Upholding the high standard the group set the previous year, the University of Houston's Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers has earned the Gold Chapter Award for the 2022-23 academic year.
The president for the preceding academic year was Diane Nguyen, who is now a senior industrial engineering student at the Cullen College of Engineering. She said that when notified of the award, she was “extremely proud” of her fellow UH IISE officers that made it possible.
“This was something we had worked toward for an entire year,” she said. “We were able to see our chapter's missions and goals be recognized, and I also felt a lot of excitement for the future. It seems like our organization from last year, we're continuing to get the gold award year after year. I'm excited to see how we can go and the impact we can make in the future.”
Nguyen said that like many aspects of life, the group's operations were severely effected by the pandemic. The focus since 2020 has been on rebuilding connectivity between students, and between the group and others on campus.
“Transitioning from a COVID environment, we wanted to get more community engagement and connect with our peers,” she said, adding that they asked members for a list of events they wanted to participate in.
“We had a lot of team building events that allowed the officers to get comfortable with one another. To make sure we stayed on track, we did a lot of future planning, to make sure it worked with our schedule and our peers' schedules and classes. We tried to improve our documentation, so that the department can keep track of our projects and activities, and to make sure that we're successful for the upcoming years of IISE.”
Nguyen noted that the majority of officers for 2022-23 were women. As a result, they partnered with the UH Society of Women Engineers for an event, which features major companies like Dell, HP, Williams, TechnipFMC and others. The group also took manufacturing tours at Powell and TechnipFMC, and hosted guest speakers from National Oilwell Varco, SLB (Schlumberger Limited), Cisco and Williams.
Nguyen cited these speakers and tours, as well as one-on-one resume cafes and mock interviews, as important part of what UH IISE offered members. This was also the first year that the group was able to host Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification in person at the UH campus.
“Many of our members happen to first generation, so it's important to show them that this can be a work environment you can be involved in,” she said. “Our members were in a better position to land those internships.”
This summer, Nguyen had an internship with Boeing, and the previous summer she interned for Schlumberger, which she attributed partly to her IISE membership.
“Its helped me a lot connecting with peers, both alumni and current students,” she said. “I've gotten a lot of mentorship through it, with the help of Poria Dorali, Sofia Martin, Emi Diaz and Elizabeth Richardson. I would not be where I am today without them. They've provided so much guidance to me as a first gen student.”
The officers for 2022-23 were Nguyen (president), Richardson (vice president), Eunice Alvarenga (treasurer), Erah Noor (operations coordinator), Amy Melendez (secretary), Sharon Moonsammy (activities coordinator), Arsalaan Siddiqi (membership coordinator) and Dulce Zamora (marketing coordinator). Yaping Wang, instructional associate professor in the Industrial Engineering Department, served as faculty advisor.
"This Gold Award is a testament to the unwavering dedication, hard work and passion demonstrated by all student officers of 2022-2023 UH IISE chapter, especially our previous president, Diane Nguyen, and vice president, Elizabeth Richardson," Wang said. "The chapter's collective commitment to excellence and serving our students and local community in the field of Industrial & Systems Engineering is truly commendable. It was a great pleasure to supervise those outstanding student officers."
Officers for 2023-24 are Abdulrahman Aljahmi (president), Neev Dash (vice president), Ruben Romo (treasurer), Roy Castillo (operations coordinator), Anthony Ung (secretary), Paul Kunchandy (activities coordinator), Collin Sellers (membership coordinator), Leah Jobby (marketing coordinator) and Mireille Murphy (marketing coordinator).
"Our goals for the upcoming year are straightforward - to unite IE students into a strong, supportive team with a single mission – growth," Aljahmi said. "We're committed to empowering each other, fostering connections with industry partners and securing another Gold award for the 2023-2024 academic year, to proudly represent UH. In essence, it's about students coming together, growing together, and excelling in industrial and systems engineering. It's all about unity and progress."
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