SEM Student Chapters
As part of our mission, SEM strongly supports and encourages many means to
assist young engineers with their careers. The Student Chapter offers an
organized vehicle where such assistance can be provided. For the student, it
offers one of the best opportunities to learn professional concepts and the
obligation of the engineer to society.
In the university environment, a
strong SEM Chapter can create an atmosphere in which the
challenges and opportunities for engineers in experimental mechanics can be realistically presented and
discussed. For SEM, the benefit of our support of
Student Chapters is to develop and nurture the future active
members and leaders of the Society.
Why Organize a Student Chapter?
Student Chapters are a primary vehicle for organized student activity. SEM
encourages the formation of Student Chapters as a means to enable students to
access activities that give an understanding of what it means to work within the
field of experimental mechanics. The Society and the SEM Education Foundation
offer various levels of financial and administrative support. See the discussion
on funding for further details.
There are many benefits that Student Chapters can offer to both students and
faculty. Here is a list of some of these benefits.
- Significantly reduced rates for Society membership
and conference fees for students. In addition, the Society has reciprocal
agreements with other societies such as SPIE, BSSM and JSEM where student
members can receive special rates to other conferences.
- The opportunity for students to develop leadership
and organizational skills as officers or committee members.
- Opportunities for social interaction and exchange of
ideas among students, faculty and other SEM members who are professionals in
their field. In addition, at the SEM Annual Conference each year the Society
sponsors a "Welcome Gathering" for students and SEM members which affords the
student an opportunity to meet and talk with many members who are among the
acknowledged experts in their fields in the world.
- The opportunity to publicize chapter activities in Experimental Techniques
and on the SEM web site, sem.org.
- Each year the SEM Education Foundation sponsors the
Student Paper Competition at the SEM Annual Conference. Students from all over
the world have the opportunity to submit papers, and if accepted, present
these papers at the conference where they are judged by a panel of SEM
members. Students whose papers are accepted for presentation receive a small
stipend to help defray expenses as well as complimentary conference
registration and a complimentary ticket to attend the Awards Luncheon. At the
awards luncheon the winners are announced and prizes distributed.
- The DeMichele Scholarship is available each year to subsidize the expenses
for a student in order to attend the IMAC Conference and present a paper.
Potential Activities for Student Chapters
- Creating interesting programs is a primary task for a
chapter. Organizing local or regional symposia is one possible activity. In
addition, the chapter can develop a list of subjects of interest to members
and work with the Faculty Advisor as well as the SEM Staff to locate people
who would be willing to deliver presentations on the topics.
- Local companies are often an excellent source for
activities with the chapter. Whether it be a visit to their facility or a
discussion with some of their practicing engineers, they are resources for
chapters and allow students to interact with members of industry.
- Activities which facilitate the interaction among students, faculty and
industrial practioners encourage the formation of mentoring partnerships.
These relationships can be invaluable for students in their career
How do I Organize a Student Chapter?
The steps to take in order to organize a student chapter are:
Upon receipt of the above information the Executive Director will obtain the
necessary approval and communicate the result to the applicant.
- Identify an SEM Member who will serve as
- Obtain written approval from the institution at which
the Chapter will be located.
- Identify the student members. It is recommended that
a chapter include at least five student members. All members must be or become
student members of SEM.
- Draft a Constitution for the Chapter. SEM
headquarters will be happy to supply an example constitution.
- Send the information obtained in steps 1-4 to the Executive Director at
What Funding is Available?
Funding and other assistance for Student Chapters is available in a number of
different forms. Some of these are listed below.
- For a new chapter, SEM will supply $75.00 plus $5.00
per member enrolled as start-up funding.
- For an existing chapter, SEM will supply, on an
annual basis, $2.00 for each student member plus $75.00 upon submission of an
annual report of the chapter’s activities by the scheduled date.
- The SEM Education Foundation is an additional source of funding for
Student Chapters. SEMEF can support such activities as symposia, etc. For full
details of how to apply for SEMEF funding, please visit the SEMEF section of
- SEM encourages Student Chapters to communicate with headquarters regarding
any other needs they might have. SEM has in the past offered support such as
free exhibit space at SEM conferences, technical and marketing literature and
publicity for chapter activities among other support.
Special funding option for Student Chapters outside of the United
The society recognizes that the requirement to remit annual dues in US
currency can be an impediment to the formation of Student Chapters outside of
the United States. Therefore, in place of points 1. and 2. above, the Society
offers the following option for Foreign Student Chapters:
The student chapter may collect the appropriate dues amount from each
student member in local currency. This money is then retained by the Chapter
and used in place of the funding supplied by SEM. Should the chapter disband,
any remaining funds become the property of the Society.
The chapter must submit completed membership forms for all student
By 15 December of each year, the chapter must submit a report of their
activities for the year and a complete accounting of funds received and
disbursed. The accounting report may be in local currency. In addition, the
chapter must supply a current list of student members. This report should be
submitted to the Executive Director of the Society.
Who Can I Contact for Assistance?
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Student Chapter
Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tom
Proulx, Executive Director (email@example.com) at:
7 School Street
Bethel, CT 06801