Gold standard

Wright State’s industrial engineering student chapter wins gold again

From left: The Wright State Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers student chapter Adviser Pratik Parikh and students Amy Reed, Kaitlyn Ellison, Sagar Hirpara and Susan Sebastian. (Photo by Erin Pence)

They have watched robots work their magic during a rare tour of a highly sophisticated auto assembly plant. They have seen a company use 3D printers to produce manufacturing products. And they have rubbed elbows and networked with professional engineers.

It’s all in a year’s work for Wright State University’s Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) student chapter, which has been awarded the highest — Gold Chapter — status for the seventh straight year.

Pratik Parikh, professor of industrial and systems engineering and the club’s adviser, said having the IISE student chapter enriches the engineering experience at Wright State.

“We have an enthusiastic bunch of folks here,” he said. “They care about the profession. They care about the value the chapter brings in. Being ‘gold’ means the chapter is doing most of the things suggested by the IISE professional society in an outstanding manner.”

Prior to 2012, the chapter was in the “red” inactive status with only five members, $500 in funds and no clear direction of growth. Since 2012, with the help of a few enthusiastic juniors and seniors and Parikh as the new adviser, it experienced a tremendous turnaround.

The chapter’s annual budget has increased to more than $10,000. It currently has more than 30 members and over the past four years has had total membership of over 150.

To attain gold status, the student chapter had to meet a set of standards set by the professional society that revolves around being able to offer opportunities for learning, networking and a sense of being part of the engineering community.

The chapter has hosted events every semester that enable new students to meet faculty and it has linked the students with the Dayton and Cincinnati professional chapter at events to broaden the students’ networks.

Chapter members have raised funds to send future leaders to the annual conference in order to bring back ideas and have been invited twice to present at a best practices session during the conferences.

Members have spoken at local high schools to tell the next generation about industrial and systems engineering. They have also volunteered at a food bank.

About 10 members of the chapter were able to tour the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, earlier this year. Kaitlyn Ellison, chapter president, was impressed with the precision of the robotics and the level of innovation, programming and engineering it took to achieve that.

“The members were asking questions and were very engaged,” said Ellison. “So it was a good learning experience.”

Industrial and systems engineers have their hand in virtually every kind of business, from designing products to getting them to the market, through creative application of mathematics, science, business and human factors skills. They analyze and optimize complex systems, keeping in mind the role humans play in such systems.

“Professional organizations such as IISE are invaluable resources for the career development and lifelong learning of engineers in the U.S. and globally,” said Brian Rigling, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “I appreciate Professor Parikh’s dedication in advising these students and his commitment to their success.  They should take pride in having built a thriving organization.”

Wright State’s student chapter focuses on learning more about manufacturing processes but also touches on data analytics and supply chain management.

Sagar Hirpara, who is pursuing his Ph.D. in industrial and human factors engineering, said the chapter enables newly admitted undergraduates and graduate engineering students to meet professors they normally wouldn’t meet until later in their program and learn about research opportunities.

“You meet the professors and see what they do and you also meet other students who have similar goals and aspirations,” added Susan Sebastian, a junior and secretary of the chapter.

Hirpara said meeting professional engineers from manufacturing, medical, retail, energy and other industries gives students a real world look at their possible futures and brings with it possible job offers.

“The main reason this chapter was formed was for networking and getting a professional experience at a student level,” said Ellison. “A lot of our students need co-ops, internships. They want to stand out. They want to build up their résumés. That is what this club tries to do.”

Amy Reed of Zanesville, past president of the club, said that in recent years the student chapter has worked more closely with the Dayton and Cincinnati professional chapter and doing joint events.

“Just getting students networking with those professional members really makes the difference because then that student gets to talk to them and hear their story and hear what they did,” she said.

Some of the key chapter leaders from the past include Elizabeth Crawford, B.S. 2012, M.S. 2014; Nicholas Ballester, B.S. 2013, Ph.D. 2017; Stephanie Martens, B.S. 2015; Jessy Eid, B.S. 2017, M.S. 2018; Logan Mamer, B.S. 2017; Anoop Chunchu, M.S. 2017; Sainath Daakuri, M.S. 2017; Monit Vaishav, M.S. 2019; and Amy Reed, Melissa Wahl and Yen Nguyen, all on track to earn their B.S. in 2020.

For more information about the IISE student chapter, visit

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