Recipient: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Since its inception in 2011, SASE UMN has worked hard to make itself a force for good and growth, for both the surrounding community and its members. We are honored and grateful to be recognized for our efforts this year by being awarded the Strongest Overall Chapter Inspire Award. We sincerely thank all board, general, Regional, and National members who supported and worked with us to reach this milestone.
SASE UMN strongly believes in working for the community to spread the principles of STEM through outreach. One of our proudest accomplishments has been to begin a program called SASE Labs, which works to engage all members of the campus and the local community in scientific literacy and understanding. SASE UMN does this by producing simple, engaging, and interactive scientific/engineering demonstrations on campus and at local events that bring STEM concepts to life.
Another aspect of our community outreach programs is SASE Jr. Through this program, we actively foster the inception and growth of SASE Jr. Chapters at local high schools. SASE UMN has found success in establishing a chapter at Central High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. SASE UMN provided valuable resources to its SASE Jr. members such as research lab tours, college advice, a scholarship, and a mentorship program. SASE UMN was even able to fund a SASE Jr. member’s attendance at the OSU SASE MWRC.
SASE UMN has been focused on transitioning from solely an event-based group to an events/program-based group. We believe that programs that offer tangible and consistent benefits, while continuing to engage with the campus and local community through events have kept us active and innovative. We hope to build upon this important milestone and continue to have a productive and well-established chapter.
Honorable Mention: Northeastern University
Northeastern University SASE has developed a reputation for excellence. Established in 2013, we have continued to create a welcoming environment for Asian scientists and engineers through fostering the growth of young leaders and preparing members for their respective industries. In 2015, NU SASE was recognized as the Most Improved Chapter and in the following year received the Honorable Mention of the Most Influential Chapter. In 2016, our chapter had the privilege of hosting over 450 attendees at the Northeast Regional Conference. Our continued commitment to professionalism, diversity, and service echoes through our events that are tailored towards supporting members. As we maintained our momentum in the expansion as a chapter, we shifted our focus towards ensuring all offered events were applicable to any individual seeking to expand their skills professionally and be exposed to culturally important issues in today’s political climate. We have organized several technical and non-technical workshops, many of which were requested and led by members and alumni who jump at the opportunity to share their expertise. Our flagship events, Networking Night and Career Panel, saw substantial growth in employer support and student attendance over the last few years, becoming key events at the university. We piloted SASEPals: our take on mentorship where new members are paired with mentors but also have access to a database of SASE upperclassman to reach out to with questions. In strengthening our devotion to service within the community, members volunteered at STEM outreach programs in local high schools and fundraised gifts for immigrant/refugee families. We have also continued to celebrate diversity with the Pan Asian American Council (PAAC) by facilitating engaging discussions on relevant issues concerning the Asian American community. Through impactful events and a close-knit environment, NU SASE will continue to strive to provide members with necessary tools for their future careers.
Recipient: Temple University
The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers Chapter at Temple University is the first Asian heritage oriented STEM organization on campus. We began with a diverse executive board of 9 students who were not familiar with one another beforehand, but have developed strong friendships afterward. In the beginning, SASE Temple struggled with creating our own brand and proving our credibility as a professional organization with many others already established at Temple. We realized early that our focus was on building strong relationships and providing an encouraging space for students to network and grow. Due to the fact that our officers were already involved with other organizations on campus, we worked our way through their network to build relationships with the other organizations. Our chapter placed an emphasis on social events, in the beginning, to make it easier to engage our members and build connections. As a result, SASE Temple made a long-lasting impression on our members because of our genuine familial vibe that was unique on our campus. Many of these students stuck with us and even joined our social media chats where they continued connecting with SASE Temple for academic advice, networking opportunities, and more. By making our goal reflect the SASE family-bond that the organization is known for, we successfully grew our member base not only in terms of number but quality. This even led to 5 new recruited officers shortly after the chapter was established. What we learned from the past few months is the significance of quality over quantity. Even though we did not have many professional events this past semester, we ultimately capitalized on our few events by focusing on quality through membership engagement. As a result, we were able to build a stable chapter foundation and establish the SASE brand on campus. We plan to continue to improve through feedback from our chapters and with the help of our regional resources. We hope to establish a model that will continue to keep SASE Temple a rising chapter in the Northeast.
Honorable Mention: SUNY Buffalo
SASE at the University at Buffalo began as a simple idea that festered in the minds of three sophomores doing calculus. They wanted to bring key SASE ideals about professional development and Asian heritage to our campus and give their fellow students something that dozens of other SASE chapters have given their members – a place to belong. In their mind, a great SASE chapter provided their members with a family and a deeply ingrained pride that they could carry with them for the rest of their career.
Established in the fall of 2015, our chapter has grown from seeing little to no members at our meetings during our first year to having an average attendance of 25 members during our second year. One of the main contributors to the rise in our membership base was the implementation of a mentorship program. Our chapter already focused on professional and academic development but now with the mentorship program, there was an added focus on community development.
After establishing a membership base and receiving a nominal starting budget from our student association, we shifted our focus to hosting quality events and highlighting the benefits of informal education methods such as working on technical projects and attending the SASE national and regional conferences. This past year we were able to subsidize attendance fees for 19 members to attend the Northeast Regional conference. In terms of technical projects, this year was the first year that we built a robot from scratch for our school’s annual Bot Wars. The robot was a truly significant upgrade from our remote control toy truck used last year. Throughout the year we continuously succeeded in increasing membership activity, finding better and more effective ways to secure funds, as well as developing opportunities with tangible and valuable benefits for our members.
