March 2019 OES Beacon

Expanding Mentorship Opportunities

Brandy Armstrong (right), Student Activities Committee Chair 2018-present (former WIE liaison 2015–2018) with Farheen Fauziya (left) current WIE liaison, at OCEANS Charleston.

Brandy Armstrong, Student Activities Committee Chair

Mentorship is now widely considered the key element leading to increased participation and retention of women and minorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. In response, scientific societies and organizations, including the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (OES), have been making an effort to increase mentorship opportunities for students and young professionals (YP). IEEE OES is providing access to role models, a support network, and personal interaction with experienced professionals for its student and YP members.

Since the start of 2018 the student activities committee has recruited around 40 students and YPs to participate in regular committee meetings. The interaction during these meetings has made clear the types of opportunities and support students and YPs need to succeed. The student activity committee meetings also provide a way to share opportunities with students who are seeking mentorship and personal interaction with senior IEEE OES members. Creating mentoring opportunities for students and young professionals has become a top goal of the student activities committee. As a result, many committee members have become involved in technical committees, IEEE funding opportunities, IEEE OES Earthzine, and social media initiatives.

Young Professionals meet during lunch at OCEANS Charleston, 2018. From left to right Hari Vishnu (YP Boost 2019–2020), Frederic Maussang (YP chair), Katherine Woodard Weathers, Fausto Ferreira (AdCom), Shyam Madhusudhana (AdCom), Christopher Whitt (AdCom), and Brandy Armstrong (AdCom).

IEEE OES received special initiative funding for social media in 2018 and again for 2019, which is being used to create opportunities to get our newest members involved. The social media support provided to students and YPs has helped create engaging content for the IEEE OES on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) while reaching a broader audience. By creating a prominent social media presence for OES, we have increased the lines of communication with students and YPs. This has encouraged students and YPs to be more active in the society. As a result, IEEE OES saw an increase in student branch chapter formation and YP membership in 2018 when compared with 2017.

Opportunities for professionals and students abounded at OCEANS 2018 Charleston. In addition to the student poster competition, there were new opportunities for students and YPs, including a mentorship program, a Women in Engineering (WIE) panel, and a Career panel. Both panels were shared to Facebook live and recordings are available on the IEEE OES Facebook page.

Shyam Madhusudhana (left) and Fausto Ferreira (right) the 2018 YP Boost awardees at OCEANS Kobe. Both were promoted into AdCom at OCEANS Charleston.

The 2019 social media initiative funding will be used to create more opportunities for student and YP involvement in Earthzine. Many students and YPs have already volunteered as associate editors for Earthzine. The Singapore chapter has received social media support for providing member time to administer the Earthzine website. Rajat Mishra has already greatly improved the sites efficiency and loading speed. Once submissions are rolling in, the volunteer students and YPs will be working with senior IEEE OES members on themes and focus areas, another mentorship opportunity.

In 2019 IEEE OES members can earn support for their organizational unit through volunteering for the social media initiatives. I am currently seeking volunteers to report on IEEE OES conferences, submit content to Beacon and Earthzine, and contribute to global social media updates. We also need members with WordPress experience, or who would like to gain experience, to join our Earthzine team. If you would like to join the student activities committee, or are looking for other ways to become more involved in IEEE OES, please contact Brandy Armstrong at To keep up with the latest events and news please follow IEEE OES and Earthzine on Facebook and Twitter (@IEEE_OES, @Earthzine) and join the IEEE OES LinkedIn group.

I came into the position of student activities committee chair in 2018 with many ideas on how to aid students and YPs in their professional journeys. Through interaction with the students and YPs who have joined the student activities committee, we have compiled and enacted so many more ideas! The possibilities are immense, so 2019 is sure to be another great year for student and Young Professional members of IEEE OES.