A new addition to the BE Program at SIAM CSE17 was the Paving the Road Ahead Workshop. This workshop, led by Melissa Abdelbaky and Blake Lohn-Wiley, served as an extension to the content presented in the Pathways to Success Workshop. Centering on the concept of lifelong learning, this workshop helped participants identify why goals alone sometimes don’t get them where they want to go.
A major focus of the workshop was to expand on goal setting by helping participants create a vision for their future. According to Abdelbaky and Lohn-Wiley, a future vision is more flexible than goals when it comes to overcoming obstacles that might unexpectedly arise. To support this idea and help participants create their future vision, Abdelbaky and Lohn-Wiley shared their past experiences and discussed things they wish they would have known when starting out as young professionals. They also shared advice about using resources and professional networks to meet goals and follow visions. To emphasize the key ideas of the workshop, participants took part in an activity to create a “Vision Board” using materials such as glue, scissors, paper, washi tape, and magazines.
Each Vision Board was unique, and included cut outs and drawings that served to visualize the individual’s future pathways. To conclude the workshop, attendees were encouraged to create an affirmation card to take home with them to keep the inspiration flowing. The post-conference survey results showed that the Paving the Road Ahead workshop was effective and inspiring, with the average rating of the workshop being a 4.72/5. This workshop turned out to be a great complement to the Pathways to Success Workshop, and will likely be continued to BE Programs in the future!