The idea of E-Fest is to create an event full of student competitions, networking sessions, and workshops. Since many students have to travel far in order to attend an E-Fest, EFx events were created to mitigate the issue by creating a smaller event geared for local universities. This past March, New York University Tandon School of Engineering held the first ever EFx event in the United States. Over 100 students from colleges in New York and New Jersey gathered at NYU to compete.
As the chair of NYU’s ASME student section, I was able to lead the coordination of this event. When the idea of having an EFx was first introduced to our student chapter, I would never have expected how rewarding and fulfilling it would be.
Since mechanical engineering is so multifaceted, we wanted to create a competition that could encompass everything and also be beneficial to our local lifestyle. That required the collaboration of many departments at NYU, other student leaders, local businesses, and the ASME staff. Planning began in September 2018 and finished in March 2019. Those six months were filled with meetings, emails, Skype calls, and countless to-do lists.
When trying to find a location for NYU’s EFx, I knew the MakerSpace would be the perfect spot. With several CNC machines, 3D printers, power tools, and more, NYU’s MakerSpace has become the “hub” for our engineers. During the planning process, NYU’s MakerSpace manager demonstrated the importance of having to be assertive, proactive, and straightforward in order to be an effective leader.
While planning the EFx, NYU’s student council president was working with the DUMBO Business Improvement District, a nonprofit organization, to find ways to mitigate the impact of upcoming construction on the small businesses that fill this local neighborhood. Therefore, we partnered with the student council to use our event as a catalyst in solving these problems, which catered to our initial desire to have an impact on our local community.
We all worked together to create a hardware hackathon, where students had 24-hour access to NYU’s MakerSpace to collaborate in teams of six in solving the given problem, which was centered around the DUMBO Construction.
Next, we needed to generate interest by working with nearby ASME student section chairs at Cooper Union, Columbia University, and Stevens Institute of Technology, as well as the ASME staff. We developed outreach methods and strategies to engage local engineering students in this competition.
By having the opportunity to work with many great leaders, I was able to develop a range of business skills. I learned how to think in terms of targeting people’s needs and how to develop effective marketing strategies. Working with many people in the industry, including NYU’s vice dean, MakerSpace manager, and the DUMBO BID, I was able to grow professionally and expand my network. By leading the event of over a hundred people, I was able to improve my public speaking skills and overall leadership skills.
Planning EFx has also helped me in other ways. I also was able to teach the competitors how to use equipment in the MakerSpace, mentor them in their problem solving and design thinking approach, and witness a diverse group of people come together in engineering activities throughout the event. That was very fulfilling to experience.
Finally, the winners of this EFx are currently working with the DUMBO BID to bring their solution to life and actually mitigate the effects of the upcoming construction. Being able to be a part of an event that had a positive impact on local engineers and the local community was extremely rewarding.
Brianna Migliaccio, a mechanical engineering student at NYU, recently took part in the ASME Executive Internship Program.
You May Also Like: Becoming an Engineer: Deciding Why and Learning How