University of California, Riverside

Bourns College of Engineering

BCOE Students Participate in Leadership Conference in Sacramento

BCOE Students Participate in Leadership Conference in Sacramento

November 6, 2012

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A select group of four Bourns College of Engineering students recently honed their leadership skills at the invitation-only Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Student Leadership Conference held October 20-21 in Sacramento.

The conference offered extensive professional and leadership development through direct interaction with industry mentors and speakers. The hand-picked MESA students, all science, engineering, or math majors, represented over 30 universities and community colleges from across the state, including UCR.

MESA leadership conference group photoThe participating BCOE students are pictured here (front row, left to right): Rachael Lomax '13, Society of Woman Engineers (SWE) president and chemical engineering major; Ileana Figueroa, '13, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) president and chemical engineering major; Jamila Witcher '14, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) secretary and electrical engineering major; and (back row, left to right): Jun Wang, BCOE Director of Professional Development; Tammy Tumbling, Southern California Edison Director of Philanthropy and Community Involvement; and Dale Holtkamp II '13, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) president and mechanical engineering major.

"The MESA Conference was a great opportunity to network and utilize the leadership skills that SHPE and UCR have taught me, as well as being a great way to represent what UCR has to offer," Figueroa said.

Students participated in mock interviews, connected with industry representatives from seven national and California companies and heard guest speakers such as former NASA astronaut Tammy Jernigan, who also led women in STEM panel discussion. Edison International was named the 2012 MESA Champion for the energy company's longstanding support of the program. Students also participated in a MESA Business Case Challenge in which they presented a business solution to a panel of energy and utility industry leaders.

A grant from Edison allowed students from seven Southern California campuses to attend and Edison employees volunteered their time to work closely with the students during the conference, including a leadership workshop run by Tumbling (pictured above). She encouraged students to continue in their educational pursuits and awarded winners of the MESA Business Case Challenge.

"This was honestly one of the best conferences I have been too so far," said Witcher. "I got some help when it came to improving my resume and the mock interviews that we did. I met and attended the leadership workshop held by Tammy Tumbling. She really made learning about leadership interesting and fun. She had a great presentation and I took a lot of useful and helpful notes that I felt I could pass on to other students in BCOE."

Southern California Gas Company also supported the event, which allowed students from UCR, CSULA, CSU Long Beach and UC Santa Barbara to attend; and Vanir Construction Management, Inc., helped sponsor the UCR students.

The event was also sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District, and San Diego Gas & Electric.

Holtkamp also felt the conference was a benefit for him. "This conference showed me that I may actually want to be a leader at some point in my life," he said. "It has shown me that being a leader is not taking control of other people, but more about helping them achieve the tasks that they need to do."

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University of California, Riverside
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Bourns College of Engineering
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