Next Stop: Pragmatism and a Love of Math

James Dollard (ECE) leveraged his love of math to a position with First Quality as a controls engineer.

When Dollard’s Temple journey started, his expectations were...measured. 

“When I came in as a freshman, my goal was a barely passing GPA and to get a job. Everything was intimidating,” he laughed. 

That first semester, his GPA was a 3.1. Then he got settled and developed stronger study and life habits.

“After that I didn’t go below a 3.7,” he said. 

Some students are inspired by an early love of building or biology, or an insatiable desire to know the mechanics behind things. For James Dollard, it was pragmatism and a love of math. 

“I really enjoyed math and physics in high school, and my parents really emphasized doing something relevant in today’s market,” Dollard said. “Then when I got to Temple, it really made more sense.”

Dollard just accepted a controls engineering position with First Quality, programming PLC (program logic controllers) for manufacturing systems. It didn’t come to him through lack of effort, either.  

 “To me, in order to be competitive, you have to have a high GPA and you have to good work experience. So, I took a co-op, but I also I don’t even know how many hours I spent on my resume,” Dollard said. He tailored his resume and supporting materials to the job focus and skill set, and hit the Career Fair circuit, while also utilizing the Temple Owl Network. 

“I applied to about 40-50 jobs in total, and 35 were through the network,” he said. 

Crediting his faculty with “strong constructive criticism,” Dollard ended by looking forward, thinking about graduate school in the next four to eight years—but he wants to stay with the same company, either way. 

And though he’ll miss those professors and Temple’s food truck scene (“I don’t want to admit how much I’ve spent on meals there”), he credited his parents as a major force behind his success. 

“Extremely influential,” he said.  

Follow our full Next Stop series to see where some of this semester’s graduating seniors are headed.