Letter from the President – Ray Rogers

Innovation & Value – Looking Forward to Our Second Decade

In 2007 I was still living and working in Florida.  Although I had been working in career services for many years, I had only been casually engaged with SACE.  The conferences were fun and provided me with a great network of colleagues in the career development and college recruiting world, but I had stopped attending SACE conferences in order to try out other professional associations that also aligned with my work and professional development needs.  I struggled to find an organization that was taking an honest look at the future of the profession, addressing the emerging issues of the day while intentionally shaping who we were becoming.

Then came the announcement that SWACE and SACE merger had happened and the 2007 San Antonio conference was to be the official kick off of this new organization.  I remember the excitement of that first conference, caught up in the energy this large group of southerners generated during the opening reception. With well over 500 attendees, we pretty much took over the Hyatt Regency that year.  Plus, we were back in my home state of Texas!  I certainly felt right at home.

The new, and not so new, organization really spoke to me, bringing all the right elements together.  It was right-sized and focused on all the areas of the field that were important to me.  SoACE sincerely wanted to support our state associations while providing excellent formal and informal ways of networking across the region. I remember feeling very energized when leaving those early SoACE conferences.  More and more, the content addressed new trends that were emerging and explored innovative ways of connecting our work to student/alum success.  It seemed to be a future-facing organization, primed to make a real difference in shaping the profession.

SoACE was then and continues to be a strong and influential regional association.  Our membership continues to grow, our pool of leaders is expansive, and our financial standing is strong.  I am proud of the work of our KG’s, our amazing conferences, our consulting programs and scholarships, and our many webinars and professional development opportunities offered throughout the year.  The theme of my SoACE experience these past ten years could well be summed up in just a couple of words, innovation and value.

Bringing the conference back to San Antonio for our 10-year anniversary seems fitting in many ways.  Thanks to the numerous talented and generous individuals who contributed to what our association has become.  2017 seems like an appropriate time to stop, reflect and congratulate ourselves on all that has been achieved.  And, for me, it is also a commitment that we will keep moving forward.

I look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio next month.

Ray Rogers
2017-18 SoACE President
St. Edward’s University

Creating Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders One Child at a Time

We hope you are getting excited about this year’s SoACE conference!  In prior conferences, we have performed a community service project during the first day of the conference.  This year we want to provide a different approach on how we can positively impact the community of our conference city.  San Antonio’s Museum for Kids (The DoSeum) was selected as the conference’s community partner this year based on their work on engaging children in learning and discovery through informal learning opportunities.  You may have likely seen future workforce studies that cite the need for increased numbers needed in the STEM fields.  The DoSeum is doing what they can to address this issue by introducing STEM educational experiences with the hope this spark will ignite a passion in STEM for early learners 0-11 years old.  The majority of The DoSeum’s programming focuses on Title I school students, their caregivers, and educators.  Title I schools are organizations with high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.  Through their charitable activities, The DoSeum underwrites field trips, delivers school-based afterschool programming, and facilitates professional development for educators in order to help children learn more about the STEM field through physical and cognitive activities.  Helping children learn more about the world of STEM will assist them with the foundation of a career plan that invokes their genuine interests and love of what they find stimulating in life.

So how can we help?  During the conference, we will hear directly from DoSeum representatives and will be given an opportunity to support the amazing work they are doing.  It does not have to be much, but if everyone made a small monetary contribution, it would make a measurable impact in lives of the children of San Antonio.  You can also help by sharing their story with your circle of influence when the conference is over.  With a projected need of over 1 million more STEM professionals over the next decade, any contribution will help make a difference in building this vital part of tomorrow’s workforce.

You do not have to wait until the conference to donate to this great cause. Visit this link to contribute today.

You can also help The DoSeum by responding to the following survey. The survey is designed to learn how informal educational programs helped shape you! By providing your personal feedback, The DoSeum will be able to enhance their own programming and initiatives.