Fall 2016: Dinner with the Deans

Building Connections

We all have dinner everyday (well most days, at least). A customized pizza at OVT sounds even better. But a formal Thai dinner catered from Mekong with Dean of Engineering Albert Pisano in attendance? That’s something we don’t have everyday.

Dinner with the Deans is an event hosted by the TESC to present engineering organizations on campus with a one-of-a-kind opportunity: to showcase their work to some of the most revered members of the Jacobs School and the brightest engineering minds. The event begins with a tabling session (where orgs display their best projects), followed by dinner, two keynote speakers, and a networking session. Dinner with the Deans is the start of productive and mutually beneficial interactions between our very talented engineering student body and the Jacobs School authorities for project funding, partnerships, or general advice.

A student testing Virtual Reality Club’s biology classroom demo.
Triton Rocket Club’s project showcase.

Virtual Reality Club President Connor Smith and SEDS President Darren Charrier were the two keynote speakers for the event. Smith emphasized the real-world, practical applications of Virtual Reality, such as understanding what depression feels like, or learning biology interactively (inside the body), etc. Charrier displayed the first successful SEDS rocket launch into space and the SEDS partnership with NASA to build improved parts. Students and faculty were impressed with the complexity of not only the two keynote speaker projects, but also the breadth of student organization projects that showcased their work during tabling.

The event, held in Price Center East Ballroom, boasted the attendance of 45 students from 12 engineering organizations on campus, Dean Pisano, Associate Deans Elgamal, Christman, and Tynan, 4 department chairs, and 9 Jacobs faculty members. The Pad Thai and chocolate fountain were the most popular attractions of the dinner. Ryan Hill, president of TESC, outlined the goals of TESC and what he identifies as goals moving forward for not only Dinner with the Deans, but also other major events such as SD Hacks, DeCaF, and Enspire.

We were very grateful to have Sarah Lubeck from the San Diego Startup Community in attendance, a change from previous iterations of the event. The Startup Community was very impressed with the projects that were showcased and expressed interest in coming to future dinners.

TESC President Ryan Hill speaking to the attendees.

In the future, we hope to invite additional external connections, such as industry representatives, to the event. We saw major success overall with the agenda and format, and Dean Pisano was very pleased with the catered Thai food. The Dean, along with all other attendees, gave very positive feedback, and we hope to carry that momentum into future Dinner with the Deans events.