Local Sections & Your Student Chapter

Posted by Anna Wagner on

With dozens of sections in multiple countries, AIChE Local Sections can be a valuable resource for any of AIChE's Student Chapters. However, if your Student Chapter isn't already engaged in activities with a Local Section, you might be unfamiliar with them and what they do. Mary Lynch, Local Sections Committee Chair, answers a few of the most common questions regarding Local Sections and your Student Chapter.

What are Local Sections?

Local AIChE Sections are self-governing non-profit organizations that serve the AIChE members living or working in a defined geographical region.  They provide both social and educational benefits to their members.  They all have similar charters, but are individually chartered in their respective states or countries.  They hold regular meetings and events. The events include seminars, conferences, courses, and social activities.  Most have websites where you can learn about their activities.  All welcome ChE students at their events.

What can my Student Chapter and a Local Section do together?

There are many answers to this question and they depend on the resources available in your region.  Here are some examples of things local sections and student chapters have done together in recent years.

  • Participate in the AIChE YP Beer Brewing contest
  • Co-host a meeting with a dinner speaker that is of joint interest to both groups
  • Co-host a resume building workshop or an interview practice event
  • Jointly do a plant tour
  • Jointly do a social/networking event
  • Judge poster sessions that the student groups host
  • Invite section members to give a presentation at a student event or to participate in a panel discussion
  • Jointly host an event that is easier to arrange on a college campus than anywhere else.  Examples include screening a relevant movie, screening a technical webinar, doing a workshop on using Knovel or another piece of scientific software, hosting a study group preparing for the P.E. exam, or hosting a softball or basketball game

I think a lot of times, students do not realize that they have advantages as a student group that officers in local sections are jealous of.  Student groups can usually reserve rooms on campus for no fee or a very low fee that the local section would be willing to reimburse you for.

Why should my Student Chapter reach out to our Local Section?

While you are an active student, you have an abundance of resources on campus for advice on career development, so you may not have thought about where you will turn for advice once you graduate.  If you haven’t cultivated some friendships within the CHE professions, you may find yourself without knowledgeable contacts to consult once you leave school.  You also may be receiving advice while you are in school that is narrow in scope and too similar to the advice all the other students are receiving.  It is very possible that by meeting the members of the local section, you will hear about career choices that you would otherwise never have heard of.  It is always good to broaden your exposure.  It can also be comforting to hear from working engineers that they find their work easier than they feared they would when they were students, or that they remember being stressed-out when they were juniors in college and found that it gets better.  You can ask them what their strategies were for coping with stress and time pressures, knowing that they had experiences similar to your own.

Use the Local Section website to find out if there is a Section near you. Each Section's contact information is available online.

If there is not a Local Section near you, check out the Virtual Local Section!