Kalbfleish and Beebe present in Boston

July 24, 2018

 On July 18th, Civil and Environmental Engineering Juniors Alex Delgado Beebe and Kathryn Kalbfleisch presented as semi-finalists in the Go Green In The City Contest hosted by Schneider Electric. You can read about their process and involvement in our story entitled Duo selected as semi-finalists for Go Green in the City. While there, Kalbfleisch kept a daily journal, highlighting the student experiences in presenting.  

Day 1

Due to bad weather in the Boston area, all seven North American teams had trouble flying in. For Alex and me, our original flight was canceled, we re-booked twice, and then we were delayed on a runway in Philly for almost 3 hours. We used that time to read over our presentation script. The travel complications were a little nerve-racking, but it also helped break the ice with the other competitors. We knew that everyone else was having the same problems because the group chat was full of questions for the schedule coordinators.

Once we finally made it to Boston, we went to a networking event with the other competitors and some Schneider Electric employees. Back at the hotel, we practiced our presentation a few times. We knew that we’d have an early morning and that we would be first to present.

Day 2

Each team had 15 minutes to give a presentation followed by 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges, who were Schneider Electric employees. We presented first, which worked well for us. If we had presented later in the day, we would have likely compared ourselves to the other presenters and gotten nervous. By going first, we were able to enjoy the rest of the day. We learned a lot by listening to the other presentations and by participating in all the Schneider Electric events, which included panels from employees and leaders as well as information about their projects and facilities.

Our presentation and Q&A went well. We were able to present as smoothly as we had practiced. By her questions, we could tell one judge in particular was very interested in our project. In fact, at the end of the day, she told us how much she valued our project and how she had been making a case for us during the judges’ deliberation. A few of our competitors were very interested as well. One of the students from Mexico had experienced similar problems regarding the disconnect between academia and industry, and he was interested in potentially pursuing the project with us in the future.

Day 3

Ultimately, we’re very satisfied by the experience. I think we could tell throughout the day that we wouldn’t advance to the finals – many of the other projects were simply much more compatible with Schneider Electric as a company. However, we were able to make a lot of great connections for the future. Given positive feedback from university faculty as well as people at the Semi-Finals, we’re considering building a team and pursuing the idea further.