History of SPAC

The Student Professional Awareness Conference (SPAC) Program exists as a result of mavericks who persevered in a mission on behalf of student career needs. It was developed for students who aspired to make engineering a life-long career in a period when engineering was changing drastically and employment environments deviated from professionalism.

The idea for SPACs was initiated at a Student Activities Committee Meeting in 1976. Student member S. J. Malysko asked a simple question, “What is IEEE doing for students in its new Professional Activities Program — PAP?” The answer was, “Not very much.”

As an industrial representative of SAC, Larry Dwon proposed that a SAC sub-committee be established to develop an effective student activity within IEEE PAP. A sub-committee of Larry Dwon, B. Prasad, S. J. Malysko, and E. Tichy was established with Larry as the chairman. Under Larry’s leadership, the SPAC Program was conceived and structured. The foundation for SPACs was Larry’s long experience with pre-college engineering guidance programs within IEEE, the Engineers Council for Professional development (ECPD), and activities associated with Age Discrimination and Engineering Education and Accreditation. The results of this sub-committee was a proposal to provide a new student program to the United States Activities Board (USAB) for their consideration.

In the 40 years (1979-2019) of this program, over 1,000 SPAC events and their derivitves have been hosted for thousands of students at over 188 different Colleges and Universities in Regions 1-6. Regions 7-10 have also completed many conferences under the support of the Regional Activities Board and the Student Activities Committee.

As an experienced maverick, Larry’s foresight and deliberate perseverance made it possible to establish a non-technical program for students in an organization that is primarily focused on technical issues. Thousands of students and practicing professionals have greatly enhanced their careers by participating in these programs.


Committee Chair
Robert Vice

Vice Chair
Taylor Barto

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