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Drexel’s Society of Asian Engineers and Scientists represented at national conference | The Triangle
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Drexel’s Society of Asian Engineers and Scientists represented at national conference

Photo Credit Yi Huan Yang

On Feb. 3, the Drexel University chapter of the Society of Asian Engineers and Scientists attended SASE’s national Northeast Regional Conference alongside chapters from Virginia Tech, Stevens Institute of Technology, Binghamton University and other schools. 

“NERC was an awesome experience; everyone was so friendly and down to earth, and [it] taught me so much; everyone who attended with me agrees” said Yi Huan Yang, a second-year UX design major and the Drexel SASE Chapter Cultural Director. 

The conference had a career fair, keynote speech and 12 workshops throughout its runtime from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

“The planning team does a really good job at making sure there is stuff for people across majors, [and] it’s really fun for everyone to be together,” said Liz Fujita, SASE National’s director of collegiate events.  

Amy Yip, a career development coach and author, gave the keynote speech, sharing a powerful story of what it means to redefine success.

“We were fortunate to have [Amy], who regularly works with our SASE professional committee, come in and speak to our students to offer some wisdom from her professional experience,” said Matt Diaz, SASE National’s collegiate program manager.

The workshops tapped into many under-explored concepts of being an Asian American in the workforce. 

According to Kiki Lin, a fourth-year computer science major and the Drexel SASE chapter president, “This year’s NERC workshops and panels were really insightful, touching on topics like personal finance and post-grad life.”

These lessons were primarily led by volunteer SASE alums who offered their perspective on a real-life professional career.

Diaz added, “Those who are peers can definitely help you get through whatever you are going through, and those who you can look up to can also be examples of how to overcome certain obstacles and what it might look like to achieve and help shorten that learning curve because they have already been through it.”

Aside from ensuring there were still plenty of concepts to explore among SASE members, the planning committee had to pull out all the stops to secure enough funding to host such a function. 

“We usually get sponsors from alumni connections, you know, companies they work at, is one, they can [also] get like people who work for Asian Employee Resource Groups, and previous companies they’ve worked at,” said Alexander Lap, a second-year computer science major at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a NERC sponsorship committee member.

This conference was made possible by the mission SASE National has as part of its three pillars/core beliefs: to provide Asian American college students ways to build a community, give back to other communities by volunteering and receive professional development opportunities.

“To me, it’s personally rewarding if I can change the trajectory [of] young future leaders, [get them] to come together, feel like they’re valuable, encourage them, [and] give them the resources to really live up to their full potential, that gives me meaning in my life and that makes a difference in their lives,” said Khanh Vu, CEO and Executive Director of SASE National. “The organization of SASE is really trying to fulfill people’s full potential and leadership [possibilities] and give them opportunities they may not have or learn about.”

The Society of Asian Engineers and Scientists Northeast Regional Conference is a tight-knit event with rich career opportunities and learning experiences waiting to be explored. 

“As someone who helped in planning this event and bringing everyone to Virginia for this conference, I loved hearing that our general body members really enjoyed this conference and left with new knowledge,” said Lin.

This article is part of a column dedicated to supporting underrepresented Asian student organizations on Drexel University’s campus.