Top 10 Things to Expect at the SoACE Conference

Are you excited for the upcoming conference?  I don’t know about you but I sure am.  Last year, we had a great time in Fort Lauderdale.  This year, we will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of SoACE.  We’re returning to the city where it all began…San Antonio!  Here are 10 things to expect at this year’s conference.

  1. Lots of Networking – SoACE is a great opportunity to meet new colleagues and reconnect with old ones.  Bring lots of business cards and be open to making new friends.
  2. Great programs – We have tons of amazing breakout sessions planned for attendees this year.  This is a great way to learn about best practices within our field and apply them to our offices.  Be sure to check out the listing ahead of time to decide which sessions you’d like to attend.
  3. Fun – In addition to all of the professional development opportunities, SoACE is a lot of fun.  Our members love what they do and have fun doing it.
  4. Opportunities to be active – Make sure you pack your exercise gear!  There are a number of activities planned to keep you active during the conference.  Participate in the low impact aerobics on Monday morning and/or the fun run along the Riverwalk on Tuesday morning.  If organized activities aren’t your thing, the conference hotel has a great gym that’s open 24/7 with free weights, cardio machines, and indoor/outdoor pool (pool is open from 6:30am-11pm).
  5. Volunteer – You have several ways to help out with the conference.  You can serve as a room host, assist with guiding individuals to the Tuesday night reception, and/or collect tickets at the start of various conference events.  If you are interested in serving as a room host, contact Andrew Harper at andrewh@stedwards.edu.  To assist in the other capacities, contact Emmanuela Stanislaus at estanisl@fiu.edu.
  6. Chance to give back (through philanthropic initiative) – Each year, we attempt to connect with a local organization in our conference host city to help with their efforts.  This year, we have partnered with The DoSeum which is a premiere children’s museum with engaging STEM-based exhibits that inspire active learning through inquiry and play.  Their work relates with what we do in career services as they try to meet the challenges of the 21st century workforce to meet the need of more STEM professionals.  Please consider donating to this organization by clicking here.
  7. Great exhibitors – We have some great exhibitors as a part of the conference this year.  Make sure you stop by the exhibitor booths to learn more about their services and how they can make your operations more efficient.  Be sure to also tell them “thanks”.  Exhibitors help keep the conference costs lowered, so our offices can have affordable access to this annual conference.
  8. A great city to explore – San Antonio in December is such a magical experience.  Take in the beauty of the holiday lights along the Riverwalk during this time or partake in other local attractions.
  9. President’s Reception – Join us for a “Denim and Diamonds” themed reception on Sunday night.  This is a fun event to welcome you to the city of San Antonio.  Please note that the western attire is optional.
  10. Tuesday Evening Event – Get ready for an unforgettable Tuesday night event at La Villita.  We will be highlighting the vibrant San Antonio culture with the “Night in Old San Antonio” theme.  Additionally, The Spazmatics  will be our featured band to provide us entertainment for the evening.  We’re calling this an 80s Fiesta.  Bring your energy for this fun filled night.

What are you excited the most about?  Looking forward to seeing everyone in San Antonio!

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.