Technology Student Associationlhead
1914 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
703/758-4852 fax

School Scene

Winter 2013

January 2013 - Vol 7, Issue 1
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Follow us on Twitter
View our videos on YouTube

In This Issue
Running for National Office, by Dhruv Pillai, National TSA President
The 35th National TSA Conference, by Trevor Dixon, National TSA Vice President
TSA "High 5" Program, by Kathleen Capdesuner, National TSA Secretary
The Basics to Fundraising, by Kaitlyn Beans, National TSA Treasurer
First Prize, Anyone, by Tess McNerlin, National TSA Reporter
Social Media, by Gus White, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms
Meet National TSA's Social Media Consultant

Running for National Office

By Dhruv Pillai, National TSA President


National officer candidates often utilize many of the same tools that politicians use when campaigning.  Candidates deliver speeches in front of packed crowds, discuss their platforms, and generate promotional materials for distribution.  I strongly believe the campaign trail experience has been one of the most valuable experiences of my TSA career.  Campaigning has given me the opportunity to speak in front of 5,000 people!  I plan on pursuing policy-making as a politician and I believe that the skills cultivated from running for state and national offices will help me immensely in this goal.  Additionally, public speaking skills are an invaluable attribute that will be useful in whatever career you pursue. 

If you would like the experience of running for a national officer and would like to make your mark on TSA, then the process starts now. Applications are available and instructions can be found at  Make sure to keep an eye on the deadlines as there are several important due dates to note.  First, you will want to formulate a clear idea of your campaign theme:  build your platform by outlining and formulating plans if elected to your position.  Develop a speech to engage the members at the conference before you start designing fancy displays.  Although a professional campaign booth can be beneficial, it is equally important to be able to reach out to people and answer their questions.  Additionally, there is no need to spend lots of money on campaign materials; delegates and members will be able to look past a cool handout and focus more on the person and the policies for which they are voting.

Once elected, serving as a national officer can be a lot of work.  Officers must communicate through townships and time zones in order to follow through on initiatives and the year's adopted Plan of Work.  There will also be face-to-face meetings for which school will be missed.  But for me, it never feels like work.  The national officer team is surrounded by extremely supportive advisors and through our service, the national officer team has grown to be close friends.  Additionally, you are frequently working on projects to which you have a personal connection.  I cannot speak more highly of my experience so far.  If you are undecided, my advice would be to run for the office of your choice.  The experience of stepping outside your comfort zone to pursue a national TSA office is one that will make a lasting and rewarding impression. 

Just do it.  You won't be disappointed.



The 35th National TSA Conference

By Trevor Dixon, National TSA Vice President 


As the second semester of this year begins, it can mean several different things for us as students: restocking on school supplies, spending nights on homework again, and, of course, looking forward to the end of the semester. Additionally, we as TSA members also enjoy the spring semester because it is the season for conferences.  In the next few months, countless state conferences will be held around the country, and TSA competitions of 2013 will get underway.  Be prepared and get all that you can out of your regional and state conferences!

Once the semester is over and state conferences have passed, the 2013 national TSA conference will be held in the summer.  This year, we are visiting Orlando, Florida, a popular TSA conference site, most recently the 2008 national TSA conference.  We are fortunate to be returning to the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, an historically favorite spot for many long time TSA conference attendees.

The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort offers an incredible site for our conference, with nearly two million square feet of space complete with pools, stores, restaurants, and impressive architecture and landscaping.  Each of the 1,500 guest rooms includes a 32-inch flat screen television.  The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort's location only makes the site more appealing; the conference center is less than five minutes from SeaWorld Orlando, less than ten minutes from Universal Studios Florida and Wet n' Wild, and only ten minutes from the Orlando International Airport.  Considering the nearby attractions, your chapter may want to consider staying an extra day at the hotel in order to see and experience all that you can.

As this year's conference theme is "A Tradition of Excellence," the membership will spend the week both celebrating and continuing the proud history of our organization.  We will reflect on the great success of this association since its original founding as AIASA in 1978.  However, we will not limit our reflections to the history of the organization.  As TSA continues to strive and grow every day, along with our industry that becomes increasingly more relevant, the most important time for the Technology Student Association is now, and the members who attend and compete at the 2013 national TSA conference will become an essential part of TSA's "tradition of excellence."

