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Sophomore chemistry major attends SASE National Conference through Professional Development Fund 

By Maya Brown

Amy Ngo, a sophomore chemistry major at Stony Brook University, attended the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) National Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from Oct. 10-12. 

Ngo was able to attend the largest conference and career fair for Asian Americans in the United States with the help of the Career Center through the Professional Development Fund, which was created to help undergraduate students take advantage of career-related professional development opportunities. 

“Th e SASE National Conference has been truly memorable for me, especially since it was the first conference I ever attended. Every event of the conference was very informative for me, where I rigorously took notes in my notepad throughout those two days, ” she said. 

Ngo reflected on some of the “interactive” workshops she participated in during the conference. She shared that t he workshops were interactive and led by leaders who would later become her role-models. 

One workshop, “Black Belt Interview Skills,” was led by Cyndy Yu Robinson, the Executive Director of the National Association of Asian American Professionals. During the workshop, Robinson gave tips on correct posture when a person is sitting and standing. Ngo found it interesting when she was called on stage to demonstrate to the room what good posture is. Along with the demonstration, Robinson went over the timeline of the interview process. “Rather than lecturing the room, she allowed students to practice with those around them,” she said.

Off of the connection that Ngo felt had formed with Robinson, she spoke to her and inquired on advice for what to do when entering an interview. “You have to be as bold as your hair!” Robinson told her. Ngo shared that Robinson also told her to use her fearlessness and highlight it during interviews. “Those words have inspired me to not be afraid to stand out professionally and also socially, as I was a bit queasy about how my blue hair would attract so much attention,” Ngo said. 

The workshop also gave Ngo an opportunity to network with other students and professionals in her field. “I realized that everyone at the SASE National Conference shares the same passion for becoming a leader in the science and engineering fields and these are the types of people I would love to connect with professionally,” Ngo said.

Conferences tend to help give students a larger outlook on both their career and future. This conference gave Ngo the opportunity to get feedback on her current work, to network with others in her field, to improve her communication skills, to refine her ideas and most importantly, to have fun and learn. Through the Professional Development Fund, Ngo was able to get this unique experience. 

Eligibility for the award begins with being a full-time matriculated undergraduate at U2, U3, or U4 levels; completing at least one semester; having good academic standing with a minimum overall GPA of 2.85 and demonstrating a financial need. 

If you meet the requirements, take that leap and apply so you can also have a unique professional experience.