2021 INSPIRE AWARD WINNERS
Overall Strongest Chapter
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
At SASE UMN, we perform every action with the intention of upholding SASE's three pillars. Despite this year being a completely new terrain for all of us, SASE UMN stayed grounded in our core values of culture, professionalism, and outreach. We recognize the importance of installing a culturally diverse environment in our events, especially on an online platform.
SASE UMN is humbled and incredibly grateful to be honored for our efforts to uphold SASE's vision. With passion, we will continue to work hard to make our impact within the community, region, and nation.
Overall Strongest Honorable Mention
Since 2013, SASE Northeastern has always put the professional growth and development of its members at the forefront. Despite the constraints imposed by COVID-19, we adapted and found ways to thrive in the virtual setting. This year, our chapter has seen an increase of 98 new members. We were able to create meaningful relationships with members through our Discord server and a yearlong mentorship program, consisting of 17 mentors and 38 mentees.
Change can be difficult. We encourage other chapters to stay resilient and embrace adversity. The lessons you learn will be the most valuable and they are crucial to your development as a leader and as a chapter.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Since its establishment in 2015, SASE UC Santa Barbara has been committed to empowering Asian scientists and engineers and preparing them for successful careers. Through a multitude of social, academic, and professional events, we provided members with opportunities to realize their full potential. One of our most notable accomplishments this year was hosting the 2021 WRC, during which we developed a series of professional panels and skill-building workshops, discussing a variety of topics, such as diversity and cultural awareness, personal heal and wellness, and pathways to industry and higher education. In addition, we offered sessions that allowed sponsoring companies to network with the attendees, answer questions, and provide useful opportunities and resources.
As SASE UCSB has explained, we have learned that the most important aspect of a successful chapter is the personal relationships forged through socials, conferences, and other events. We have nurtured SASE UCSB into more than just another professional organization; instead, it is an interwoven web of friends and family. By creating this unique environment, SASE UCSB was able to solidify relationships in SASE to a deeper level and ensure that our chapter continues to grow with each passing year.
Most Influential Chapter Honorable Mention
University of Texas at Arlington
The SASE University of Texas at Arlington Chapter strives to fulfill the core mission of SASE every academic year. Established in 2016, SASE UTA has grown from 13 members to 117 members! By hosting over 30 events this year, varying from professional development workshops, celebratory cultural events, philanthropy, and community service and socials while also fostering a tight-knit family atmosphere, we embodied SASE's mission.
Numerous opportunities were provided for our members to network with professionals, UTA organizations, and fellow SASE chapters. We were able to kickstart several new initiatives this year, such as our SASE Research Interest Group and updated SASEinterns program. Despite the obstacles we faced this year, we tackled all issues as a team, constantly looking for ways to improve through member feedback and reflection. As this year draws to a close, we look back with confidence that our chapter will continue on this momentous path of success for years to come.
Most Improved Chapter
Established in 2010, SASE at VT continues to embody a leading student organization through the collective effort and adaptability of our officers and members. Despite only holding virtual events, we grew our membership significantly from 73 to 116 paid members this year. With increased outreach to companies, SASE at VT was able to offer 21 professional development events compared to last year's eight, an increase of 163%! Of those 21, 15 were company workshops featuring Fortune 500 companies and engineering firms including General Electric, Captial One, and the Exceleration Center. Internally, we also held 27 events such as GBMs, Study Nights, and M&M Bonding to help our members actively engage with one another.
By providing a variety of opportunities, we ensure that members, new and old, could find something that resonated with them in SASE. We hoped in turn, they would provide their valuable creativity and uniqueness to our events, helping us grow in the content and development we provide.
Most Improved Chapter Honorable Mention
George Mason University
SASE at George Mason University started as an ambitious project between two acquaintances who knew each other from another SASE chapter before coincidentally transferring to the same school. We have since grown into something bigger than the founders could have possibly imagined. With 46 officially registered members, we aim to provide the best opportunities in terms of professional development, cultural diversity, and service. We are also the first Asian-heritage STEM organization in our university, and we strive to create a community where our members feel supported in their endeavors.
