In the vibrant region of San Bernardino, Riverside, and East Los Angeles counties in California, a dedicated group of professionals strives to inspire and engage young minds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). They’re the driving force behind the Foothill Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional organization committed to advancing technological innovation and excellence.
As volunteers, the group faced the challenge of balancing work responsibilities with the need to regularly collaborate within their association, chapters, and committees. Adopting BlueJeans Meetings has greatly facilitated this collaboration, making it easier for them to increase their impact and inspire more young people to pursue STEM.
Easing Communication and Collaboration
Working as a senior executive at repair and rebuilding company Panatron, Inc., Max Cherubin struggled to find time to fulfill his duties as Chair of the IEEE Foothill Section.
“I work long hours at Panatron and that made it difficult to meet my obligations for the association,” he says.
To support Cherubin, his company has given him the flexibility to juggle his roles as Vice President and Sales Engineer at Panatron, and as Chair of the IEEE Foothill Section. “That includes letting me use my company-provided BlueJeans Meetings license to support my work with the IEEE Foothill Section.”
This has made communication and collaboration across the various IEEE Foothill Section committees and chapters much easier.
“We can convene and plan our activities without difficulty because we no longer have to travel and meet in person.”
Expanding Engagement with Young People
Having a reliable virtual meeting platform became particularly crucial during the pandemic, when lockdowns prevented the group from meeting in person.
“We quickly moved our executive committee’s monthly administrative meeting to BlueJeans and continued supporting STEM students at the six universities within the geographic area of our section,” shares Cherubin. “Our chapters and committees organized virtual events like talks by successful STEM professionals to inspire and inform members.”
This included evenings of networking and information sharing hosted by the Foothill Section Women in Engineering, giving the chapter more opportunities to reach and engage young women in STEM.
Facilitating STEM Education and Mentorship
With BlueJeans Meetings in place, the IEEE Foothill Section has inspired more young people in San Bernardino, Riverside, and East Los Angeles counties to study and pursue careers in STEM. Its chapters and committees have reached and engaged with a larger audience.
“We’ve been able to continue supporting students entering college by mentoring them and offering resources and opportunities to gain knowledge and develop skills in STEM,” says Cherubin.
Embracing Hybrid for Greater Flexibility
The IEEE Foothill Section has now embraced a hybrid meeting format on BlueJeans Meetings to facilitate both in-person and virtual participation. This setup not only offers greater flexibility and accessibility, but also caters to the preferences of older members who value face-to-face interactions, ensuring inclusivity for all participants.
“BlueJeans’ versatility shines through in these meetings by allowing us to integrate members unable to attend in person,” says Cherubin.
“The platform is great for this kind of meeting because we don’t need extra equipment and the audio and video work perfectly. We haven’t experienced any issues with virtual participants not being able to hear or see anything or join our meetings.”
BlueJeans’ closed captioning feature has likewise been very valuable for some members, especially the older ones.
“It helps them fully participate in the discussions, while the recording feature makes it easier for us to document meeting minutes accurately.”
Amplifying Efforts with BlueJeans
BlueJeans Meetings has become an essential tool for the IEEE Foothill Section, ensuring continuity of the organization’s support for young people in STEM now and in the future.
“We’re a community united in our mission to help the next generation succeed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” says Cherubin. “With BlueJeans, we can amplify our efforts and provide even more guidance and opportunities for young people to thrive in STEM.”