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Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE)

April 30, 2018

About me

Jessica Lewis (front row, right) is a fifth year student pursuing a BS in Industrial Engineering and an MS in Engineering Management. She has served as President, Service Program Manager, and Fundraising and Outreach Coordinator for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). In addition to working with IISE, she is a member of the Paradigm Hyperloop team, the Galante Engineering Business Program, and the MIE Department Student Advisory Council. Outside of the College of Engineering, Jessica is a tour guide on campus and enjoys rock climbing, volleyball, and traveling. 

Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) 

I first attended a meeting for the Northeastern University Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE, then called IIE) during my freshman year. It was in a tiny room in Egan that was difficult to find, and the meeting had around 15 attendees. Since then, the chapter’s growth has been incredible. We now meet in a 70-person room in West Village G, and the first meeting of my semester as president put that room over capacity, with over 100 attendees and students standing throughout the room listening to the speakers. Throughout my five years at Northeastern, IISE has hosted the Northeast regional conference, sent attendees to conferences across the country and internationally, brought in countless speakers, and even helped impact the course offerings in the MIE department.

IISE’s mission is to optimize our members' college experience by fostering an environment that promotes professional and academic development while collaborating with peers and networking with industry leaders. As a freshman and sophomore, my interest in IISE was mostly focused on the “professional development” and “networking” parts of that mission. Industrial engineering opened me up to so many potential jobs and industries that I really needed IISE to help tell me where to begin. All of my job offers for my first co-op were from employers that I met at an IISE meeting, and the one I ended up accepting was from the very first IISE meeting of my sophomore year, “Hasbro Game Night.”

As I grew older and began to understand my career goals better, my appreciation for IISE shifted with my needs. I started attending IISE workshops to learn Tableau, Excel, and Python. I took advantage of opportunities to discuss student needs with decision-makers in the MIE department, and saw our feedback lead to impactful changes in the curriculum. I began to notice the community of peers that I had built through attending Monday meetings every week, and to want to help give back to it. This led me to running for e-board during my junior year, and serving in multiple e-board positions during my junior and senior years. I worked to further build the community through a mentorship program, and by organizing engineering-based outreach throughout Boston. My best friend served on e-board with me, and I gained close friends, group project members, and useful contacts in my fellow officers. When I began interviewing for full-time jobs, I found myself again and again referencing the leadership experience I gained through working with this organization.

If you had asked before my junior year, I would have told you that I was never running for e-board; I didn’t have the time, and didn’t see how I could help a club that was already thriving on its own. Now, I can hardly imagine my college career without it. Becoming service project manager then president of IISE gave me incredible opportunities to practice my leadership skills, challenging me more than any other mentoring or officer positions I’ve ever held. I am eternally grateful to the smart, thoughtful, passionate officers that were on my e-board, and I’m excited to see where they take this organization in future years. And hey, maybe if I’m lucky, they’ll let me come back as an industry speaker someday.

April 30, 2018 10:45 am