Engineers Week was full of engineering show and tell. The Alumni Career Roundtables event was a little different, focusing more on the tell part, with alumni doing the telling.
10 alumni were sorted by topic at each table and spoke with students for 3-5 minutes in a fast paced "speed" round with topics ranging from where the Defense industry is headed to how to overcome engineering mistakes. Students rotated tables and topics, getting a snapshot of what it's really like being an engineer in the field. Or using your engineering education in a different field, even.
Tim Reese (EE '90) came back to campus from Quoin Capital, where he is a Managing Director. He also recently served as Treasurer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Others included Kevin Horan (EE '89), Senior Product Engineer from Lockheed Martin; Paloma Villa (CE '11), Environmental Engineer from CDM Smith and a half-dozen others.
"You're going to learn just as much from your failures as you will from your successes," Mark Bruley started off. Bruley is a renowned forensic medical technology accident investigator and 1975 graduate majoring in Biomedical Engineering Technology, a precursor to today's Bioengineering program. His work focuses on testing and evaluating medical devices. Or, as he put it, why medical devices could potentially kill someone.
"In R&D—if we knew completely what we were doing, it wouldn't be called R&D, it would be just called development," he laughed. "We have to find mistakes or failures in design."
Not all mistakes discussed were so overtly serious. Mario Mata (BioE '16) shared what he wished he would have done during his undergraduate years from the perspective of a recent graduate. He moved from the tangible—like taking advantage of access to sporting events or studying abroad—to looking for your first job.
"I would have broadened my experience to be more prepared. Right now, I'm working on a project where, it would be awesome if I could do some coding," he said.
Being eager to learn on the job was another point Mata made, speaking as a BioE major with a few ME courses under his belt and having to get acclimated as a professional. Still, one of his most attainable tips? Getting more sleep.
"Little bit less with the all nighters," he laughed. "Now, I'm a really big stickler for getting eight hours of sleep."