MU’s IEEE student chapter caps ‘outstanding’ year with award
Out of the more than 230 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) chapters at colleges and universities worldwide, the University of Missouri chapter was one of just 22 to earn an Outstanding Chapter Award for the 2014-15 academic year.
HKN is a storied academic honor society within electrical engineering that merged with IEEE in 2010. Outstanding Chapter Awards are given “in recognition of excellence in their chapter administration and programs,” including an emphasis on service to the university and the community.
Service includes tutoring, peer mentorship programs, career fairs, hosting talks with prominent members in the field, test preparation, primary and secondary education outreach programs, youth clubs and more. To join, members must be among the top 25 percent of electrical engineering juniors or top 33 percent of seniors.
“It’s mainly based around the annual chapter report, which logs person hours — the number of people who come to an event or outreach for the number of hours you do it,” former MU IEEE-HKN president Barrett Lamb said. Lamb was president during the 2014-15 academic year for which MU was recognized.
The group partnered with the National Society of Black Engineers chapter on events promoting engineering at local high schools, with Battle High School as last year’s focus. Chapter leaders participated in the student leadership conference in California, the Hack Illinois competition, a barbecue meet-and-greet and held a paper competition, among other events.
Perhaps the biggest reason for MU’s selection as a top chapter was the growth in membership. Lamb said the organization had been down to as few as eight people before 2014, which severely hampered its ability to provide service to the campus and Columbia community. A more hands-on, personal recruiting touch helped the organization grow to more than 50 members by the end of the 2015 academic year.
“A lot of it just had to do with talking on a personal level,” Lamb said. “We tried to get the department as involved as possible to make it a little more official. [Inductees] got a printed out letter signed by our adviser [Professor Robert O’Connell] and me and picked it up from the adviser’s office, so it was more of a congratulatory thing.”