National Conference 2017 turned out to be a huge success for UNT as we won three awards, including one for the Collegiate Silver SWE Mission Award. 9 members went to conference including many of our officers as well as some first timers. Although they highlighted the best moments of conference, even now they are reflecting on the amazing opportunity conference is for all. Read more to find out!
SWE: How many times have you been and in what ways was WE17 different than the previous times you have gone?
Sammy Zellner (Senior, MTSE): This is my 3rd SWE conference. This year was different than previous years because it was closer to home than the other conferences (Austin, TX vs Philadelphia and Nashville). This year also had more sessions that pertained to topics for millennials (how to stand our in the workplace when you are the youngest there, etc.)
Oluwasubomi "Suby" Adenuga (Sophmore, MEEN): It was my first time attending conference. I really enjoyed the conference, although I didn't stay with SWE I had a lot of fun and got time to experience Austin. Before the conference I was just there I wasn't too excited because I didn't know what to expect but afterwards I was for sure happy I went.
Laura Mello (Senior, MTSE): This was my second time attending conference, I also went to WE16. This year there were more attendees than last year, but it felt less overwhelmingly packed, probably because I was ready for it this year.
SWE: Can you tell us a bit about how WE17 works-what’s the schedule ?
Zellner: Each day, there are TONS of professional development workshops, networking opportunities at the career fair, networking luncheons, and other events throughout the conference. I also had the opportunity to attend the Celebrate SWE awards banquet on Saturday night as well.
Adenuga: You get up a little early in the morning say about 7am and get ready to arrive at Austin Conventional Center by like 8:30am. Afterwards, you register at the front desk and then you explore the convention center to familiarize yourself with the [lace. Then afterwards you search for where the seminars you paid for are located and you wait patiently outside for them to start. Now at this point its about 2pm, You then get ready for the career fair by brushing your hair, taking a quick freshener like mint and correcting your appearance in the mirror before walking in. You meet with companies, hand them your resume and follow up with them. It is getting a little late (9pm) then you head on the bus and go back to the hotel and relax for the next day of events.
Mello: A typical day at conference starts with breakfast out someplace or at the hotel, followed by plenary sessions you've chosen, followed by the career fair, followed by more food. Although usually your plans change once you get there because some sessions fill up, or you run into old connections and end up spending time catching up!
SWE: What's was your most memorable moment from Conference?
Zellner: Receiving 3 awards for UNT SWE - 1 regional award for Outstanding Innovative Existing Program (for the Brain STEMs Program), and 2 National awards (SWE Mission Award Silver - Collegiate and SWE Best Practice Award-Communication).
Adenuga: Getting an interview from Toyota was by far my most memorable moment.
Mello: The most memorable moments of conference happen outside of conference with the people you meet or get to know better. Mine for this year was at a local eatery/bar that served DIY s'mores at your table. So they brought out a little fire and smores supplies, and my friends and I made smores together!
SWE: Lastly, what advice would you give those who are considering going in the future?
Zellner: If you are on the fence about whether you want to attend conference, I encourage you to definitely go! There is nothing else like conference, and the benefits of attending outweigh the cost of it.
Adenuga: If you go, definitely come prepared and apply online for EACH and EVERY company because most recruiters asked that question, on one occasion one even refused to talk to me till I applied online. Applying online builds a base for the recruiters and interviews to build upon. Also bring business cards.
Mello: Buy comfortable, quality flats. It should be an investment, you will use these forever. I like Cobb Hill because they're made by New Balance, so they're basically formal and cute with the comfort of tennis shoes. Also, overbook yourself on sessions so you have backup plans, and make sure to bring your resume on a USB just in case you run out (which is rare, but could happen).