I've been chatting recently with an instructor at Lewis and Clark Community college over in Illinois. Joel Hall is a member of my Autodesk User Group, and is starting a networking group for Women in Design in the Drafting program at his facility.
Last Thursday was the first meeting, and Joel invited me along to introduce me to some of the female students and women in industry (previous graduates from L&C), and have me say a few words about the Gateway AUG and AUGI and the value of networking.
It was quite the drive (during rush hour) from Jefferson County, Missouri, but, I wouldn't have missed the chance meet up with other 'minority' techies to let them know that they're certainly not the only ones out there.
So, as both a speaker, attendee and networker, this was a GREAT time. I enjoyed the other speakers and really loved meeting the super-talented ladies this program has produced.
I hope to add a photo to this posting at some point, but, for now, I'll just go over the agenda.
Joel and his lovely wife welcomed everyone, there were nice snacks and drinks, and some door prizes to give away.
Mary Hales spoke about additional programs and classes that L&C has available to continue growth in the workplace, such as a business management certificate program, which prepares students for supervisory roles.
Previous graduate, Keturah Jordan, read a poem about how it feels to walk into class being the only girl and how things changed over time. It definitely expressed feelings all of us could identify with.
Shane Callahan's presentation was not quite what I expected, but, it certainly added a lot to the presentation. He spoke about fitness for professionals.
Obviously this is important with rising obesity rates in this country for women going into mostly sedentary design jobs. He touched on many things: ideal weight (body composition), law of energy balance, the fact that strength training can guard against osteoporosis. It was a great topic and provoked some discussion on how different disorders can affect your diet and exercise regime.
Two of the door prizes were fitness consultations with Shane.
And, I could kick myself for this, but... I didn't catch the name of the next person. One of the women in industry was asked to come up and give a Revit Architecture demo while Joel Hall was discussing BIM. Evidently they'll be getting Revit MEP soon, and will begin to instruct on that. Joel says he can't keep up with demand for Revit-product-trained students from the local design community.
And, the best part of these learning events is always the networking afterwards. You can stay around all night trading favorite resources, lecturing the instructor about not having his FREE subscription to AUGIWorld magazine, trading workplaces experiences and reactions, etc.
It was almost midnight before I got home after my long drive back, but, it was worth a little lost sleep.
Why not chat with some of your college (and high school) drafting and design instructors and see how you can become involved in speaking to, networking with, educating and/or mentoring up and coming technical students?
Oh, and don't forget about the upcoming Gateway AUG/SLAMSUG User Group meeting the night before the St. Louis AUGI CAD Camp (that's only two weeks away!). I'll be sending out an email to the group sometime soon reminding them about registration and the AU discount if you do attend CAD Camp.
If you can't make it, pass it on to a friend anyway. Everyone is welcome to the User Group meeting whether they're members of either group or not.