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Professional Awareness

SPAx is a program that started as SPAA or Student Professional Awareness Programs in 1976. In the over 40 years since, thousands of events have taken place around the world. These activities are organized by IEEE Student Branches and give students a chance to listen to experienced engineers from diverse backgrounds discuss topics from various professional development categories. These activities can involve virtual and in person talks and presentations, panel sessions as well as hands-on team-oriented activities focused on giving practical, real-world engineering experience. Students propose projects through the following portal and are connected to their Regional SPAx Coordinator.

The “x” in SPAx is a variable. It could be a conference with an invited speaker, a series of activities focused on honing career skills, a social event to foster networking and team building skills, a design contest, a tech talk, or any other format, as long as they focus on career development. You decide what works for your student branch, and IEEE gives you the support to implement your ideas. You create your own SPAx events, and the experience is yours to design. Here is your tour guide to all things SPAx.

If the following are included in your SPAx event plan, it will be more likely to receive SPAx funding.

Hosting your own event is not only a fantastic experience, it is a fantastic resume booster. Try to get some real world companies to sponsor your event, and bring out some potential hiring recruiters. The possibilities are endless.

View Virtual Speaker list    Become A Virtual Speaker     Apply for funding    Report a SPAx Event

SPAx Focus Areas

  • Professional Integrity

    Ethics and engineering are fundamentally intertwined. Decisions made by engineers have a profound impact on society. Discover how to:

    • Practice ethics in a work environment that is constantly influenced by realities of globalization, financial motivation, and information overload
    • Generate or customize a framework or set of principles for ethical conduct across differing conflicts and scenarios
    • Balance professional integrity against corporate loyalty and other personal interest
  • Personal Skills

    Personal skills are as crucial as technical skills for a successful career in engineering, and paves the way for successfully navigating the business world. Discover how to:

    • Develop skills that are necessary to effectively run a meeting and manage a committee.
    • Apply the best practices for time management and priority setting of tasks
    • Better manage your online persona and learn how it can assist or affect your career
    • Plan your finances and investments
  • Engineers and Public Policy

    Decision-makers are frequently looking to engineers for advice to improve public policies. Discover:

    • How a legislation is drafted, introduced, and debated in Congress
    • The major policy issues and contentions of current interest, and why you should care
    • The role engineers play in informing and shaping public policy and how to get involved
  • Leadership in Professional Organizations

    Staying involved in a professional society adds value to your career. However, becoming a leader improves your professional net worth and profile. Discover how:

    • A professional society—such as IEEE—can help you in your professional and personal growth
    • Staying involved with a professional organization is a value to you and your profession
  • The Practice of Innovation

    Innovation is a complex theoretical concept but can be learned by practice like any other art or science. Discover how to:

    • Capitalize on your professional training and creativity to become an innovator
    • Learn from the success and failure of others
    • Incorporate elements and practices of other cultures and professions (such as arts, humanities, media, and sociology)
  • The Art of Communication

    In a world of short attention spans, it is crucial to create and communicate a message that sticks. Learning how to communicate effectively will multiply the impact of your work. Discover how to:

    • Master the art of storytelling
    • Deliver better presentations
    • Improve written communication
    • Leverage social, traditional, and other media effectively
    • Use these skills to help improve the public understanding of engineering and its impact
  • Humanitarian and Grand Challenges

    Engineers play a major role in advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Discover how to:

    • Play a role in reducing poverty and hunger, improving infrastructure, and addressing environmental and economic challenges
    • Become a global citizen and an ambassador for the engineering profession.



  • Recent SPAx Events

    Many student branches have hosted SPAx events. Here are descriptions of some events that the organizers have shared with us. Be sure to share your event reports with us, so we can include your event here as well.

    Read more

  • The SPAx Committee

    The Student Professional Activities (SPAx) Committee is responsible primarily for developing, implementing, and promoting activities among Student Members of the IEEE. This committee coordinates lists of top speakers, and funding to facilitate the hosting of a SPAx event at student branches around the world. This program has an emphasis on professional awareness, but may include broad technical topics.

    View committee Members