Students connect with future at Complete Engineer Conference

Students connect with future at Complete Engineer Conference

Calendar Icon Mar 05, 2018      Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel     RSS Feed RSS

Engineering students took part in community service projects on Saturday, March 3 as part of the Complete Engineer Conference.
Engineering students took part in community service projects on Saturday, March 3 as part of the Complete Engineer Conference.

More than 80 engineering students came to Nebraska Innovation Campus on March 2-3 to take part in the 2018 Complete Engineer Conference, the premier leadership conference for the College of Engeineering’s students.

The turnout for the two-day conference at Nebraska Innovation Campus was the largest in the three-year history of the event and included students from every major in the College of Engineering.

Participants were provided opportunities to identify, use and leverage non-technical skills sought by engineering employers, regardless of discipline. The participants focused on the college-identified six Complete Engineer competencies – intercultural appreciation, leadership, teamwork, self-management, service and civic responsibility and understanding of engineering ethics. 

Professional and personal development workshops were delivered by industry professionals,  including Jason Rea, assistant vice president of engineering construction at Union Pacific; Doc Chaves, director of corporate communications at LI-COR Biosciences, and a pair of alumni -- Andres Torres, a College of Engineering alumnus and business director Latin America & Caribbean at Valmont Industries, Inc.; and Dan Rubin, senior director systems engineering at Union Pacific.

The participants also leveraged The Complete Engineer competencies through hands-on activities led by representatives of industry partners, networking opportunities with multiple employers, and building their resumes with meaningful experience.

"I enjoyed participating in the Complete Engineer conference because too often people take the soft skills for granted, and they tend to overestimate who they are," said Beth Balerud, a senior in Mechanical Engineering. 

"The conference helped me understand what I can do to continue to grow as both a person and an engineer. Each of the workshops I attended were hosted by industry professionals who knew exactly how to get their points across to the group. The civil service projects that we did also helped all of us to understand that what we do will also affect the communities we live in."

Nebraska's Center for Civic Engagement heped to deliver the service experience by coordinating five service projects for the participants:

  • Cleaning up brush and clearing a space for a new turkey vulture habitat at the Pioneers Park Nature Center
  • Picking up litter and making public spaces beautiful across Lincoln through Keep Lincoln and Lancaster County Beautiful
  • Sorting donations at the People’s City Mission
  • Serving food to residents at Tabitha Health Care Services
  • Helping the Center for People in Need with its Spring Take-Away Day.

In addition to the students participating, another 14 engineering students, including some who attended past conferences, returned this year as volunteers. 

“Students really gained a lot of useful knowledge to be used in their future careers, and having employers from various backgrounds at the conference allowed students to gain insight into how real-world engineers function on an everyday basis,” said volunteer Logan Tuel, a junior in mechanical engineering, who attended the 2017 conference. 

“I have seen the continuous improvement from year to year. I am looking forward to attending next year's Complete Engineer Conference.”