I am an Atlanta-based software developer who is interested in taking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's registration exam, so that I will be qualified to work on certain aspects of the patent application process. Unfortunately, a Computer Science degree does not meet the requirement to sit for that exam unless you have a very specific set of classes on your transcript, which does not match my case.
The alternative method for qualification is to show a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, administered at the state-level to college students and recent grads as the first step toward a career in engineering. I have reviewed the NCCE-published material for that exam, and have little doubt that I could pass it on the first attempt (if I could keep my brain going for 8 hours straight!).
The new problem there is with the requirements to take THAT exam in my state. I meet all the requirements, except for having three signatures from licensed (in any state) professional engineers vouching for my character. Unfortunately, I don't even know any licensed PE's in passing. I contacted some old faculty from my undergraduate years, but none of them are licensed PE's. The best they could offer was to write a letter of recommendation, vouching for me to any PE I may meet. I'm still at square one as far as meeting engineers in the first place.
Can anyone suggest any professional groups (IEEE, etc) which hold regular meetings, where I could meet and network with PE's in person? I see that joining IEEE costs about $150, and I would pay that if I HAD to... but they don't seem to meet much in Atlanta anyway, and it somehow feels a little "creepy" to buy a membership and show up for meetings that don't concern me just to solicit a few character witnesses. That really brings me to my central question, how DO I go about this process without looking like a flake or a heel? Does anyone have any suggestions for how I should (or should NOT) be approaching engineers once I do find a suitable venue for meeting them? Thank you very much!