IPC APEX EXPO From a College Student’s Perspective

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My name is Hannah Nelson, and I am currently a junior electrical engineering major at Valparaiso University. I was given the honor and privilege to attend the IPC APEX EXPO as the new student director on the IPC Board of Directors. The student director position is used as a voice on the board for all IPC student chapters. It is a way to bridge the barrier between the educational system and the electronics industry and bring students toward the Factory of the Future. By attending APEX EXPO, I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding the needs of students who are heading into the industry.

The experience I was given through APEX EXPO was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I met several individuals from around the globe, from China to France to Canada. I found it incredible to connect with people around the world through one common denominator, electronics standards. Being surrounded with such a diverse range of individuals has not only given me the opportunity to connect and learn more about the industry, but also become an essential part of the Factory of the Future.

I was able to attend professional development and technical courses and participate in the voting process for committee meetings. I even had the opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and talk to people working for companies such as NASA, Honeywell, and Lockheed Martin. This semester, I started taking Dale Carnegie, and one of the most important things he says is to listen to others more than talking about yourself. I took that principle into action, and it helped me feel comfortable talking to different CEOs, learning the secrets to their success in the industry. I was even given the opportunity to sit at the front table looking out to the audience of the awards ceremony and be recognized as the student director on the board of directors for IPC. As a college junior, at first it felt intimidating (and it still partially is), but I feel like this place and these people are where I am meant to be. The best feeling of all is that the environment at APEX EXPO felt like a home away from home. Now I know that I can make a change in the way education is viewed in the industry, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

While at APEX EXPO, I was given so many new opportunities to expand my own horizons. I was given a mentor, Jason Keeping, who gave me several opportunities to expand my network and help me learn more about what goes into the industry. He encouraged me to attend events that were meant specifically for networking, such as Trivia Networking Night and the ice cream social on the show floor. I also attended the Women in Electronics networking event. This event gave me the opportunity to connect with several other strong women in the industry and learn that I was not alone—they are or have experienced similar issues in their own careers. I was even given the opportunity to attend the STEM education event, where I taught high school seniors how to solder. At this event, I was able to give my own experience in the industry and saw the excitement in their eyes. Through these events I learned that I want to help encourage more women not only in college but as young as middle school to get involved in the STEM field.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine, click here.


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