elainegrey asked, "Does your field have any standards bodies/professional societies that would be possible for you to be involved in? What have been your reflections on doing so?"
I am not on standards bodies, but I'm in favor of them and advocate for using standards a lot. The main reason I am not involved is because my company has representatives who work on these committees, they all have way more experience than me so I'm glad they're helping the cause. (Also, I hate to say it, but committee work sounds like a bit of drag.)
Common resources for standards:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association http://www.gama.aero - Insights on cockpit displays and usability guidelines to make planes better for pilots to fly.
RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) http://www.rtca.org - Guidelines for avionics functionality, software and hardware certification processes, and our all time favorite, environmental testing. Actually through my company I must have some kind of membership for this because I do have my own username and password to download all the specifications I need and not everyone in my department does.
Society of Automotive Engineers http://www.sae.org - Everything else
And of course, there's the FAA here, EASA and ICAO in Europe, all developing standards that affect us.
Their big job lately is converting radar systems to nextgen datalink systems - so in the future, rather than talking to an airport tower over garbled radios, a lot more information will be transmitted via data. Rather than say "Yes I accept that clearance" to the tower you'll just hit a button on your touchscreen and they'll know. And the computer on your airplane will be able to help you fly that clearance, not just put the plane where they want it to be but when, so airplanes coming into busy traffic spaces will be perfectly spaced out so there aren't bottlenecks of traffic.
Yes, when flying these days, even on a big commercial jet, you will get told today to do a random 360° or S-turn just to stay out of the way for a sec, you were burning fuel to get to the airport asap and then have to waste it because airplanes weren't spaced out evenly.
We're going to fix that. Cool?
As for professional societies, I am most involved and huge fan of The Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Not only because they're a fun group and we have a great section in Wichita, but also because if anyone has the means to fix the "women are a minority in STEM" issue, it's SWE.
I am also a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) because, well, most pilots are. AOPA has fantastic resources and safety events, and a forum that I really enjoy where pilots just yammer on all day about aviation in the news, accident reports, technical questions, medical questions. It's private, so you can't see it. But when I was dealing with my medical BS last year with the FAA, having a free medical examiner in the forums asking my questions more than made up for my AOPA dues.
Oh, and toastmasters! it's not technical, it's about improving communication, presentation, and leadership skills, but it's also great for networking and very fun. It's kind of a society but also really a program you go through, with project books to help you do speeches a couple times a month. anyone can join, I'd highly recommend it.
so that's my involvement, in some matters I'm purely a user, in others I'm "involved", this post turned out to be much busier than I thought it'd be.