Briana Morey Invited to Participate in IEEE 2007 Leaders Summit

Congratulations to Briana Morey, ECE ’08, for representing WPI at the IEEE 2007 Leaders Summit. Ms. Morey, known as "Bri" to her friends, is the president of the WPI student branch of the IEEE (sidebar). This past October, Bri spent two days in Piscataway, NJ, discussing IEEE events with student leaders and IEEE executives. The student leaders hailed from twelve different universities throughout the country, including MIT, Stanford, and UC-Berkeley.

Picture on the right: Prof. Alex Emanuel demonstrating the power of giantTesla coils to an audience of over 200 students, faculty, and staffat the IEEE Spark Party.

The purpose of the summit was for the students to discuss the roles of the IEEE at their universities so they could leave with ideas on how to improve their student branches.

Among other activities, the IEEE student participants listened to presentations given by IEEE executives, who highlighted the vision of IEEE to "advance global prosperity by fostering technological innovation, promoting IEEE communities world-wide, and enabling members' careers" (Schwartz, Dick. Oct. 5, 2007. Welcome IEEE Student Branch Leaders. Presented at the IEEE 2007 Leaders Summit).

Bri’s presentation focused on the numerous IEEE events held at WPI and the environment within the friendly atmosphere of the WPI ECE Department where students learn to apply principles of ECE to their daily lives and work and where student activities are strongly encouraged and supported. At WPI, whether IEEE events are career-related, educational, or community service-oriented, they are always meant to be fun, and always include undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff. The primary IEEE events that Bri discussed during her presentation were paintball, networking dinners, Pi-a-Prof, the Fox Hunt, and the now nationally known, first of its kind, IEEE ECE Spark Party. IEEE paintball is an extremely popular social activity within the department that promotes contact among students, faculty, and staff outside the work week. During networking dinners, students establish contacts with professional, industry electrical engineers which can often lead to students obtaining summer internships, co-op positions and jobs. The main community service-oriented activity that the IEEE holds is Pi-a-Prof, which occurs on Pi Day on March 14th (3.14....!). For this event, professors and graduate students are auctioned to students who then have the opportunity to throw pies at the person of their choice. All of the proceeds from Pi Day are donated to the Mustard Seed, a local soup kitchen.

The most unique IEEE events at WPI are the Fox Hunt and the Spark Party, which combine entertainment with knowledge of ECE. During the Fox Hunt, IEEE officers hide a transmitter on the WPI campus and participants race to find the transmitter. To find the transmitter, the participants have to first bread board a receiver which includes an earpiece that beeps more loudly as the receiver is brought closer to the transmitter. The Spark Party is now an annual event where students, faculty, and staff demonstrate interesting phenomena in ECE that often produce loud noises and sparks; discuss their research or projects; and share talents in music, comedy, or other hobbies. Bri noted that after her presentation, many students approached her to discuss how they could hold similar events at their universities.

Bri has already implemented some of the events that other students discussed during their presentations. For example, in previous years the WPI branch at IEEE has held a pancake breakfasts during finals. Although the pancake breakfasts were successful in reducing the stress of students who ate the pancakes, they were time-consuming for IEEE officers who also needed to take finals. As an alternative, a student from another university mentioned that their IEEE branch provides bagels during finals. Bri realized that this would still accomplish the aim of the pancake breakfast while reducing the time needed to conduct the event. As a result, the IEEE set up bagels and orange juice outside of classrooms that held finals before noon this past term end.

When asked why she chose to be an ECE major, Bri stated that it was because of the sense of community within the ECE department. She was initially majoring in another technical field, but after she became friends with ECE students who brought her to IEEE events, she switched to ECE. According to Bri, “This department is amazing. The professors know how to engage students in the material. I’ve always been impressed with what the department here does.


Article research and draft provided by Rachelle L Horwitz, a WPI ECE senior.


About the IEEE

The IEEE, which stands for "Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers," is the world's largest professional organization that promotes the advancement of technology. There are over 365,000 members in more than 150 countries. The IEEE publishes over 530 journals, magazines, and conference proceedings; sponsors or cosponsors more than 300 conferences every years; develops international standards; offers continuing education opportunities; provides over $2 million in grants every year; and offers awards to outstanding individuals. For more information, visit one of the following links.

November 16, 2007