SASE National Conference


16 Daniel Allison

Major: Industrial Engineering
School: University of Pittsburgh

They don’t understand my story. I grew up in a low income, drug infested area with no father. I beat the odds, avoided jail and made it out. But, how? Education! Unwavering support from my mother empowered me to build a better life for us. Ever since I can remember, my mom told me that I would focus on my studies and go to college one day. Growing up with a single mother wasn’t easy. Looking back at it, I wouldn’t change it for the world because it made me into the man I am today. I was always at the top of my class. I studied diligently through high school and graduated 7th out of 250 students. I also won most involved by being a leader in a plethora of activities. This included being the golf team captain, drumline captain, class treasurer, FCCLA, and Key Club.

After graduation, I continued my education at the University of Pittsburgh. I chose this school because it was the best opportunity to grow as an individual, and it was far from home lol. The engineering program drew my attention, but the atmosphere made me want to never leave. Just like most students, I struggled through my first year. I questioned if I wanted to continue with engineering, but then I found SASE. SASE provided me with support from like-minded individuals and inspired me to keep going! The club provided me with an opportunity to develop leadership skills as the Business manager. I focused on securing funds so we could send as many students to regional and national conferences as possible. Despite my efforts, I never attended a conference. That was, until the 2016 national conference in Dallas.

Attending this conference was a great stepping stone. Networking and attending seminars provided a thrill to me like I was riding the biggest rollercoaster in the world. The conference landed in October 2016 and the final semester of my college career. After completing a co-op at General Electric, I was eager to pursue opportunities with the many companies at the Career Fair. Others went out and enjoyed the city, but I stayed in and focused on the task at hand. Then the day came, and I networked my ass off. I had a great interview with ITW, spoke with every company that I planned, and even waited 2 hours in line to talk with Lockheed Martin! Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. SASE is great because it’s not about race. We all come from different walks of life and empower each other to do better things. I work at Pepsi in Toledo, Ohio now, but when my chapter reached out to write this testament, there was no hesitation. They had my back, so I have their back. And that’s for life!

What empowers you, and how do you empower others?

Being in SASE allowed me to be inspired while do some inspiring at the same time. Great role models like Linda Zheng, Kerriane Chen, and Preethi Sankaran trusted me to be on their SASE executive board. I enjoyed working with them every day to build our school’s chapter. They gave me an opportunity to get others involved in regional/national conferences. Ultimately, it allowed me to grow as an individual. Drawing inspiration from them, I continued to inspire the younger members of SASE. I hosted a resume review, gave life advice, and had fun times with many members in our chapter. I grew up as an only child and SASE made me feel like I had sibling on the same mission as me. Moving forward, I will always be a resource for my chapter. I look forward to staying in touch with all that I’ve met along the way, and look forward to meeting many more of you. SASE doesn’t end when you leave campus and there is a comforting feeling in that. Self-Improvement never ends and the conferences always offer a chance to get out of your bubble and grow. With that being said, thank you for this opportunity. See you at a conference somewhere, sometime soon!