June 13, 2022
A Mizzou Engineering alumni group sponsored senior Reegan Spicer’s trip to Seattle last month, where she networked with industrial engineers from around the world during the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) Annual Conference.
“I thought the conference would be a great way to experience something new, and to expand my network and knowledge,” she said. “There were people from everywhere, and I was able to meet people I wasn’t expecting to meet.”
Spicer had the opportunity to attend three days of the conference after her team placed first in an undergraduate research competition within the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE). By winning the competition, the IMSE Hall of Fame provided funds to fully pay her travel expenses as part of the first-place prize package.
Spicer said she was surprised by the sheer number of different sessions available at the conference, with more than 300 scheduled sessions covering topics such as smart manufacturing processes, operations research, supply chain collaborations, data analytics in health care and intelligent transportation systems.
A session on engineering licensure – becoming a Professional Engineer – was her favorite.
“I learned what you can do as a Professional Engineer (P.E.) as part of a career path,” Spicer said. “The presenters were great and relatable, with each one talking to me afterward about my career path and the benefits of being a P.E.”
Enhancing Mizzou Engineers
In addition to Spicer, several IMSE professors, including Associate Professor Jung Hyup Kim, represented Mizzou at the conference. Going to events like this gives Kim the opportunity to present preliminary research findings and get feedback on those findings from worldwide experts. He also enjoys listening to others’ presentations, which may inspire his future research.
Kim encourages students, like Spicer, to attend conferences in their field, whether they are regional-, national- or international-level events, to enhance their transferable skills and networks.
“First, students can improve their presentation and communication skills (at conferences),” Kim said. “Secondly, they could have a chance to get to know industry professionals and other students. I believe that both are awesome benefits for engineering students to build their successful future careers.”
Beyond the conference and its activities, Spicer visited various Seattle landmarks and attractions. Going to the top of the Space Needle and having 360-degree view of the city and its surroundings was her favorite activity.
Spicer is thankful for the support from the IMSE Hall of Fame and the IMSE department, especially Dr. Kim, for this trip and experience to learn about industrial engineering career paths and the latest research and trends in the field.
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