One of my favorite things at the local IEEE section is the annual student paper competition. This is my third year of participation. Students may submit any kind of engineering paper, as long as it follows the posted rules (essentially, under 15 pages with an abstract, intro, body, and references). The topics vary widely – this year we had one on a difference amplifier, one on nanotechnology, and one about a new type of spectrometer.
The students also have to present their findings in an oral presentation. We have a pretty detailed judging criteria for both the written and oral components, and the winner gets not only a cash prize but also the opportunity to bring their paper up to the next level (which offers more cash prizes!)
The whole thing is a great combination of the engineering and communication skills, both in the efforts of the students and in the challenge to me as judge and judge recruiter. By the way, I’m thrilled that my colleagues Bob and Richard were able to participate again – it’s always fun working with them! – and we had a new judge this year as well.
But the most exciting part for me is that the area competition will be coming here to Tucson in a couple of weeks, so I get to do it again! The competitors will be the local winners from other universities around the southwest. The meeting will also be host to the micromouse competition.
Note that they have this competition all over the US, so any one who’s interested could probably help out at the local level. All you really need is an IEEE student chapter and a corresponding section willing to kick in the prize money.