For Jessica Tobelmann and Adam Weaver, the countdown is on. They are general co-chairs of Engineers’ Week 2009, a celebration of engineering, which officially begins September 14. For the past year, they have overseen the efforts of five subcommittees and more than 50 committee members as activities, centered on the theme Rising Together We Can…, have transitioned from drawing board to reality. Major events include Senior Visitation Day, campus lunches, golf tournaments, career seminars, intramurals, charity ball, presentation—Failure is not an option—by Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise, and culminating with the Career Fair on September 22.
The students selected the theme because of the current economic situation, according to Weaver. “We felt a lot of companies and people are struggling,” he explains. “We believe that by building unity and working together, we can overcome many different problems.”
Specific E-Week goals are to inspire future engineers, connect past and present Iowa State engineers, communicate and diversify to build on success, and prepare students for the future while providing them opportunities to develop professionalism. Some areas of emphasis include making all students aware of the value of networking and visiting with many different company representatives at the Career Fair, and reaching out to international students to help them get involved in all of the E-Week activities.
The keys to a successful E-Week, Tobelmann and Weaver say, are leadership—getting people to work together as a team towards a common goal—and communication between team members, subcommittees, and the co-chairs. “We have students from freshmen to seniors on five subcommittees,” Tobelmann notes. “Teaching leadership skills to students at various levels is challenging, but we have a great executive committee, and everyone has been willing to learn and work hard.”
Both co-chairs say skills they have developed in internships and campus activities prepared them well for their E-Week responsibilities.
Tobelmann, a senior in chemical engineering from Plymouth, Minnesota, arrived at Iowa State in 2006 as an Engineering Leadership Program (ELP) scholar. This year, she is helping coordinate ELP activities as an associate director. ELP, she says, helped her build her leadership skills and gave her the confidence to be a leader on campus. She has been involved in a variety of college and university committees including Women in Science and Engineering, Society of Women Engineers, Veishea, and Homecoming. She has also had two internships with General Mills.
Weaver, from Williamsburg, Iowa, is a senior in civil engineering and has a minor in entrepreneurship studies. He says internships have played a major role in his professional growth. “I’ve had six internships with four different companies,” he says, “and I believe the real-world knowledge gained from these experiences is invaluable.” Weaver is also vice president of the Sales Engineering Club and an active member in the American Society of Civil Engineers.
When asked what it takes to successfully co-chair E-Week, Weaver and Tobelmann agree it is dedication to making a difference. “I’m doing it because I don’t want to leave Iowa State just to be another engineer,” says Weaver. “I want to leave here knowing I’ve done something to help other students.” Tobelmann adds, “I’ve worked on E-Week since my freshman year, and I am passionate about wanting to see it succeed and continue into the future.”
For a complete calendar of events, visit E-Week 2009.