By: Kate Gawel
In 2002, AIChE set out to better serve its young members by creating the Young Professional Advisory Board (YPAB). Its goal was to gain and maintain participation of young professional AIChE members. Almost ten years later, it continues to pursue this goal through a variety of ways led by some of AIChE's brightest and highly motivated young members. Each year, YPAB sponsors a number of events aimed at both students and young professionals at various conferences throughout the country.
Every year YPAB plans activities for the National Student Conference and Regional Student Conferences for the students as well as professional events and programs for AIChE's Annual and Spring Meetings.
For the students, YPAB runs career workshops on a variety of topics, including the benefits of AIChE after graduation, unique career opportunities available to chemical engineers in industry, and the advantages and disadvantages of going to graduate school. Events for professionals range from social outings like the Spring Meeting YP Mixer and Annual Meeting Social to technical programs that YPAB co-sponsors with AIChE's Divisions on topics ranging from environmental to professional management.
In addition to conference events, YPAB has successfully developed and piloted a mentorship program in conjuncture with AIChE's Fellows and following that success they plan to greatly expand it in the coming year. (For more information see article in the latest YP Newsletter titled "AIChE Mentorship Program: Call for Mentees"). YPAB also works with AIChE's Operating Councils and their committees to make sure that AIChE is offering programming and benefits that young professionals are seeking.
YPAB coordinates all of these activities through a dedicated group of young volunteers led by the Chair of YPAB, Robin Ng. In order to maintain consistency and a knowledge base within the group, YPAB chairs enter into a three-year commitment when elected, which includes one year as vice chair, one year as chair, and one year as past chair. In addition to the chair, vice chair, and past chair, there are a number of other volunteer positions that plan the various conference events, handle YPAB sponsored publications, assist other local Young Professional groups across the United States, and serve as a liaison to various initiatives and committees. These volunteers participate in a monthly conference call in order to coordinate their efforts. as well as meeting in person at meetings at the Annual and Spring Meetings.
One of the largest undertakings YPAB is currently working towards is transitioning from YPAB to the Young Professional Committee (YPC). This will allow them to continue to grow and pursue their goals which have grown in scope and detail over the past ten years.
These goals include:
1. To promote the well being of AIChE through programs that facilitate the professional development of young chemical engineers under the age of 35.
2. To provide a comfortable forum for the candid exchange of information, guidance, and ideas among individuals (young professionals, graduate students, and senior undergraduate students) engaged in the early stages of career development in chemical engineering.
3. To coordinate AIChE's activities with other engineering and professional societies active in the professional development of the next generation's engineers.
4. To provide leadership, assistance, and expertise as appropriate to AIChE's industrial, educational, and governmental entities in all areas as relates to the integration of young engineers into the chemical engineering profession.
While YPAB/YPC continues to grow and evolve, their purpose remains the same: to provide opportunities to young professionals, graduate students, and senior undergraduate students to stay involved with AIChE while assisting them in their professional needs and goals. If you would like to get more involved in YPAB, please contact Robin Ng and Kate Gawel here.