2016 Annual AWRA Water Resources Conference
Student Events


Monday / November 14

Student Attendee Conference Orientation
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Led by Michael Campana
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Past President, American Water Resources Association

Open to students and other first-time professional conference attendees, the goal is to show how to "design" their own conference experience. You will learn proper networking techniques that will offer the opportunity to experience all that the AWRA national conference has to offer. Additionally, each session attendee will be asked to spend a moment or two and describe what expectations each has from the conference and the moderator will assist in realizing these expectations. There is no charge for this orientation.

Student Networking Event
4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Led by Student Activities Committee

This social event will offer an opportunity for students of different levels (undergraduate and graduate) and different academic institutions to become acquainted with each other, mingle, and share their ideas and expectations about the conference and their careers in a comfortable atmosphere.

Wednesday / November 16

Special Student Session Panel:
Learning How to Maximize Success
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Moderators - Roger Copp, A.D.A. Engineering, Inc., Tampa, FL

Job Strategy Now: Learning How to Maximize Success

Often, students are so focused on achieving a high GPA that they overlook the importance of planning for transition to the post academic world. Abundant opportunities and resources should be utilized and leveraged by students to develop themselves as professionals, as well as maximizing the potential for securing a good job. Learning how to manage and leverage the use of these resources is fundamental in developing an effective job strategy.

Important elements in job strategy are: 1) demonstrating leadership capabilities; 2) networking through your peers, universities, committees, and industry, and; 3) understanding the job search process, employer, and hiring protocols. In regards to leadership, students can identify opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills even in small roles. Understanding how to identify the opportunities as well as what employers look for in regard to leadership is sometimes difficult. Leadership and understanding your strengths is key to developing a job strategy and increasing your exposure. As for networking, it is an art and a science. You have most likely heard that you have to build your network to find a job or jumpstart your career. Many people talk about the importance of networking, but few talk about how to actually do it. Conferences and meetings such as the 2016 AWRA Annual Conference provide many opportunities to network, but making the most out of these opportunities can sometimes be challenging. The last element is understanding the job search process, employer, and hiring protocols. This element is integral to putting students in the best position to get the job they want. There are many different methodologies to obtaining a job, as well as many different types of employers. Doing your "homework" will set you up for success.

This professional development session will provide students with an introduction into developing a successful job strategy, with special emphasis on how to highlight leadership skills, how to network and communicate effectively, and an introduction in what employers look for when hiring. It will provide practical and tangible tips, techniques to craft your "elevator pitch", concepts that you can utilize to showcase yourself within your resume and interview, and strategies to meet the challenges of networking and ensure your success. This session will be presented by a panel of specialized speakers comprised by human resources professionals from both the consulting and academic industries. Students will be provided the opportunity to ask questions and receive coaching on strategies, the various opportunities, and risks that students should be aware of as they embark on the job search.

Student Career Night:
Panel of Professionals Discussion and Speed Networking
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Please contact Suzanne Mechler by Nov. 4 to sign up for this event.

Moderator: Suzanne Mechler, CDM Smith, Boca Raton, FL

Kelly Kibler, Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Bruce Williams, Principal Environmental Scientist, GeoEngineers, Spokane, WA
Duane De Freese, Executive Director, Indian River Lagoon Council & Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, Sebastian, FL
Celeste Journey, Water Quality Specialist, U.S. Geological Survey Columbia, SC
Valerie Seidel, President and Principal Economist, The Balmoral Group, Winter Park, FL
Josefin Hirst, Engineer, Associate at Hazen and Sawyer, Tampa, FL

This session will be an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to explore water -related careers. Student will learn about experiences and opportunities that are available in various water resources vocations and will learn how water, as a career, is evolving. The session will be presented in two parts. First, a panel of professionals will discuss the substance of what they do and describe their work environment. Following the panel discussion, students will have the opportunity to formulate questions to the panel in an open-mic fashion. Finally, following the Q & A open-mic allotted time, students will have the opportunity to meet and network with professionals from various water resources disciplines in a 30-minute closing social networking session. Students are encouraged to bring their resumes. Food and beverage will be provided at this event.


Conference Sponsors