Collaboration Begins at E-Fest

It was the fall of my senior year and I was the student chair of ASME’s Penn State Chapter. My faculty advisor and mechanical engineering department head informed me that Penn State was selected to host E-Fest East in April 2018 and I said, “Let’s do this.” I am so grateful that Penn State hosted and that I could be a student lead. Being a part of the planning process months ahead of time and then attending the festival was a rewarding experience. There was no better way to end my senior year of college than by celebrating engineering with students from all over the world.

Although E-Fest East took place in April of 2018, planning started in the fall of 2017. Weekly calls were set-up between the ASME team, Penn State faculty, and the student leads to plan this engineering festival. The most difficult challenge I faced while organizing this event was staying on top of the weekly tasks while trying to interview for full-time jobs, keeping up with my extracurricular activities, and maintaining my grades. The other student leads and I would often rely on each other to pick up the slack on each other’s E-Fest tasks if one or two of us had a particularly busy week.

Greta Gasswint and Max Hulak, the other two student leads, planned the competitions week by week along with other volunteers, ensuring that they would be perfect for all of the competitors from other colleges. Working with a team that is cross-functional, located in different areas, and needed to complete numerous tasks each week was a challenge. However, we were able to achieve our goals with constant communication, and I learned a lot about teamwork and project management during that process. 

When I walked into E-Fest East the first morning, I was in awe. Students were registering, sponsors had booths, volunteers were helping, and sessions were running. It was a well-oiled machine. It was such an amazing feeling to see E-Fest come to life! Students from all over the world came to compete in the Student Design Competitions and Human Powered Vehicle Competition. The competitive spirit of each school’s team along with a collaborative environment gave E-Fest an electrifying atmosphere. 

During the weekend, I met many students from other colleges. However, my favorite discussion was with students from Puerto Rico. We chatted about how the ASME chapter at Penn State is run and how theirs is run at the University of Puerto Rico. We even exchanged emails because we realized that we can learn from each other and help each chapter’s student section grow. Being able speak with other engineering students and discuss how we run our extracurricular activities and competition teams made me think about the future of engineering. The only way we will be able to solve problems through engineering is if we communicate, share the knowledge, and embrace our resources.

The event reminded me that there are thousands of other students like me doing the same thing at their respective colleges, but I never get to meet them. But by attending an ASME E-Fest, you can change that. You can meet these amazing students who want to change the world just like yourself.

Through the competitions, sponsored sessions, lab tours, inspiring keynote speakers, and much more, you can find something that you are passionate about. E-Fest provides a great environment to meet other students and begin the collaboration that we need to solve the world’s problems.  
Marie Horomanski is a member of the 2018-2019 E-Fest Leadership Program

If your university is interested in hosting a future E-Fest, checkout the Host Application for more information and how to apply.