SME Membership Matters

I have been a member of SME for 30 years! What happened to that young mother who started back to college to pursue a degree in CAD? Her son has grown, she’s had a fulfilling career and she is still involved in SME. But let me go back to why I have been a member for 30 years. I joined SME because I was going back to school in my late 20s and knew that to succeed in college, you needed to know your classmates. Being a female in a male-dominated program didn't make things easy. Joining SME gave me the opportunity to meet other engineering students. Our student chapter participated in the National Robotics Challenge and started the first Lego Olympiad that continued for almost 25 years! (I’ve met a few former Lego Olympiad participants that now coach First Robotics teams at some level.)

After graduation, I joined the senior chapter and met many great people. I chose to be active
in the senior chapter, accepting a committee position at my first meeting as a senior member. Being active enabled me to help steer the direction of the chapter. It was important to me to help keep the chapter running and make sure the students graduating from my student chapter joined the senior chapter as well. Many thought SME was not an organization for community college graduates. Anyone that believes this does not know SME. Going on tours, listening to speakers, going to SME tradeshows and seminars were all ways of growing professionally; serving as an officer gave me a sense of pride. Our chapter strived to involve students in programs, provide scholarships and fund their participation in competitions. My enthusiasm took me to the next level, serving as a committee chair and then an officer of the former Ohio Valley Region 7. This took my professional network to the next level, meeting great people from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. I maintain contact with many of these people today. The best position I had at the regional level was serving as the student chapter liaison to 40, yes 40, active student chapters in the region. Seeing the enthusiasm of these students and their advisors were gratifying beyond belief. The competitions, presentations and socialization between the senior members and student members made our meetings the best! Given the choice of the hospitality suite or the student mixer where they were playing video games projected on the wall, I chose the mixer! Their enthusiasm sparked mine, and I’d like to think my participation in SME had a positive impact on
their careers and instilled a loyalty to the SME brand I have had over these 30 years.

Fast-forward 15 years to present day. I've served eight years on SME Member Council and am starting my fourth year on the SME Board of Directors. I miss having the opportunity to spend time with our student chapter members and am sad to see that many of their chapters have closed. Equally sad are the fewer senior members\ and chapters that were such an inspiration to me and so many others. I am heartened to see SME working harder to engage students at younger ages through PRIME schools, summer camps and student events at tradeshows. I hope there are active SME members following in my footsteps, helping to keep igniting the spark in students to pursue STEM careers. 

Late last year, 
I decided to leave my employer in Cleveland and relocate to be closer to my family. After many years of volunteering for SME, it’s time to see if my SME membership is still of value as I attempt to change my residence and career. My first contact was the local SME chapter whose roster will assist me in my networking efforts. Next, I contacted SME to obtain a list of potential employers with manufacturing operations in Columbus. I made sure my resume on Job Connections was up to date and that my membership record had my new contact information. Networking with my SME contacts across the country, I am able to get leads on jobs in this area or positions that will allow me to work from home. Yes, the resources provided by SME are still relevant at this stage of my career. This is why SME Membership Matters.

Posted by Edye Buchanan on Jan 15, 2018 4:45 PM America/New_York