Hey guys! My name is Vanessa, and I’m currently one of the Protege Program directors for 2019. However, my WIESoc journey started last year in the Industry Mentoring Program (IMP) subcommittee! I can honestly say that joining the WIESoc team has impacted my life in such a wholesome and positive way, and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to be part of such an amazing team and meet so many fantastic people. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when I first applied to be a part of the subcommittee, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of a society in which I was truly passionate about. I had seen WIESoc events around campus during my first year of university and was part of the Protege mentoring program - I really liked the friendly and warm vibe that seemed to radiate out from all of the events, programs and people in the team.
In my second year, I applied to be a part of the IMP subcommittee, and was lucky enough to be able to join the team! After meeting everyone and hearing about the events to come, I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait for the year to come. We had weekly meetings to plan for the Opening and Closing ceremony, as well as the 3 checkpoint events. Our first event was the program’s opening ceremony, in which we put the mentor-mentee pairings into groups and facilitated open floor networking, using questions that we had prepared in our meetings. It was very rewarding seeing the mentors and mentees meeting for the first time and getting to know each other!
Other checkpoint events included activities such as resume and cover letter workshops, case studies, design jams and Q&A sessions with industry representatives. As a part of the subcommittee, we were responsible for designing, coordinating and running these activities as well as participating in the workshops and networking sessions.
I gained a valuable insight into the way various engineering companies are run, as well as knowledge about the industry overall which has proven to be invaluable! During my time in the IMP subcommittee, I developed a wide range of soft skills - in particular, communication and organisational skills. It’s a whole different ball game communicating and working with industry representatives and companies, in comparison to running intra-university events, and has helped tremendously in many other aspects of my life. I also had the opportunity to take creative license on one of the events, designing and organising the entire checkpoint from scratch! This was one of the highlights of being on the IMP subcommittee, as I had the opportunity to liaise with the company hosting the event, brainstorm a unique and valuable range activities, and even run the workshop on the night!
Juggling university, society, work and sporting commitments was also quite challenging, however this helped me learn how to manage my time effectively and prioritise things that need to get done! I met so many amazing people along the way and made heaps of lifelong friends. It can sometimes be daunting studying and working in a primarily male dominated field, and being a part of the WIESoc team is a really nice reminder that even when things get tough, WIE can do it!! Joining WIESoc and becoming more involved in societies and campus life has made UNSW feel like a home away from home.