenged me to think about aspects of engineering and social responsibility that I had not previously considered,” is what one attendee said about the conference, according to Jennifer Skidmore, director of student development at the College of Engineering and director of The Complete Engineer Conference.

Now in its third year, the conference was held at Nebraska Innovation Campus after two years off campus at Union Pacific headquarters in Omaha. The change in venue was to accommodate the growing interest in the conference as well as to modify the conference offerings to focus on each of the Complete Engineer competencies: engineering ethics, intercultural appreciation, leadership, self-management, service and civic responsibility, and teamwork. Ninety-eight percent of students surveyed following the conference believe they’re a more Complete Engineer as a result of the conference and 96 percent of students that attended the conference feel more confident in their non-technical abilities as a result of the conference.

“I have a better understanding of the engineering industry as a whole and I’m more excited to explore all the possibilities it affords,” said another student in the evaluation of the conference. Industry professionals from Union Pacific, LI-COR Biosciences, National Instruments, Olsson Associates, Valmont Industries, Black & Veatch, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lincoln Industries and Spreetail were instrumental in the programming, delivering presentations on professional and personal development opportunities as well as providing hands-on activities to engage conference participants.

The conference concluded on Saturday, March 3 with service projects at multiple sites throughout the Lincoln community during the day. These community enhancement projects were organized by UNL’s Center for Civic Engagement.

Next year’s Complete Engineer Conference is scheduled for March 7-8 in Omaha. There are several opportunities for industry to be involved in the 2019 conference, including presenting one or more workshops (based on a written proposal – there is no cost for this option) and conference sponsorships, which includes benefits like attending the industry mixer, logo affiliated with all conference marketing, providing branded giveaways to attendees, and participating in conference events alongside students.

For more information about The Complete Engineer Conference and how to get involved for the planning of next year’s conference, contact Jennifer Skidmore by email at jenskidmore@unl.edu.

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