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The Student Experience at the APWA-MN Fall Conference

December 12, 2013

The Student Experience at the APWA-MN Fall Conference

By Lydia Larson, President, APWA-MN U of MN Student Chapter

The APWA-MN Fall 2013 Conference offered students a unique and enjoyable experience. With nearly 500 people in attendance, we were immersed with opportunities to network with professionals and learn more about civil engineering in Minnesota. But more than anything, the Fall Conference provided an opportunity to meet the people we will be working with in the future. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the bowling event on Thursday night and the conference on Friday, and I believe it was one of the most valuable events I have attended in my college career.

During the course of the conference, I was most impressed with how inviting everyone was to the student members. At every event I attended, the professional members were welcoming and friendly.

At the bowling event, particularly, we were continually invited to sit with professional members and were made to feel welcome. For students, this was an important and fun way to talk to professionals and to learn about their experiences in engineering. It also provided a more comfortable way to do so than a career fair or classroom.

As Student Chapter member Matt Dalrymple said, “the bowling was a good way to network and have fun at the same time. It was easy to talk to many different people without feeling rushed.”

Unanimously, the bowling event was the favorite of the students who attended. Student Chapter Treasurer Kyle Donahue stated particularly that he “liked the fact that everyone gets to know each other through the organization.”

We were also very impressed by the speakers. I enjoyed the presentation on the LRT project -- especially after watching the construction of the line through campus -- and believe the chance to learn about the current projects was a valuable experience.        

After attending the Fall Conference, I am even more grateful to be a part of this professional association. It has been an incredible asset in my professional development, as well as the professional development and advancement of all the student members.

The experiences and relationships I have formed through APWA-MN have truly enhanced my experience as a student, improved my professional outlook, and solidified my desire to become a civil engineer. 

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