by Emma Hopson
2018–2019 National TSA Treasurer
Being a part of the Technology Student Association (TSA) involves more than competing in events at the state and national levels. Being a student member means making connections—whether with students from other schools in your state, other states, or another country—and networking with business and industry. From my experience in TSA, I have found that connections made through TSA have had the most impact on my future.
Last year while serving as the Colorado TSA treasurer, I was invited to attend the Joint 8-on-8 meeting of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) (pronounced “Sammy”) in Colorado Springs. SAME is an organization full of highly skilled and successful professional engineers. Just like TSA, SAME is an organization for people with the same interests and passions to gather and interact. SAME focuses on collaborating to resolve issues relating to different engineering fields. This group is also about bettering the community, which includes working with the youth of our country.
During the Joint 8-on-8 meeting, I had the honor of giving a speech on the behalf of Colorado TSA to explain TSA, how it impacts the lives of our members, and how SAME can become involved by providing financial support, judges for competitions, or mentoring TSA student members. Amazingly, we had several SAME members approach our table during the meeting. And that day, dozens of engineers signed up to judge at our state conference and many more expressed an interest in giving financial aid and talking to students about projects.
My favorite part of this event was meeting all of the different engineers and leaders at SAME. Considering my career goal is to become an astronaut, it was inspiring to meet several aeronautical engineers. Everyone I talked to was invested in helping me learn the steps to becoming an astronaut. They referred me to other people with more knowledge and organizations and programs that would extend my chances of success.
One of the most influential people I met at the SAME event is a colonel at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. When he heard I am interested in becoming a pilot and astronaut, he invited the entire Colorado TSA officer team to take a private tour of the academy. On the tour, my eyes were opened to how many different pathways are available. It was astonishing to see all the classrooms, labs, and recreational areas. This was an experience that changed my life and how I think about my future.
I encourage all TSA student members to become involved with their local SAME posts. Your chapter could benefit from experienced SAME judges at TSA conferences, SAME mentorship for TSA projects, and beneficial connections in the future.