Scholarship, Character, and Attitude

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“My name is Oliver Queen. For five years, I was stranded on an island with only one goal; survive.”

Just kidding, my name is Rafi Koutoby, the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu resident blogger. I apologize for raising your hopes that I really was the [Green] Arrow, especially after the abomination that was Season 4. Anyway, I’m currently an electrical engineering grad student at California State University, Long Beach and I used to be the President of the chapter there, Epsilon Theta.

From time to time, there will be guest-star bloggers; namely, professional engineers who will provide some insight on their careers as well as some valuable advice on how to progress in yours. For my pilot blog, I’d like to talk about the significance of the IEEE-HKN ideals for success, which can be summarized in this motto; Scholarship, Character, and Attitude in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

First up of the three, scholarship. It’s no secret that honor societies (IEEE-HKN included) have a scholastic requirement for student candidates. Furthermore, companies interviewing internship/full-time position candidates place a lot of emphasis on technical knowledge and skills. However, grades are not the perfect test of a person, as grades may not accurately predict a person’s response to new, unfamiliar situations or their ideas and approaches to new problems. Nevertheless, with that being said, IEEE-HKN encourages you to improve your thinking methodologies and your resourcefulness, and by extension, your scholastic record. Electrical Engineer Michael McClay of Raytheon amplifies this by saying, “Do well in your engineering classes – get As and Bs.”

This brings me to the second ideal of the holy trinity, character. The Director of University Programs for IEEE, Burton Dicht, says, “Your technical skills get you your first job, but your communication skills get you your second job.” In other words, your skills in verbal and written communication play a huge factor in your role at the workplace. Without proper communication skills, projects may lag behind, misunderstandings can escalate into arguments, and the productivity of an organization falls. Therefore, it is up to you as an individual to cultivate your character, including honesty, sound judgment, capacity for hard work, and communication skills.

And last but not least, attitude. The first two qualities are meaningless without a positive attitude, as explained by Civil Engineering Associate at the Port of Los Angeles, Edwin Contreras, “Employers are more willing to take on a candidate who demonstrates humility and an optimistic attitude towards learning.” Whether as a contributor or leader, the people you interact with see the way you reflect on your education, your profession, and ultimately, your life. Your adaptability for working in harmony with others shows why a positive attitude is the third pillar for success in the eyes of IEEE-HKN. Well, that sums up #MyVeryFirstBlog. For the most part, I hope to have entertained you with the side effect of being quite informative. I can’t strengthen my work without your feedback, so critiquing me would go a long way.

Till next time!

Written by Rafi A. Koutoby

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