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IEEE Students Lab Kit Sales Create a New Scholarship

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a professional organization for electronic engineering and electrical engineering (and associated disciplines). The IEEE Student Branch at USF serves as a bridge between USF and the IEEE national organization and provides opportunities to network with fellow USF students and professionals. It also promotes project collaboration. A recent IEEE initiative led to the creation of the IEEE USF Student Branch Leadership Scholarship

IEEE Lab Kit

Various components that are sometimes included with IEEE USF Student Branch lab kits. 

Several years ago, members saw the need to develop multiple lab kits to be sold to electrical engineering students that provide instruments for use in undergraduate classes. During the pandemic, the members took on more responsibility helping the department adapt to new learning delivery methods by facilitating the distribution of hardware to use for remote lab courses. 

According to IEEE USF Student Branch Chair, Noah Hamilton, the lab kits have become a necessity for multiple electrical engineering classes and the kit components vary with each class.

“The lab kit process begins with us receiving a parts list from the professor of each participating undergraduate electrical engineering class. We then contact vendors to supply the parts for the kit and we also build some of the parts ourselves, said Hamilton. “The kit is then assembled for the class and sold to the students. We usually make around 10-15% profit, which equates to about ten dollars for some of the kits. One of the courses we sell for is Lab 1 and students get to keep their lab kit’s probes, breadboard, wires, and resistors to use on future projects.”

The IEEE USF Student Branch Vice Chair, James “Hunter” Ireland, also elaborated how the lab kits are being utilized by engineering students.

“We’re selling these kits to a variety of undergraduate electrical engineering classes which includes Lab 1, Lab 2, and Fundamentals of Digital Circuits,” said Ireland. “The components within each kit helps engineering students learn the basics of their chosen field. In addition, we also sell our kits to students that are enrolled in a class called MakeCourse, an undergraduate course offered to all engineering students, not just electrical. The course allows students to essentially build their own robotics project and our kit components help them do just that. The IEEE handles all the logistics with the assembly and distribution of these kits.”

All funds that are raised by the IEEE USF Student Branch are used to benefit fellow engineering students and the sales of lab kits have been a successful activity for the members over the years. This year, members decided to give back by gifting $5,000 to establish a new scholarship fund in the USF Foundation. The IEEE USF Student Branch Leadership Scholarship will aid undergraduate engineering students from all majors that demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities and who are actively involved on campus. The goal is to eventually raise enough money to transform this gift fund into an endowed scholarship.

Student selling lab kits

Outgoing secretary, Emalia Tack, in front of IEEE USF Student Branch laboratory space (ENB 149) for kit pickup during 2020.

Hamilton commented on how proud he feels regarding the creation of this scholarship and knows it will have a lasting impact.

“This scholarship embodies the impact that I try to make as a leader on campus and one of the main reasons I joined the IEEE USF Student Branch. My goal as chair is to give back and help other students in any way possible. The creation of this initiative allows for a lasting impact for engineering students at USF.”

Ireland believes this scholarship is the result of diligent work and dedication by IEEE members and has also fulfilled a personal goal of giving back.

“The ratification of this scholarship will recognize hardworking engineers for their work and dedication to their academic career alongside their involvement with IEEE USF for years to come. Working with my fellow executive board members to accomplish this milestone has fulfilled a personal objective of giving back to the USF engineering community. Go Bulls!”

Chris Ferekides, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, is extremely proud of the IEEE’s student branch and their numerous accomplishments. The IEEE chapter’s amazing work ethic and desire to give back to their engineering peers left a positive impression.

“The IEEE USF Student Branch are my heroes and awesome role models for their peers. During the pandemic, they stepped up and in addition to selling the various lab kits following COVID safety protocols, they also took responsibility for distributing the lab hardware purchased by the department and loaned to students to facilitate online learning. They are demonstrating their true leadership qualities by reinvesting the funds they raise through their various activities in a new electrical engineering scholarship that will benefit new students. They are setting the bar very high, and I look forward to future IEEE student leaders continuing to raise that bar,” said Ferekides. 

Donate to the IEEE USF Student Branch Leadership Scholarship today!

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