From New York to Seattle, engineers around the nation celebrated National Engineering Week from Feb. 18 to 24. Engineering students at Seattle University took part in the week- long celebration through events such as resume building nights, a seminar with the makers of the Xbox One X and a faculty-student dodgeball game.
The National Society of Professional Engineers first introduced the community-wide holiday in 1951. Since then, localized engineering and education societies have taken the week as an opportunity to increase understanding and interest toward engineering and technology careers.
One of the largest aspects is student outreach. Volunteers and professionals raise awareness of the need for quality engineers and recognition toward the innovations being made in the field.
“Get into it—it’s not the easiest field to get into, but it’s so much fun. I don’t regret one day of having chosen to become an engineer,” Katherine McCoy, an assistant engineer at Honeywell Aerospace, said.
McCoy, along with many others who are involved with the Society of Women Engineers came to Seattle U as volunteers to look over student resumes during a speed-dating style blitz event on Feb. 21. Wide-eyed seniors came with their questions and resumes in hand, hoping to get a better understanding of the professional world to come.
Marie Pahlmeyer, mechanical design engineer and a Seattle U alumna of 2015 said scan-ability is key to a resume. “They really need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly, and understand what someone’s responsibilities were in a role.”
However, a well-structured resume is only one aspect of the job search environment.
“As much as you would love every super qualified person to just be able to apply online and get the job, so many times it comes down to who you know and who you get your resume in front of,” Pahlmeyer said.
She suggests students go to small events held by their school, even if they feel silly. Her first job after college came from an internship she had when she was a senior that she found through a career fair at Seattle U.
“I’m not sure I would have had any chance at the internship and job if I hadn’t had a personal face-to-face connection with them.” Pahlmeyer added.
McCoy also suggested trying different internships to find where your interests in the field lie.
“I’m obviously not looking for professional experience from someone straight out of college, but I am looking for someone who spent a lot of their time doing projects, extracurricular activities geared toward engineering internships and co-ops. Anything outside of classroom time,” McCoy said.
From aerospace to agriculture, engineering is a multifaceted career. McCoy warned that students don’t want to be two years into a career and realize they “don’t like developing code and would rather be developing circuit designs.”
“I am most nervous that I may get into an industry of mechanical engineering that isn’t right for me at first. It is hard to know what you want to do after college as a mechanical engineer because there are so many various pathways to take,” Brittany Dale, junior at Seattle U and vice president of mechanical engineering club, said.
Sound Transit, Boeing and the City of Seattle are popular engineering internships in Seattle, and nationwide students compete over coveted positions with well known corporations such as Google, SpaceX, Amazon and many others.
“It’s pretty good to find a job here [in Seattle] because we have a lot of tech companies. We have Amazon [and] Microsoft, we have utility companies and they are always looking for people,” Carina Pham, a civil engineer with Puget Sound Energy and a Seattle U alumna of 2015, said.
Designers Steve Ranta and Greg Daly made an appearance at Seattle U’s Engineering Week to break down the design of the Xbox One X during the Innovation in Industry seminar hosted by the mechanical engineering student club. They talked about the new software chip, the design model and the team behind it all. Their talk was to introduce the field of console engineering.
“The objective was to provide more information to students outside the classroom about how they can utilize that expertise they are learning to something that we use daily, like the Xbox,” Senior Administrative Assistant for the Mechanical Engineering Department Natasha Malyuk said.
The biggest question on students’ mind: how do we get into a company like Xbox? The designers could only stress the importance of being a well-rounded person. They are more skeptical of the person with a 4.0— who did nothing but schoolwork— than the person with an “okay” GPA and a creative and leadership oriented-pastime.
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