Held from June 28 to July 2, 2013, the conference will be composed of five event-packed days with seemingly endless opportunities to maximize your TSA experience.  Each day will begin with a general session in the resort's enormous ballroom, which will be followed by TSA middle and high school competitive events. This is where the highest level of competition meets to see who has best spent this year "learning to live in a technical world."  Do not miss this one-of-a-kind chance to see how your projects and presentations stack up against the best of the best in the Technology Student Association.

The 2013 national TSA conference will be here before you know it.  So start getting prepared and being excited.  It might be you, standing on stage, holding the national first place trophy for your favorite event.  You won't want to miss the 2013 national TSA conference in Orlando, Florida!




TSA "High 5" Program

By Kathleen Capdesuner, National TSA Secretary


The Technology Student Association is an organization that focuses on the development of tomorrow's leaders through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs.  Last year, as a national officer candidate, I saw the potential for a new TSA program called "High 5."  The concept of the program is to expose elementary students to the world of TSA.  The idea of "High 5" is to create a tool kit that TSA chapters can utilize to recruit rising middle school students into becoming TSA members.  The tool kit would offer valuable information on everything that the TSA organization has to offer.  From competitive events to the definition of STEM, the focus of the "High 5" program is to cultivate an interest for TSA in young students.


Because there is such a dramatic change between elementary and middle school, many students are still unaware of what TSA is and how their interests can be applied in this organization.  This tool kit promotes the idea of taking a student's particular interest and relating that interest to a TSA competitive event (such as an interest in Hot Wheels that translates to Dragster Design).  Taking a hobby and finding a similarity in TSA can potentially help kids discover a new passion.  The end result is not only to develop future leaders of TSA, but to inspire students to pursue STEM related fields of study.


When I entered middle school, I was not familiar with TSA.  When there was news about TSA my technology teacher mentioned it in class.  Because of that teacher, I decided that it was worth going to the meeting.  I entered one competitive event, Prepared Speech, (which was perfect for me as an aspiring actress) and was drawn into the world of TSA. 


Reflecting on my past, I wish that there was a program available when I was in elementary school that could have given me exposure to TSA.  The idea of the "High 5" program is to offer guidance and support for students interested in finding out more about TSA and all it has to offer. 


Please take a moment to think about your TSA stories, and send me any "High 5" ideas to  My hope is to implement this program at local schools in my area in order to test its success!   





The Basics to Fundraising

By Kaitlyn Beans, National TSA Treasurer


Being creative with your fundraising ideas is important, but there are basic things that help the simplest fundraiser be successful.  The uniqueness of the fundraiser is just as important as the people you choose to participate in the fundraiser. Therefore, by following these simple tips, any fundraiser can be a successful fundraiser.

Be Realistic.  It is always good to have high goals for fundraising, but it's also important to be realistic.  You need to evaluate how many people will likely participate in the fundraising event, and anticipate your fundraising goals based on the participation.  Start with a reasonable goal, and when you reach your goal, raise it up a little higher and continue to do that as long as your fundraiser continues.  Remember that any money raised is appreciated! 

Advertise.  No matter what the fundraiser is, make sure that people know about it at least a week in advance.  It is always good to announce it during school, hang posters, pass out flyers, or even post a status or two to your Facebook wall.  The more people that see it and know about it, the more likely they are to participate!

The More the Merrier!  Make sure to have enough people helping out. The more people you have, the less of a load each person carries.  Also, if everybody does their part then things run smoothly.  Having a good number of people helps out in many aspects of your fundraiser.  It helps with advertising by having more people spreading the word.  Having more people can also help by providing more ideas perspectives, and offers the possibility of more available resources.  Each person has unique talents and connections that could help your fundraising efforts. 

With these three simple tips, any fundraiser can be a success.  Remember that it is not always about the biggest and most expensive fundraiser; it is about the effort you put toward the fundraising event and reaching your goals.  



First Prize, Anyone?

By Tess McNerlin, National TSA Reporter  


TSA offers many unique opportunities to its members.  Leadership development, career preparation, exposure to real-world challenges, and enhancement of many useful skills are just a few examples of what is gained through participation in TSA.  But how exactly are these advantages obtained?  The answer lies within the core of the association: competitions. 