Altogether, our 2020-2021 board has participated in holding over 20 events for our members. Despite being a new chapter during a fully virtual landscape, we were able to adapt and create a community for our members and members from other chapters as well. We are a successful new chapter because of the people who surround and support us, and we wish to carry this energy forward as we continue to foster a community that embodies the #SASEfam value.
Outstanding New Chapter
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Founded in 2019, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the first Asian heritage pre-professional organization on campus. Our chapter emphasized collaboration and networking in order to provide resources for the advancement of Asian heritage scientists and engineers on campus and in the workplace. Throughout our first two years as an organization, we were able to put on over 40 engagement events focused around the national organization's three pillars: professionalism, diversity, and service. These events allowed members to learn and connect culturally, develop academically and professionally, and provide services to our home, school, and community.
Some highlighted events include but are not limited to UT Asians STEM Professor Panel, the UTK 865 Night Market and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to improve the local community. These events helped uplift and create a warm, welcoming community that is passionate about the intersectionality of the three SASE pillars and what it can do to help those thrive in the workspace. We encourage all new organizations to network and reach out to other organizations, especially those that share similar values and identities.
Outstanding New Chapter Honorable Mention
University of Southern California
After having gone inactive in 2017, USC SASE returned towards the beginning of 2020 with hopes to build a lasting chapter. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation cut the chapter's returning semester short. Going into the new academic year, the chapter completely rebuilt itself by growing the board with every member who was interested in developing the organization in the challenging virtual semester, saving itself from collapsing once again. The new board faced hurdles in dividing responsibilities, communicating internally, and figuring out how to structure itself. But with time and effort, these were ironed out. By the end of the academic year, each of the board members had contributed to the chapter in a meaningful way: event planning, outreach, marketing, and team management.
An important aspect of USC SASE's growth has been its dedication towards setting and fulfilling certain themes. For the past academic year, the chapter has been working under the theme of foundation building - trying out new events, expanding its network with companies and other SASE chapters, and creating a productive board structure. With an explicit theme in mind, making goals and planning for the future fell in line and came naturally. USC plans to continue its upward trajectory with renewed strength as the nation moves forward.
Going into 2020, SASE Drexel had ideas set for what we wanted to accomplish, but like many others, our plans were thwarted by the all-consuming pandemic. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing forced everyone to change the way they communicated, and that also included how we conducted chapter operations. With our campus closed for the entire year, many student organizations either didn't remain active or limited their activity. However, we didn't let that stop us. We went on to host 44 events, collaborate with 16 different organizations, raise over $900 for charity, and increase overall engagement by 19%. Not only did we continue our mentorship program and chair program, but we also established a Central X Drexel Mentorship program with our SASE Jr. Chapter.
We came into the year with a worrisome outlook, but we quickly adapted and made the most of it. In the end, we came out stronger than ever with newer and more creative initiatives. Thanks to all of our passionate officers and dedicated members, we were able to turn this year into one of the best yet.
Most Philanthropic Honorable Mention
Stevens Institute of Technology
Founded in 2012, SASE Stevens has always strived to provide supportive communication to help its members realize their full career potential. The chapter aims to spread the three core values of SASE - professionalism, community, and diversity/culture - through inactive biweekly general body meetings and monthly events. With the challenges set forward by the COVID-19 pandemic, our chapter has been determined to come up with new and innovative ways to spread our message. Our meetings cover many topics spanning from resume do's and don'ts to an alumni panel about work-life in the pandemic, to discussions about racial injustice that was prevalent in 2020-2021. The executive board works tirelessly to organize events that are fresh and inclusive while delivering our principles and ensuring the organization as a whole is flourishing.
From a small school located right by the Hudson River, SASE Stevens has one of the largest active membership bases in the Northeast and proudly stands as one of the veteran chapters in the region. We believe our strength comes from our community, and we want every member to feel at home. To all the chapters that aspire to be successful, our advice is to foster an inclusive and supportive environment that allows the members to grow and think innovatively. As we continue to grow, we wish to solidify ourselves as an exemplary chapter for others to look up to.