Industrial engineering student group earns national accolades

Dr. Chen with award

Northern Illinois University’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology is home to a number of exceptional organizations.

One notable organization is the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE). Recently, the chapter was awarded the 2017 Chapter Recognition Gold Award.

“Our mission is threefold: connect, experience, educate,” chapter president Shekinah Bergmann said. “First, we seek to connect NIU industrial and systems engineering (ISYE) students with alumni and community members in our profession. Next, provide opportunities for our students to experience what they have learned in class. Lastly, we take opportunities to educate the next generation about ISYE.”

Getting the coveted Gold Award wasn’t easy. After a period of waning participation and falling behind other university chapters, the NIU IISE chapter worked hard to reverse the trend, going from red to national gold status in just one year. The chapter accomplished this feat by keeping connections with senior and graduate executive board members, touring different companies and hosting a number of guest speakers from places like Northwestern Medicine, Caterpillar and West Monroe Partners. These events boasted some of the highest attendance in the chapter’s history.

“This year raised the bar by providing students the ability to witness Lean Six Sigma in multiple fields: food production, healthcare, and manufacturing,” Bergmann said. “We also brought our knowledge to the next generation through speaking events at Sycamore High School and hosting a booth at STEMfest.”

The chapter has already begun planning for the coming year to keep up its positive momentum. Any student, especially those in engineering and technology, can learn a lot from joining IISE, chapter advisor Gary Chen said. Students can connect with industry leaders, learn about systems engineering tools and methods like Lean Six Sigma and volunteer. For information on joining, reach out to Chen at garychen@niu.edu.

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