Mechanical Engineering Technology Students Share Perspectives on First Experiences at Industry Convention


The College of Technology encourages students to gain practical knowledge that they will be prepared to apply when they join the workforce. Exposing them to industry through major conventions like HOUSTEX, is one of the ways to excite, energize, and motivate them to learn more.

The convention is held every two years and attracts about 300 manufacturers and 6,500 attendees. Held in Houston, February 28-March 2 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, it offered unmatched opportunities for mechanical engineering technology students to interact with companies and learn about the many manufacturing processes, services and goods.

The University of Houston was represented at HOUSTEX by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Student Chapter 079, along with a group students from Texas A&M. Dr. Farouk Attia, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology and the faculty advisor for the UH SME student chapter, planned the participation of UH students with the national headquarters of SME. "Our students served as the ambassadors for SME and were instrumental in planning tours for more than 100 of local high school students, of which I am very proud," he said. "They received invaluable training and practice in leading and preparing the future’s manufacturing professionals."

Several juniors majoring in mechanical engineering technology were active participants who were eager to share their experiences. Armando Cruz, vice-chair of SME, seized the opportunity to network with many company leaders and other SME student chapters. "The multitude of companies represented and products shown was astonishing," he said. "I enjoyed the interaction with the high school students and getting them excited about careers in mechanical engineering and manufacturing."

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Christine Troung, a junior who serves as secretary of SME, said "I think that seeing is believing so, when I saw how the machines performed, I was mesmerized."

Juan Fidalgo, SME treasurer, said "I'm glad I had the opportunity to go to HOUSTEX because I met industry professionals from manufacturing companies across the nation. We also had a lot of fun helping another team run their booth and teaching younger students about basic design processes. I highly recommend that everyone from our college attend events like HOUSTEX."

Shizrae Iqbal, chair of SME, described HOUSTEX as an exciting opportunity to go beyond the textbooks and see the implementation of what is learned in the classroom.

Vivek Bodi, SME event coordinator said, "It was a life defining event that widened my perspective on the manufacturing industry, what it offers, and what I can offer to the industry."