Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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IEEE’s Honor Society Expands to More Countries

The IEEE–Eta Kappa Nu honor society for engineers celebrates its 120th anniversary this year. Founded in October 1904, IEEE-HKN recognizes academic experience as well as excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Inductees are chosen based on their technical, scientific, and leadership achievements. There are now more than 270 IEEE-HKN chapters at universities around the world.

The society has changed significantly over the years. Global expansion resulted from the merger of North America–based HKN with IEEE in 2010. There are now 30 chapters outside the United States, including ones recently established at universities in Ecuador, Hungary, and India.

IEEE-HKN has more than 200,000 members around the world. Since the merger, more than 37,000 people have been inducted. Membership now extends beyond just students. Among them are 23 former IEEE presidents as well as a who’s who of engineering leaders and technology pioneers including GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, Google founding CEO Larry Page, and Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su. Last year more than 100 professional members were added to the rolls.

“If you want to make sure that you’re on the forefront of engineering leadership, you should definitely consider joining IEEE-HKN.” —Joseph Greene

In 1950 HKN established the category of eminent member to honor those whose contributions significantly benefited society. There now are 150 such members. They include the fathers of the Internet and IEEE Medal of Honor recipientsVint Cerf and Bob Kahn; former astronautSandra Magnus; andHenry Samueli, a Broadcom founder.

IEEE-HKN is celebrating its anniversary on 28 October, Founders Day, the date the society was established. A variety of activities are scheduled for the day at chapters and other locations around the world, says Nancy Ostin, the society’s director.

New chapters in Ecuador, Hungary, and India

Several chapters have been established in recent months. The Nu Eta chapter at the Sri Sairam Engineering College, in Chennai, India, was founded in September, becoming the fourth chapter in the country. In October the Nu Theta chapter debuted at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, Ind.

group of people holding onto knife and cutting into a white frosted cake with blue letteringStudents from the IEEE-HKN Lambda Chi chapter at Hampton University in Virginia celebrate their induction with a cake. IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu

So far this year, chapters were formed at the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral, in Guayaquil, Ecuador; Hampton University in Virginia; Óbuda University, in Budapest; and Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, the second chapter in the territory. Hampton is a historically Black research university.

A focus on career development

IEEE-HKN’s benefits have expanded over time. The society now focuses more on helping its members with career development. Career-related services on the society’s website include a job board and a resource center that aids with writing résumés and cover letters, as well as interview tips and career coaching services.

group of people posing for a portrait with man in front holding a piece of paper in hand2024 IEEE-HKN president Ryan Bales [center] with members of the Nu Iota chapter at Óbuda University in Budapest. IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu

There’s also the HKN Career Conversations podcast, hosted by society alumni. Topics they’ve covered include ethics, workplace conflicts, imposter syndrome, and cultivating creativity.

The honor society also holds networking events including its annual international leadership conferences, where student leaders from across the world collaborate on how they can benefit the organization and their communities.

Mentorship and networking opportunities

IEEE-HKN’s mentoring program connects recent graduates with alumni. IEEE professionals are paired with graduate students based on technical interest, desired mentoring area, and personality.

Alumnus Joseph Greene, a Ph.D. candidate in computational imaging at Boston University, joined the school’s Kappa Sigma chapter in 2014 and continues to mentor graduate students and help organize events to engage alumni. Greene has held several leadership positions with the chapter, including president, vice president, and student governor on the IEEE-HKN board.

He created a professional-to-student mentoring program for the chapter. It partners people from industry and academia with students to build working relationships and to provide career, technical, and personal advice. Since the program launched in 2022, Greene says, more than 40 people have participated.

“What I found most rewarding about having a mentor is they offer a much broader perspective than just your collegiate needs,” he said in the interview with The Institute.

Another program Greene launched is the IEEE-HKN GradLab YouTube podcast, which he says covers “everything about grad school that they don’t teach you in a classroom.”

“If you want to make sure that you’re on the forefront of engineering leadership, you should definitely consider joining IEEE-HKN,” Greene said in the interview. “The organization, staff, and volunteers are dedicated toward making sure you have the opportunity, resources, and network to thrive and succeed.”

If you were ever inducted into IEEE-HKN, your membership never expires, Ostin notes. Check your IEEE membership record. The honor society’s name should appear there but if it does not, complete the alumni reconnect form.