The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Student-run Series in M5 Attracts 300 Techies to 22 Tech Talks

Jordan Kaplan

Jordan Kaplan

“Come to M5 for Tech Talks and Workshops by Facebook, Dropbox, Intel, Fitbit, Circuitmaker, OpenBCI, Pair, RSA, Autodesk, Barnstorm Studio, and many more to come!” It is any tech-driven student’s ultimate dream.

This is all part of the vision for the UMass Tech Talk Series, a totally student-run initiative that was presented throughout the spring semester in M5, the official makerspace of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. During that time, M5 hosted 22 Tech Talks attended by nearly 300 participants. It was an extravaganza of high-tech talking at its best. See the Facebook link to UMass Tech Talk Series and Summary of the Series.

“The goal of the series is to create an opportunity for students to learn new skills and connect with companies from a technical standpoint instead of a recruitment standpoint,” says ECE undergrad Jordan Kaplan, who has spearheaded the ongoing Tech Talk Series.

In addition to Kaplan, the other Tech Talk team members who run the series are UMass Amherst students Joshua Gallant, Sagar Arora, Josh Darling, and Monark Modi.

The continuing series is a chance to network with and learn from representatives of some of the top tech companies worldwide. In addition to the companies listed above, some of the others that presented Tech Talks during the Spring of 2016 were Google, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Oracle, TD Ameritrade, Strap, Clarifai, Voptop, and Microsoft (Azure).

The industry professionals covered topics ranging from augmented reality, 3D Printing, PCB milling, and PCB software to high density wifi design, web development, automation, and computer-aided design.

As Darling says, “It gives you unprecedented access into the mindset of people who have already made it into the industry of their choice.”

According to the series website, the rationale for starting the UMass Tech Talks goes like this: “The world is changing faster every day, and no one is better able to take advantage of this change than you. Here in college, you’re never too far from a classmate who’s been there or a professor who’s at the top of their field. But what if you could get even closer to the center of the action? What if you could meet real industry professionals who work every day on the technologies that are building the future?”

The sponsors of the Tech Talk Series represent a checklist of forward-thinking organizations on campus: ACM, BSI, Hackers of UMass, HKN, IEEE, and M5.

Who could resist all of these inducements? Look for a new round of UMass Tech Talks beginning in the fall semester of 2016. (May 2016)