Texas A&M Engineering SoundBytes

Just a SEC - New student hosts and SEC's Marketing Chair (Featuring Brianna Navas)

November 02, 2021 Texas A&M Podcast Network Season 3 Episode 6
Texas A&M Engineering SoundBytes
Just a SEC - New student hosts and SEC's Marketing Chair (Featuring Brianna Navas)
Show Notes Transcript

SoundBytes is saying "Howdy!" to two new student hosts and interviewing one of them as we explore the role of the Student Engineers' Council's Marketing Chair - a position that uniquely combines engineering with art and business. Tenured host Drew DeHaven returns to pass the mic to new hosts Leanne Khashab and Brianna Navas on this episode of Just a SEC.

Drew DeHaven:

Howdy and welcome to Just a SEC, the segment where we discuss how to succeed both professionally and academically at Texas A&M University. On today's segment, we have some exciting new developments. We're introducing a new host that will be joining us for the next year and we're very excited about having her on. And together we'll also be interviewing Bri Navas, the SEC Marketing Chair and computer science major. We will talk with her about how she combines her passion with her studies and all the lessons that she has learned through leadership. We have a lot to get through today. So let's get started. I'll go ahead and let the new host introduce herself.

Leanne Khashab:

My name is Leanne Khashab. I'm a current junior in computer science. I'm just excited to be here and get to work with Drew on Just a SEC.

Drew DeHaven:

So today, we are interviewing a very special guest, I will let her introduce herself as well.

Bri Navas:

Howdy, my name is Brianna Navas. I go by Bri as well. And I am a marketing co-chair for the Student Engineers' Council here at Texas A&M. I am also Class of 2023, computer science. And, yeah, really excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Drew DeHaven:

Awesome, of course. And for those that don't know, since we are still fresh into the season, for any new listeners, Just a SEC episodes specifically tie in with SEC, especially with with their areas of personal and professional development. And, so, we try to cater those episodes towards that. But, Bri, could you explain to us what SEC is, for those that might not know?

Bri Navas:

Yeah, so SEC, or Student Engineers' Council, works really closely with the College of Engineering to do three main things. So they have three pillars where they represent the voice of engineering students at A&M, so things like the student survey that the engineers get; they will work closely with the College of Engineering to get those results to them. Also promoting professional development among the members of SEC, and College of Engineering. So, we run the career fair and other events like industry nights to get students to develop professionally. And, in addition to that, the third pillar is engineering awareness. So more about, like, just making people aware of engineering as a major as a whole. And we have a lot of events like that, like E-Week is done, Engineers Week, to promote, I guess, yeah, engineering awareness. But a lot of the events at the College of Engineering are put on by the SEC. And, like, a lot of things I didn't know were put on by the SEC until I joined. And it was just very much like, "oh, my gosh, we do that. We do that, too." So there's definitely a lot going on behind the scenes, but it's a student run organization, which is pretty impressive.

Leanne Khashab:

What role exactly do you play in the SEC?

Bri Navas:

Right. So in SEC, I am a marketing co-chair. That is part of the Executive Council in SEC. So, for me, particularly, I have a co-chair that I work with. His name is Joseph. Super cool. And we run the Marketing Committee. And what the Marketing Committee does, if you want the bylaw definition, we creatively and effectively promote events put on by the College of Engineering and SEC. But what that, like, really means is there's a lot of different pieces of it. So, for example, we do social media marketing, we run all the social medias, but also if the other committees in SEC, so let's say the E-Week committee wants their event promoted, they will come to us and ask, "Hey, can we have a flyer? Can we have some banners?" things like that. And we will create marketing materials for them. In addition, we also do engineering apparel and SEC apparel. So we sell t-shirts and things like that, that say, like, TAMU engineering. Also, this semester, we're working on branding for the SEC. That was something my co-chair and I really discussed we wanted to emphasize. With branding for the SEC... So, you know, we didn't really have, like, an established theme other than our mission statement. And, so, we want to kind of define a color scheme, typography and really kind of create a brand for the SEC. And, so, what we're trying to take with that is, I think, a lot of people have the idea that SEC is very, like, business and professional and we don't have any fun because we're so business and professional. But what my co-chair and I really want to get across is the point that professional doesn't always mean serious. And that was a quote that was said by our president and I really... I took that to heart, because I think that's very true. And we want to create that with our new brand. That in SEC, we can be professional but it doesn't mean you have to be uptight all the time.

