Category Archives: Outreach

R6 Northwest Area: “We’re the ones that do the magic.” – Seattle on April 26

Last weekend brought me to Seattle.  The voice of the northwest area: students, students, students.  Most of the candidate questions focused on how to draw students in to the transition from student member to member and how to draw pre-college students into the pipeline.

There’s no lack of interest in students – and truly no lack of member volunteers willing to work with students. There have been hackathons and app competitions that have been very effective and shown tremendous new vitality.  Programs that successfully combine hardware and design — a necessary element for electrical and computer projects – have lagged, though, and gotten stale.  One of the IEEE leaders at the meeting explained it very well –” we’re the ones that do the magic.” Outreach activities have been a commendable focus of effort but the quantity and quality of electrical and computer related activities is an area that needs more development. Civil engineering outreach has the popsicle-stick bridges – no magic, but great for a 1-hour hands-on outreach experience, down to pre-middle-school. Anyone have a magic bridge bridge to share?

Two other topics from this meeting I am saving for later posts: electronic communication and a distinguished lecture on “The Cloud Meets the Bluetooth Smart”.

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect

R6 Central Area Meeting: Focusing on Students – Berkeley on April 19

My big challenge was getting to this meeting after unexpected construction impeded getting through LAX the night before pushing me into a Saturday arrival at UC Berkeley for the Central Area meeting.  This meeting had by far the most students of any of the meetings so far.  The host student branch, UC Berkeley can boast 50 officers and an effective division of efforts into different types of activities.   The meeting also included a design competition — the only area meeting I have attended so far that did — and I was able to participate as a judge.  Kudos to Mostafa Mortezaie for his leadership in organizing the meeting and his work to ensure a fair competition that recognized and encouraged the design achievements of the students.

Ramesh and I were happy to be present together for the candidate presentations.  I was expecting the students to be at the soon-to-be-held micro mouse competition, but I would say that the students were often the focus of the session. One question was from a smaller student branch that lacks the wealth of surrounding industry, asking about how they could get more industry interaction.  Another student asked about leadership training and how to help student branches avoid the struggles they had experienced due to having to start fresh with a full slate of new officers.  These questions dovetailed well with the discussion earlier in the day when the student branches each gave their reports.  It was interesting also  that earlier in the day students were asked whether it would be bette for them to meet on the web, avoiding the travel, and not one student present expressed agreement with this idea, seeing the web as an option only for follow up.  The area meetings are intended to and do help students with issues like leadership training, but the lessons to be learned from the successful programs of individual branches often are not gathered in a form that would best help showcase them and motivate imitations that would spread the IEEE success.

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect


Expanding Your Horizons – March 1

The first Saturday in March brought over 300 girls ages 11-14 for a day of hands on science and engineering.  Co-chairs Liz Ferguson and Dr. Sue Lowery led a very successful event.   I am involved in the organization of this annually and provided support for the parallel program we hold for parents that helps them become aware of the opportunities for their daughters and how to best support them into college.  While the event is held at the University of San Diego, it’s truly a county-wide activity supported by a broad cross-section of STEM.  I was pleased to meet up with my SHPE friends to make (secret for now) plans.