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MEP Connections December 2014
Alumni Spotlight

Adrianne Wheeler is an Illinois and MEP alumnus from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and also has a Master's in City Planning from UC-Berkeley. Adrianne has been very active in the MEP community, having contributed to the planning of several S.O.S. Retreats. Currently, she serves as a Program Coordinator for Project SYNCERE, which aims to increase the number of females, minorities, and under-served students pursuing STEM careers through project-based learning.

During her undergraduate career, Adrianne not only had the opportunity to network and grow herself as a leader, but she stated that the MEP community also taught her the value of being active. She continues to remain active because "There is always something to give and receive. At each level of your professional life, you're going to need someone to seek out advice from. Likewise, as a student progresses through school, s/he may need advice from Alum at various levels of their professional careers."

Adrianne touched on a really important aspect of alumni involvement, which is getting advice from those who have already gone through what the students have experienced. When the MEP asked her what advice she had for current students, Adrianne responded "Make friends/study buddies with people who do not look like you, study abroad, and talk to your professors." Thanks for all of your support Adrianne!

Student Spotlight

This month, the MEP would like to honor an outstanding freshmen who has a head start in on-campus leadership and engineering internship experience. We are proud to honor Karla Rivero.

Karla is a mechanical engineering student and current President of SHPE's Freshman Round Table. Originally from Juarez, Mexico, Karla lived in St. Charles, IL prior to attending the University. Karla is also a member of the Formula Electric Drivetrain team and the Society of Women Engineers.

The Illinois experience has been rewarding for Karla, especially the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. Regarding freshman involvement, Karla had the following to say: "Starting on Quad Day, I felt like every organization wanted me to be part of it. Within RSOs...freshman are encouraged to take on leadership positions."

Hard work certainly pays off, and Karla is a great example of this. Starting in December, she will be an Engineering Practicum with Caterpillar. She offered some words of wisdom to her fellow peers who are looking to get involved. "Just go for it. Opportunities won't come to you; you have to be active and willing to take on responsibility if you want to stand out...Just because we're freshmen doesn't mean we cannot contribute to a club."

S.O.S. Retreat

This year, the MEP was privileged to have the following alumni plan the SOS Retreat:

Welu Aningo (BSME)

Craig Griffin (BSCompE)

Reggie Haith (BSGE)

Ayaba McNeal (BSBioE)

Rick Rivera (BSGE)

Balmes Tejeda (BSME)

Adrianne Wheeler (BSCEE)

Students who attended engaged in resume building, team building, and interview prep. With numerous attendees, the Retreat was a great time for students and alumni alike. Here is what the students had to say:

"I could really tell that the alumni had our best interests at heart. I found [soft skills workshops] to be very helpful because my technical skills tend to outweigh my skills with conversing...The most important thing I took away from the retreat was how to create a resume that stands out to a recruiter...I feel much more confiident that my updated resume will land me an interview." - Eli Jenkins, EE '17

"The most memorable and helpful thing for me was when I got to do a mock interview. It was very nerve racking, but I felt like it really helped me, and now I'll have a better idea of what to expect when I go and apply for a job." - Brandon Powers, CompE '18

High School Visitation: Fall 2014

Our students go to amazing lengths to share their college experiences with prospective students. This Fall, both NSBE and SHPE hosted students for their High School Visitations, where students stay on campus for a weekend and engage in educational and motivational workshops. There has been a strong history of successful engineering students having attended the HSVs themselves.

Kyra Grant, Pre-College Initiative Chair for NSBE, planned the organization's HSV this semester, and introduced a lot of new initiatives. One such initiative was to allow the students to interact with Dr. Jerrod Henderson (PhD CHBE), an African-American faculty member of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and an MEP alum.

Francisco Garcia, High School Outreach Chair for SHPE, organized an HSV as well. A recent development from his committee is a new shadow program, which will allow Hispanic students to connect to UIUC students of any major.

Kyra and Francisco will be planning High School Visitations for the Spring Semester as well. Be on the lookout for the next generation of engineers!

Student Society Newsletters

Did you know that the student organizations within MEP send out their own newsletters? If you'd like to reconnect to the groups you were once part of, please fill out the information here: