Monday, February 29, 2016

30 Years of Engineering Diversity: Celebrate With Us!

Penn State Engineering Alumni and Friends!

Join us Friday Evening, April 14 for this Gala Celebration of 30 Years of the Multicultural Engineering and Women in Engineering Programs which have provided opportunity for thousands of students. This is a fund raiser, and we are encouraging everyone to come prepared to give back, reunite with old friends, and invest in the future. You can register as individuals, or sponsor an Alumni Partner Table with friends. (Details under the Sponsorship link on the Invitation site.) We did reserve a hotel block for those who register for the Gala by March 14. The rate is reasonable (considering it is Blue and White Weekend) and the game is FREE!

We can’t wait to see you all! Feel free to share your favorite memory! Event Information is at :

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Outstanding Engineering Alumni Awards

Congratulations are in order for Ellen Arruda and Saundra Johnson Austin. Both of these amazing women have been distinguished with Outstanding Alumni Awards as of April 14th, 2015.

Ellen Arruda
Ellen Arruda began her career at Penn State studying Engineering Science, and gaining her degree in 1985. She continued on to secure her Master’s Degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1988. Ellen credits her Penn State adviser, Richard Queeny, for giving her the confidence to continue her education. “He looked at my grades and GRE scores and told me I could go anywhere and should look at his alma mater, MIT. He was a great mentor.” She enrolled at MIT and finished her Ph.D in mechanical engineering in 1992.
That fall, Ellen began her career at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Throughout the following 22 years, she held several faculty appointments in Macromolecular Science and Engineering and the Bone & Joint Injury Prevention & Rehabilitation Center. Currently, Ellen is a professor of mechanical engineering with courtesy appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Macromolecular Science and Engineering program, and the Center for Organogenesis.
Ellen developed a highly successful model for ACL repair that restores native anatomy and function within 6-9 months of implantation. She received the 2012 Excellence in Research Award by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine for her efforts. Ellen’s work also involves the design of nanoscale building blocks and molecular network nanostructures for high toughness materials and the use of these well characterized nanostructural components to inform physically based analytical and computational models. In January, she was elected president of the American Academy of Mechanics (AAM). Ellen is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the AAM, and the Society of Engineering Science.

Saundra Johnson Austin
Saundra Johnson Austin graduated from Penn State in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. She began her career at Bechtel Power Corporation I Gaithersburg, MD, where she worked in project controls, estimating, and business development. In 1994 Saundra returned to Penn State as director of the Minority Engineering Program, now called the Multicultural Engineering Program, in the College of Engineering. In 1998, she was recognized with the National Society of Black Engineers’ Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year Award and the National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates Outstanding Contribution by a Minority Engineering Program Administrator Award.
Saundra made the difficult decision to leave her alma mater again in 2000 to become head of the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science at the University of Notre Dame. While working full time, Saundra completed the university’s executive MBA program, crediting the value of education her mother instilled in her sisters and herself. In 2005, Saundra became the executive vice president of the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning (CPLL) in Benton Harbor, MI, charged with working collaboratively to improve community systems that have an impact on literacy, education, and workforce competitiveness
Saundra served as the first president and CEO of St. Michael’s High School, a 150-year-old private Catholic institution in Santa Fe, NM, from 2008-2010. She designed and built the school’s infrastructure for institutional advancement, student recruitment and retention, curricular enhancement, and facilities management. Today, Saundra is senior vice president for operations at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, the largest private provider of scholarships for underrepresented minority engineering students. She supports the president and CEO on key organizational and strategic direction and manages programs, research, communications, and public policy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

7 Important Soft Skills to Have

Soft Skills are those skills that we aren't taught in school including: leadership, motivation, interpersonal skills and creativity.  These are the characteristics that make us more likeable to peers, professors and potential employeers.  Below is a list of the 7 of the most important Soft Skills to have, pay attention to how comfortable you are with each of these skills.

1.  Listening:  If you can't follow instructions, it doesn't matter how talented you may be, you will mess things up.  Show you are a good listener by following directions closely the first time.  How can you tell if you are an good listener?  Practice actively listening during a conversation, can you repeat most of what the conversation was about after it has finished?  If not, try to focus more and practice during everyday interactions.

2. Adaptability:  Change can difficult to accept on some occasions, however, being flexible and having a good attitude during unexpected changes can be a valuable skill.  Do you complain if plans change?  Do you sulk when things don't go your way?  If so, think about how you can be less rigid, change is a part of life and it's important to learn how to deal with is effectively.

3. Teamwork: Teamwork seems to be everywhere in the life of a student.  At any one time you are working in a team to complete a project in a class.  This will be no different than in the work environment.  Even though you have worked in alot of team environments through out your college career do you still feel like you need to work on being a team player?  Consider joining a club sports team or student organization outside of the classroom to futher these skills.

4.  Judgement: Judgement is not a skill that can be easily taught.  Have you ever posted something on Facebook or Twitter and regretted it later?  Then you might need some extra practice in good judgement.  The old saying "think before you act" is a good mantra to live by when trying to practice good judgement.

5.  Work Ethic: Will you continue to work on something until it is complete? Do you step up and complete a task when it is not really your job?  If you answered yes to these 2 questions then you already have a strong work ethic.  If you answered no, think about some things you can do to change that.

6. Communication: This is probably the most important soft skill to have.  It is evaluated every day by those that you interact with.  How you introduce your self or interact with others sends a message of how well you communicate.  It's important to take your time think about what you want to communicate and do it in a way that makes sense to others.  Find yourself repeating yourself often or have others misunderstand you?  Then you may need to step back and take a look at how you are communcating your thoughts.

7. Positive Demeanor: This is just another way of saying are you "nice to be around."  Are you rude to the receptionist or don't hold the door for the person behind you? Than it's likely you may be viewed as a negative person.  If people view you as a negative person it could effect your relationships with those around you.