University Of Central Missouri ASQ Student Branch World Conference Experience

University of Central Missouri - Students at World Conference on Quality and Improvement 2018
Editors Note: This article was originally mistakenly credited to Stephanie Thompson. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. 

The Magic of Quality Connections – By Marietta Joleen Byerline

On a surprisingly sunny day last May, 12 University of Central Missouri (UCM) graduate students filed off of Seattle public transportation and into the Washington State Convention Center for an unparalleled four-day networking and learning experience. The ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement 2018 opened the students’ minds to the vast realm of possibility that is the field of quality and allowed them to make contacts with quality professionals ranging from newbie peers to decades-long veterans.

In between attending informative sessions, live case studies, world-renown keynote speeches, networking events, and facility tours, the UCM students enriched their experience by volunteering with the site committee, experiencing a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action of a world conference, and interacting with the champions who make it possible. It truly was a magical quality connection.

Three of the UCM student attendees shared how WCQI 2018 affected them:

Nelson Kahora holds a B.S. in Electronics Technology and has completed an M.S. in Industrial Management.

The World conference gave me a valuable opportunity to learn, experience, and apply quality lessons that we continue to learn in my graduate studies. The opportunity inspired me to work even harder and even refocus my career path in quality from attending the various sessions and listening to inspiring keynote speakers who instilled a great challenge: not only to continue my path in quality, but also to embrace new trends in the quality field.

I am looking forward to keeping in touch with various connections that the conference opened me to, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity. I look forward to again represent the UCM ASQ Student Branch at more events in the future that will continue to not only inspire the current students, but also embody a path for our future UCM students to emulate.

Dolapo Babalola is a mechanical engineer working on an M.S. in Industrial Management and an LSS Graduate Certificate. She is currently a graduate assistant in the School of Technology Graduate Programs.

One of the best experiences I enjoyed during the conference was the opportunity to speak with professionals from across the world and tap from their in-depth knowledge on quality. Speaking with these professionals broadened my horizon about the quality field and, not only that, it provided me with an insight that there is no process or product that cannot be made better from their shared experiences. The conversations with these professionals from healthcare, manufacturing, and government agencies on how quality problems are addressed, how to communicate quality to other employees, and gaining leadership support revealed to me that quality is a meticulous journey that must be consistent.

I was able to enjoy the conference so much because of the effort put into planning, organizing, and coordination. The QMD breakfast, conference lunch, and most importantly the networking reception at the Museum of Flight were simply amazing and a great opportunity to connect and expand my network. ASQ World Conference 2018 will remain a remarkable experience for me.

Nitish Subandh is an automation engineer with experience in the quality field. He completed his M.S. in Industrial Management and LSS Graduate Certificate, and he is now working as an automation engineer and quality supervisor. His current focus is working toward a Black Belt.

I am honored and grateful that I was part of WCQI 2018. This experience is a catapult for my career. In any young professional’s career, networking and soft-skills development are the major factors, which require polishing. I explored these factors in WCQI, whether I was having lunch with someone, attending sessions, or chatting at the ASQ division booths.

The feeling is inexpressible when you meet the authors of the materials you are studying for your career and the individuals who implemented the systems that are the industry benchmarks to date. That is what inspired me since WCQI 2017 and continues to drive me. That's not just it. Quality is not just a 9-5 job, it's a process of learning that you should never stop and you won’t stop! It builds your personality and your lifestyle.
Process improvement, lean concepts, Six Sigma – we can study technical content from many resources. However, when I look towards quality, how should I apply it, and how well I should sustain it; that I learned from these legends when they shared their experience with me.

This global experience, keynote sessions, Quality 4.0, sharing experience, mentors, etc., is a whole new world for me. Attendees can glean as much as they want from this opportunity. You will not get this whole combination of knowledge from any other platform. This knowledge is a wing for us to fly better in the future. Thank you so much for the all support, ASQ.

The level of cognizance and appreciation for this organization expressed by the UCM Student Branch members is only achievable when all levels of the organization are dedicated to facilitating and maintaining quality connections. Having positive experiences early and often ensures a long-term relationship between ASQ and its young members.

Marietta Joleen Byerline is graduate faculty in the School of Technology Graduate Programs at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO and co-advisor of the UCM Student Branch. You can reach her and the students highlighted in this article through LinkedIn.
Posted by Jerry Rice on Apr 23, 2019 10:22 PM America/Chicago

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