Drew DeHaven:

Marketing, for me, is a very intimidating thing because you have to convince people to spend their time and/or attention on you or on your organization. And that can be a hard thing to do. So what are some keys that you have found to make marketing work and what are are some lessons that you've learned from things that don't work when it comes to marketing?

Bri Navas:

Yeah, that's a really good question and I think that's very true. A business is only as successful as its marketing. Like, if you take, for example, Apple and Samsung, you know, you really see that stark difference between the two companies and their success in selling a product just because of the marketing alone. Like, regardless of the quality of the product. And, with that, kind of, like, creating marketing posts what we found are successful. So, for example, like social media, what we found is to create a effective design, for example, just have simple things like making sure the design is clean, there's no typos on it, it looks nice, it's, like, visually appealing, and things like that. And additionally, we found, like, some trends in social media posts, like what people like more and what they don't like more. So, for example, posts with pictures of people in them tend to get a lot more likes than just text.

Leanne Khashab:

So it kind of sounds like you juggle a lot of different roles. What what is your favorite part about the position that you hold? And what have you... Obviously, you kind of talked about the lessons you learned, but what is your favorite part about it?

Bri Navas:

My favorite part about it is, well, first off, I've always loved doing marketing. But what I really like about being in this position is my ability to be able to do what I love and collaborate that with an aspect of engineering. I think that a lot of people... Well, okay, so here's our philosophy. As co-chairs, like, Joseph and I very much agree on this. You don't have to necessarily be good at design to be able to create a good post. And what we really want to drive home with our committee members this year is that anyone can make a nice design. And you just have to know certain design principles to make a good design. So, for example, when people do designs... So to start making an Instagram post, you want the post to look good. So maybe you should align all of your texts the same way, maybe you should use colors with a specific color, not just randomize colors, things like tips and things like that can really help improve your design. And what my favorite part about being marketing is just really being able to, like, encourage that. So it's like taking something that I really enjoy and being able to encourage people to enjoy it as well. It's a really great part of the position. And then also, at the same time, it ties into engineering and professionalism. Because I feel like, in engineering, you don't get a lot of time to emphasize art and design. And so I think that it's a great way to be able to do so.

Drew DeHaven:

So talking about art and design. You mentioned a few times the importance of details when it comes to graphic design and marketing. Does design in any way correlate to some of the work that you've done in computer science, like, designing like user interfaces, or anything like that?

Bri Navas:

Yeah, I'm really glad you asked. So, I'm in computer science and going into computer science, they make you choose an emphasis area to graduate and you have to take non-computer science classes. So, you can be more well-rounded, you know, all of that. And I originally put video game design because I like playing games, and I made a few games in high school. And I was like, "Oh, that could be fun. You know, I might enjoy that." But then I got a summer internship with Office Depot this last summer. And I didn't really know what role I wanted to do when they were asking like, "Oh, what, particularly in computer science, are you interested in?" because I was just a product and technology intern. And they were like,"Well, is there, like, a division we can put you in?" And my friend who was also doing an Office Depot internship was like, "Oh, she likes marketing. Why don't you have her do UX?" And I've never heard of UX before this internship. But I was like, "Okay, I don't have any other choice, I'll try it out." And I found that a lot of the principles of marketing translate to UX. So, if you don't know, UX is user experience. And in, like, the technology world, that's very much the interface interactions that a person makes when using an application or a website, a lot of the principles of marketing translate over to UX. So, for example, the psychology of marketing, you have to think about what colors draw people in what kind of emotions, people quantitate with colors and that translates to UX. So, for example, people think of red as a cancellation color. And that's something in marketing to note and then also for UX. If you're thinking like, "oh, I want to make a danger button," then I will use a red button. And things like that really translate to the world of UX. And so I found that having a technical background in computer science really helped me even though I didn't code particularly over the summer, it helped me understand when I was making designs that I could have a perspective of a coder and still create something that was easy for a coder to understand, but then also tie in what I liked with marketing.

