Last week I had the opportunity to attend Evening with Industry (EWI) events with my two favorite schools, Stanford and UC Berkeley.  (I’m not a conflicted individual; this just means that my school will win Big Game on Saturday Winking smile)  The events are organized by the collegiate sections of Society of Women Engineers (SWE), but all students are invited to attend.  This is one of the only opportunities for a student to sit down and speak with company representatives over dinner.  One student told me EWI was far better than any job fair; and coming from both sides, I’d have to agree.

Having attended EWI for several years as a student, I was excited to be on the industry side.  Going to the event was quite intimidating as a freshman, felt more comfortable as an upperclassmen with a few internships under my belt, and gave me a different perspective on long-term careers as a grad student.  I attended Stanford SWE EWI Wednesday, November 9, 2011 with XBOX Senior Design Engineer and fellow Stanford alum Jorel Hartman and Berkeley SWE EWI Thursday, November 10, 2011 with Software Development Engineer and fellow Cal alum Sharena Pari-Monasch.

At both schools, I enjoyed talking to students about my internship experiences, cool technology, and free Microsoft tools prior to sitting down at dinner and finding out more about the students.  I also got the chance to catch up with my two favorite Engineering Deans, a college roommate representing Google, fellow former Microsoft intern now at Dropbox, and childhood friend who delivered a keynote on behalf of Facebook.  The evenings also highlighted talented individuals who won scholarships sponsored by some of the companies and winners of a contest to identify the most influential individuals in tech.  The keynote speakers from Facebook and Apple delivered valuable messages of asking for feedback, negotiating, and the impact of social media and technology.  Without question, the best part of the evening was definitely getting to know the students.

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Didn’t get the chance to attend EWI?  Or did you go to EWI and want to find more info on all the cool stuff I talked about?  Or are you an engineering student looking for information, project inspiration, and free developer tools and subscriptions?  Check out the following links:

WebMatrix: Get your website up and running quickly and easily. Learn how to get started with my WebMatrix blog posts.

Kinect SDK: Build apps for the hottest game console where you are the controller.  As I shared with the students, I didn’t grow up playing video games.  The Kinect brings gaming and virtual interaction to another level and has the potential for so many other applications.  My senior project team designed and implemented a Nintendo Wiimote video game to introduce elementary school kids to engineering, so this (as well as the free tools to follow) is something you may want to look at when considering senior capstone or side project ideas.

Phone SDK: Build apps for the Windows Phone and sell them in the Marketplace.  Need a free subscription?  The earlier you can get a solid app in, the faster you can start making money.  Get a free DreamSpark account.

DreamSpark: Get free professional developer tools.

Scholarship Tips: A previous article, recently featured on the Women in Tech Blog, sharing useful tips on earning money for school and building your resume and network.  While you’re at it, check out the Microsoft scholarship.

Yummy food: This is mostly for Cal students, as most of the places listed are in or around Berkeley.

Microsoft Careers: Looking for a job or internship?  Microsoft was recently named the best place to work.  As I told many students last week, my job is pretty sweet.Smile

/STUDENT: More resources for students can be found here.