Most Influential Chapter
Recipient: Drexel University
Built on the philosophy of being extraordinary, SASE Drexel Chapter is making an impact beyond their campus boundaries.
One success that outshines the rest was hosting the SASE Northeast Regional Conference in 2017. Despite heated competition amongst other chapters in the Northeast region, the Drexel Chapter won the bidding right to host the Regional Conference. This conference was a milestone achievement for all Chapters nationwide. It became the first regional conference to be held at a hotel venue, which proved Drexel Chapter’s fearless attitude when faced with the unknown. This Regional Conference also raised the most amount of revenue compared to all previous regional conferences, which not only shows finesse fundraising skills but also shows the Chapter’s influential impact on sponsors and alike.
Members of this chapter are highly engaged with the community and feel fulfilled when giving back. One example is when the Drexel Chapter helped establish the first SASE Junior Chapter in the nation, the SASE Central High School Chapter. Likewise, the Drexel Chapter played a role in jumpstarting two chapters in neighboring schools, Temple University and Villanova University. Relationships are an important part to the success of the Drexel Chapter, which is why even today, the Drexel Chapter continues to provide mentorship and show support to its local community.
SASE Drexel Chapter encourages others to take risks, venture outside of their comfort zone, share knowledge with others, and be passionate about their organization. It can be difficult starting new things, but persistence and a good heart is key.
Honorable Mention: Stevens Institute of Technology
Founded in 2012, SASE at Stevens Institute of Technology has become an influential chapter within the Northeastern region. As a chapter, we listened to the voices of our campus and community and acted on them using our resources and connections to fulfill their needs. Stevens can be viewed as a nexus between the New York-New Jersey communities allowing us to interact and impact both communities along with chapters in the area.
Hosting a Networking Night and an Etiquette Dinner in partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers, respectively, allowed our members to network with students and alumni, to learn about different communities, and educate others about Asian communities and cultures.
Another chapter accomplishment was our push to raise awareness through our events, Pie the Eboard and SASE Volleyball Tournament. Pie the Eboard focused on promoting awareness of issues facing the LGBTQ community. Paying to pie the eboard members, the Stevens community and other chapter members were able to raise and donate over $200 dollars towards Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ teens. SASE Volleyball Tournament brought awareness to the autism spectrum disorder, affecting several families, including members in our chapter. 8 teams, made up of members from 3 regional SASE chapters, 1 professional chapter, and 4 Stevens chapters, participated in a volleyball tournament which successfully raised over $400 for Autism Speaks.
Our most successful outreach event was our annual SASE STEM Conference. Lead by the Stevens Chapter, co-hosted with 5 regional chapters, this event was designed to expose local high school students to STEM careers and build professional relationships through STEM-related workshops. Bringing together different chapters we were able to provide one on one interaction and inspire the students to journey into STEM
Recipient: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
When reflecting on the progress our chapter has made in the past academic year, one word sticks out: community. Our chapter experienced the importance of this firsthand at National Conference 2016 and was inspired to reflect upon the SASE community on our campus. This motivated us to strive to create a community akin to the camaraderie displayed at National Conference.
In order to achieve this goal, we needed to build up leaders who shared our vision of community. We reached out to peers who showed an interest in SASE and had the potential to develop into leaders with a passion for change. With new leaders placed on our Executive Board, we evaluated how the chapter was carrying out its existing initiatives and decided to focus on two areas of improvement: the organizational structure of the chapter and the way we engage our membership.
Prior to this year, our chapter’s disorganization led to a stagnant community. To rectify this situation, we used a three-phased approach. We began by examining past SASE practices, discovering areas of improvement within the chapter. Once we understood where we could make the most impact, we redefined the roles and responsibilities of our Executive Board to align with the talents of our current team. With a strong team in place, we implemented sustainable practices and created documentation to help future leaders.
Together, we focused on creating an engaged community, recognizing the need for targeted events focused on relationship building. During these events, our leaders would actively reach out to new members, helping to redefine our culture. We held karaoke nights, cultural cooking events, and game nights -- fostering an environment that allowed for meaningful interactions and conversations. These efforts resulted in the vibrant community we have today.
Honorable Mention: Rutgers University
Since its establishment, Rutgers SASE has strived to prepare and empower young Asian Americans to be well-rounded individuals in the professional world. Initially, we struggled to set ourselves apart from the countless well-established professional societies. But today, our chapter thrives as one of the only professional societies that also emphasizes celebrating culture and community service.
Rutgers SASE owes its success to the hard work and dedication of our e-board members. Consistency was vital to our growth this past year. We started holding bi-weekly general meetings and regular fundraisers. Our efforts showed during SASE Spirit Week when we held SASE Fest to celebrate Cultural Awareness Day. We hosted various booths including traditional arts and crafts, card making for charity, and mochi making, our most popular activity. This event was a big success, with nearly 30 people in attendance, a significant improvement from the previous year.
We further developed events that we believed would make an impact on campus. One such event was a mental health workshop we hosted, a topic that is often overlooked amongst students. We held discussions on the importance of mental health and brought awareness to the negative effects of the model minority myth.
Moreover, to combat stereotypes that Asians or students in STEM are not artistically inclined, we hosted a Coffeehouse. We showcased over 10 student performances varying from dance and music to spoken word. This event really resonated with the Rutgers community with the event being packed with nearly 50 in attendance.
Overall, we are proud of the community we have built. We have more than doubled our general attendance and doubled the number of members taken to the Regional and National Conferences over the past year. We are thankful for the recognition and are excited to continue our efforts to grow and empower our members.