Leanne Khashab:

That's really cool. And I think an internship can definitely help show you what you really are interested in in life. Sometimes you just don't know going through school and studying computer science, then find a whole different avenue that you're interested in. And you kind of you kind of touched on saying how art is something that you're passionate about and, like, enjoyed and it s a form of showing your cr ativity. So, how does that h lp become sort of an outlet fo you while working with eng neering and studying, like.. How's that balance worked and giving you a way to kind of express some of that?

Bri Navas:

So for me, it was kind of difficult to do engineering in the beginning, because I felt like a lot of the classes that they make you take as prerequisites for other classes, like physics, and, you know, chemistry... I didn't feel like I got to expressively create myself. And it had me kind of questioning my career choice. And I was like, "Is this something I really want to do, because I feel like I've always been a very visual person?" And I'm like, "I don't have an engineering mindset." But what I found through doing SEC, and this sounds bad, but I'm like,"I'm having a bad time in engineering." But what I found through SEC is that there's a lot of camaraderie with that. It's not always easy to kind of motivate yourself to finish your degree, if that makes sense. And so it's the light at the end of the tunnel, for me, discovering that I can still do marketing for SEC, and do UX, and all these things that I can incorporate art, and still have a love for engineering. It's, like, again, it's very inspiring because I'm still able to have the motivation to complete my degree, which I think is nice. And I think that's very much encouraged in the College of Engineering, as well, because what was really interesting to me is that before I went to A&M, and we were touring Zachry, they wanted to emphasize how the art relates to engineering. So, if you've ever seen the sphere of cubes in the courtyard, that was done by, like, a German artist, and they wanted to really, like, I'm sure if you've been in Zachry, you've seen the art pieces on all the walls, and how they really wanted to incorporate art into the building. And, so, something like that really kind of inspired me to go here, just because I was like, wow, the university really cares about incorporating engineering into a array of different fields.

Drew DeHaven:

One question I had, and going back to some of the work that you've done with the marketing team, can you think of a single post or single video that you're most proud of? That you're like, "Wow, that was great"?

Bri Navas:

That's a good question. I look, I love all my work. I'm such a fan. Just kidding. But that's a good question. I want to say the marketing that I'm most proud of was for the engineering career fair. And that was in spring 2020. And so that was the second virtual career fair. And I applied to be a part of the career fair committee and I got in and I was able to do marketing for them. And that was a lot of fun. Because as you know, not to flex or anything, but the SEC Engineering Career Fair is the largest student-run career fair in the nation. And, so, just being able to be a part of that team, first of all, was super neat. But then being able to market it, even though the fair was virtual, being able to market it to the students and seeing the impact it has on students, because I'm, like,"we're helping people get jobs just by advertising the career fair." That was a very real-world application of my work. And, so, when we were putting those yard signs out for the career fair, I just felt very like, "oh my gosh, I'm making an impact on the College of Engineering and other engineers," and things like that. I think that's why it's my favorite project that I've done.

Drew DeHaven:

We heard a little bit about who you are, like on paper, like, things you do and what you're involved in. But who are you like off paper? Like, what are you interested in? Or like, what drives you? What motivates you?

Bri Navas:

Oh, wow, that's deep. I'm like, "do I want to give you I want to give you the job interview question, or do I want to..?" Well, I'll tell you what, when I joined SEC, one of the reasons I joined SEC, was because I wanted to make an impact on the College of Engineering. And I wanted to make an impact on other students at A&M. And I feel like I am doing a pretty good job of reaching that goal so far. Just because and, this is what motivates me, is because when I'm doing marketing, just seeing the physical advertisements that we make, so, for example, like digital signage, when I see that it makes me like... It's like a little serotonin because, like, I see my impact on the College of Engineering. When I do career fair, it's, like, I see that I'm helping people get jobs. And at the end of the day, it makes, like, the work - even though it was a lot of work to put on the career fair - it made it all worthwhile, because I'm, like... That's making an impact. And I think those kinds of things drive me to continue being a member of SEC and why I'm so passionate about it.

Hannah Conrad:

Thanks for listening to the Texas A&M Engineering SoundBytes podcast. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Texas A&M University System. SoundBytes is part of the Texas A&M Podcast Network. To find more official Texas A&M podcasts go to podcast.tamu.edu