Student leaders from USC’s Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) took part in a tour of the Seattle campuses of some of the world’s leaders in technology and aerospace during the summer vacation, with support from Microsoft.
IISE Communications Officer Alexia Romani said the delegation had the opportunity to view state of the art facilities at Microsoft and Boeing, gaining insights into the vital contributions of industrial engineers at both industry giants.
The IISE group was hosted by Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering alumna Kelly Babigian ’18, who was former president of the USC IISE chapter, and is currently a Strategic Sourcing Engineer at Microsoft. At Boeing, the team was hosted by alumnus Alex Coco ’16, a Software Engineer with the Boeing Research & Technology Advanced Production and Inspection team
The visit began at Microsoft’s Redmond campus with a tour of the Next Space Center, formerly the Envisioning Center, an interactive prototyping lab and showcase of future home and workplace technology in action.
“There was a lot of focus on AI and how it would perform in the future, in your daily life, within your house, and your workspace. It was honestly so futuristic, it was hard to believe,” Romani said.
She said the delegation took part in panel discussions with industrial engineers at Microsoft, learning about the cloud team and hearing from those working on devices, as well as project managers, data analysts and recent graduates working at the company.
“No matter your age, they really want to give you a lot of responsibility and autonomy right off the bat,” Romani said. “Your ideas really matter and that was really eye opening to me, because ideally, I want to end up in a space where this is the culture.”
The team was also invited to tour the facilities at Boeing’s Everett, Washington factory, the world’s largest building by volume and the production lines for 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner airplanes.
Romani said that the visit was an invaluable opportunity for the IISE team to make high level industry connections that would hopefully lead to future partnership opportunities to benefit the organization, saying IISE hoped to extend industry site visit opportunities to the broader membership soon.
“I’m a sophomore, and this was the summer after my freshman year. There’s no way I would have done anything like this anytime in the near future if I weren’t a part of IISE,” she said. “You can read about positions online, and you can talk to people from different companies, but you’re really only going to get that sense of the true company culture if you’re visiting.”
Romani said that the visit highlighted the wealth of career opportunities for those studying industrial and systems engineering majors.
“I think that’s my favorite part about ISE. Our major really opens up doors to nearly any industry,” Romani said. “People end up working in the film industry, they work in design and especially at Microsoft, they really demonstrated how, with that major, you can end up in any sector of the company that you choose.”