Our BYU chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, the IEEE honor society for electrical engineering students, has big plans for this semester despite roadblocks from a pesky pandemic. The chapter has been striving to build a sense of community within the department between students and professors, and it has more ideas on the horizon for furthering the chapter’s goals.
The chapter nominates the top 25% of BYU’s electrical and computer engineering students to join, and chapter president Ethan Angerbauer said its primary goal is to give its members an advantage as they apply for graduate schools or industry jobs. Other goals include fostering a sense of community within the department and doing outreach activities to draw in others who may be excited about engineering.
Last semester, Angerbauer said the chapter focused on two objectives: bringing the department together with a virtual Christmas party and starting a department Instagram.
The Christmas party gathered students and professors from all levels of experience within the department - a contrast from previous years, which opened only to junior core students. A virtual talent show was the highlight of the party. The chapter spent the weeks leading up to the party compiling videos of our students showing off skills from beatboxing to figure skating, and the final product premiered at the party. They also put together a Kahoot with professor trivia.
The Electrical and Computer Engineering department staff independently proposed the idea of an Instagram account around the same time the chapter did, and they launched it on Oct. 14. Although the department runs the account, the chapter has been working on creating professor highlights to feature on it. Angerbauer said highlights will include information on the professors’ projects, classes, and available research opportunities.
This semester, the chapter intends to build a sense of community even more. In addition to highlighting professors on Instagram, they want to host virtual project nights for students. Angerbauer offered an “Arduino night” as an example, in which the chapter will provide a kit with all of the necessary materials, and somebody will demonstrate over Zoom how to code and use an Arduino.
The chapter values student input and intends to send out a survey to the department’s students soon; it will solicit their thoughts on how to make the department a better community. Students are encouraged to participate.
The chapter leadership for the 2020-2021 school year is as follows: Ethan Angerbauer as president, Davin Fish as vice president, Kayla Lyman as corresponding secretary, Darren Rowe as recording secretary, and Jordi Chen as treasurer. The society will vote on the 2021-2022 presidency in April.