Last Fall, the Texas State University - San Marcos IEEE Student Chapter was still filling out their application to become a student branch when they attended the IEEE Regional meeting held in Austin. Our own Dr. Larson had no way of knowing that a casual conversation would have such a profound affect on the regional meetings, “I made an offhand comment to some of the leaders saying…we have rooms and we’d be happy to host.” Within a couple of weeks the IEEE contacted the Ingram School of Engineering asking if Texas State University - San Marcos would be interested in hosting future meetings for the Central Texas IEEE Chapters.
Things moved quickly, and only a few months following Dr. Larson's first voicing of the idea Texas State University - San Marcos found itself hosting the next Central Texas IEEE Chapter Meeting. The meeting, which took place on February 6th of 2010, was a mid-level review meeting for various student and professional chapters around the region of central Texas. The groups discussed their recent activities and their goals for the future, primarily for the sake of budget balancing. The TSU IEEE Student Chapter discussed an activity they helped host and organize on January 23rd called Future City. Future City is an outreach effort to middle school students in Central Texas where young students create entirely self-sustaining virtual cities using SimCity 4 Deluxe software. In addition to creating a computer design, the students are also charged with building a model of their city, writing an essay and narrative on their city, and giving an oral presentation describing the city they designed. The local winner went on to Washington, DC to compete in the The National Engineers Week Future® City Competition, which was held on February 13th-16th. According to the Future City Competition 2009–2010 Program Handbook, the competition is “an integrated, multidisciplinary, holistic approach to relevant issues and is a strong example of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) education that addresses national and state academic content standards.”
There are already plans to host future IEEE Central Texas Chapter meetings as well as science teacher workshops. Due to its central location, beautiful campus, and state of the art facilities, Texas State University - San Marcos is the perfect place to host these meetings and workshops. The next IEEE Central Texas regional conference will include a robotics competition. Our IEEE students are currently working hard to complete their submission.