What is SIOC?

By: Christine Patton

AIChE is organized into three operating councils that manage many of the activities of AIChE. The Societal Impact Operating Council (SIOC) is the one of these and has primary responsibility for the way the Institute relates to the world beyond AIChE. The entities that report to SIOC include:

  • Minority Affairs Committee (MAC)
  • Women's Initiatives Committee (WIC)
  • K-12 Outreach Committee
  • Global Outreach Committee
  • Speakers Corner
  • External Awards Committee

WIC and MAC are both very active committees that promote the visibility of their constituents within AIChE and work to maintain the pipeline of engineers coming in. They also stem the flow of minority and female engineers leaving chemical engineering early. They do this through technical and social programming at the Annual and Spring meetings, funding scholarships for university students, and providing networking and support opportunities throughout the year.

The K-12 outreach committee is primarily a coalition of people that are involved in K-12 outreach in their communities. The committee's goal is to share best practices within that group and to assist engineers that would like to be involved with these educational activities. The website http://k-12.aiche.org/ is a resource for those looking for ideas or a place to share activities and events. The K-12 outreach committee and MAC always include an urban outreach event at the Annual and Spring meetings. These opportunities give us a chance to make an impact on the cities we visit and give the engineer participants an opportunity to share with each other.

The Global Outreach committee is being re-organized for 2012. We have a history of supporting Engineers Without Borders student chapters through a grant program that provides $5,000 to two chapters per year that have chemical engineering projects. Recipients also receive financial support to attend the annual student meeting to present their work. These sessions have been packed each year! The Books for Sustainability program matches used textbooks with engineering programs in the developing world. We hope to partner with EWB and other globe-trotting engineers to reduce the shipping costs and expand this program. An additional goal for 2012 is to create a community of interest of those who are involved in global activities or would like to become involved. Look for social events at the 2012 meetings!

Speakers Corner is a wonderful resource for local sections or other engineering groups that are looking for quality speakers. Funding is available to help support bringing these outstanding communicators to your meetings. This group is also looking for new ideas for speakers. If you would like to recommend a potential speaker, please contact a SIOC member.

The External Awards committee seeks nominees and coordinates writing the nomination packets for prestigious national awards such as those offered by the National Academy of Engineers. They also want to track the careers of future leaders and innovators in the industry to help groom them to be future winners.

If you would like to become a part of any of these activities, please contact christi-luks@utulsa.edu or any member of SIOC. We are always looking for new ways that we can make a difference.