Competitions are a driving force behind everything that occurs within the organization.   Conferences, campaigns, community service, and many other dimensions of TSA would not exist without the competitive element.   In addition to the experience and benefits gained, most members credit their love for TSA to one thing in particular: competing is just plain fun!

Competitions provide experience, knowledge, and enjoyment for participants.  However, like most things in life, hard work, time management, and team work are the keys to success.  So get a head start!  First, carefully choose a competition that suits your style.  With topics ranging from fashion to robotics, there is something for everyone.  If participating in a team challenge, make sure to assemble a group comprised of peers who share a common enthusiasm for the project and are willing to put forth the effort to succeed.

Next, identify exactly what must be accomplished and make a plan.  Pull out your calendar and reserve dates and times in advance to meet as a group or, if competing individually, a time in which you will work independently on the project.   Set personal and team deadlines establishing scheduled dates in which a certain amount of work must be completed and hold team members accountable for the completion of these goals.  Time management is vital in the successful completion of any project. 

Once the objective has been identified, team members are established, and work dates are set, all that stands between you and that first place trophy is motivation and drive.  Everyone catches a case of "the lazies" at one point or another, but keeping an eye on the prize is essential while traveling the road to achievement.   The development of this skill is extremely helpful in TSA as well as in many other aspects of life.  So, keep the goal in sight, be persistent even when challenges arise, and you will find that any task can be conquered.

So, as regional, state, and national conferences approach, remember these tips for success: 

         Choose a competition that inspires you;

         Plan ahead;

         Be a team player;

         Stay motivated;

         Have fun.

Best of luck!  I look forward to each of you making an appearance on the finalist stage.


Social Media

By Gus White, National TSA Sergeant-at-Arms


As this year has gotten underway, our organization has grown tremendously and our membership has expanded to 200,000.  Thanks to the efforts of TSA alumni Rachel Newell and Jae- Young Son, we have even been able to grow our organization by establishing chapters in California.  But as our organization expands, it becomes increasingly important that we continue to effectively communicate with each of you and provide an environment that allows you to stay connected to TSA throughout the year.  This communication will ensure that you have all the information you need to succeed as soon as that information becomes available. With this in mind, National TSA has made it a priority to establish and maintain a strong presence on social media/ networking sites so that we may better empower you to grow both as an individual and as a member of TSA!

As part of our commitment to taking advantage of social media, TSA has invested the time into making accounts on popular sites such as Facebook (Technology Student Association) and Twitter (National TSA).  On each of these sites we regularly post updates regarding important conference information, new blog posts from the national officers, pictures/ surveys from conferences, and links to useful information and resources that will help you during the course of this year. We feel that by dispensing information not only by email but also by these mediums we can establish a direct and easy flow of information with each of you. However, we are not simply aiming to just use these social media services as a way to get information out to you, we would also like to see these sites used to help you in reconnecting with old friends from conferences, sharing your conferences memories, and letting everyone know about the great things you and your chapter have been doing. One of the great things about TSA is how close our membership is, but as we continue to grow, resources like these social media sites will be of tremendous benefit to us as we look to maintain our characteristic closeness as an organization, improve the flow of critical information to you and your chapters, and facilitate more discussions throughout the year.

So with all of that said, I strongly encourage everyone to check out the official TSA Facebook (Technology Student Association) and Twitter (National TSA) pages and "like" or "follow" us! This will be a fantastic tool for you to use in your preparations for conferences and in your growth as members in TSA. Additionally, it might be a good idea for your chapter to look into creating a social media account in order to connect with your members and spread the word regarding meetings and deadlines.


Meet National TSA's Social Media Consultant



TSA is pleased to welcome Megan Honour as the new Social Media Intern.  Meg is a senior at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  In May, 2013, Meg will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology.  Meg brings significant creative writing and reporting experience to TSA, as well as expertise in various forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In.

As we continue to strengthen TSA's spot in the social media world, we want to include stories about what is happening with TSA in your state.  Please email Meg with newsworthy activities and upcoming TSA events so we can share them with TSA members and the world of STEM education.


The Technology Student Association fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering. Members apply and integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts through co-curricular activities, competitive events, and related programs.
School Scene (ISSN 1066-341X) is published three times a year by the Technology Student Association, 1914 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1540. Telephone: 703-860-9000; Fax: 703-758-4852. Web site:
Copyright 2008 TSA.