Industrial engineering seniors got to experience South Dakota’s “great faces and great places” at the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) North Central Regional Conference in February. The conference was hosted by the South Dakota School of Mines and featured speakers, networking opportunities, a student competition and tour of Mount Rushmore.

The group included industrial engineering seniors and IISE board members Megan Lee, Lydia Fischer, Abbey Ranalli, Jenny Rivas and Avery Tiegs, and Dr. Douglas Grabenstetter, associate professor. Industry professionals and students gave speeches and presentations that dove into topics revolving around the culture of continuous improvement, business process improvement and optimization, the power industrial and systems engineers have to design experiences at a human scale and more.

Ranalli, IISE chapter president, previously attended the conference virtually her sophomore year. She was grateful to attend in person this year and meet individuals from universities across Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“My favorite part was interacting and networking with others,” said Ranalli. “It was really cool to talk to other chapter presidents—especially those from larger schools—and hear about the things they do with their chapters.” Ranalli hopes to take the ideas she learned from the other chapter presidents and apply them to the MSOE chapter and encourage students to attend the conference next year.

The competition within the conference challenged members to team up with students from other schools and complete different industrial engineering worksheets. “We initially thought we were doing horrible because the problems were based off a different curriculum, but we ended up taking first place!” said Ranalli. The competition was a small but rewarding aspect of the conference that challenged the teams to put their heads together and collaborate with new people.

The group extends their gratitude to the everyone at MSOE who supported their journey to the conference. “We are super grateful for Campus Life and the Mechanical Engineering Department for sponsoring our trip. Thanks to Dr. Grabenstetter, Megan Lancaster and Dr. Sebastijanovic for their support and help.”