Next generation of engineers meets industry leaders

Virtual conference offers students a glimpse into future careers

There's no straight line between choosing a major and landing a dream job. It’s crucial for undergraduate students—those who have declared a major and those still undecided—to make informed choices as they take their first steps toward a career.  

On Friday, October 23, approximately 1300 students will explore the wide range of educational and career pathways in engineering and applied science at Engineer Your Major, an annual event hosted by the University of Cincinnati (UC) Department of Engineering Education and Division of Experiential Learning & Career Education

Over 70 presenters, including UC faculty, upper-class students and alumni and over 30 industry professionals, will share their personal experiences studying, researching, teaching and working across the vast realm of engineering.

Students can choose from 24 live virtual Q&A sessions, including panels of engineering professionals, a deep dive into each of the college’s departments and presentations on non-traditional pathways in engineering, undergraduate research, cooperative education (co-op) and more.

The event is open to all students in the college, UC students interested in transitioning into the college and students invited from neighboring colleges and high schools in the Cincinnati area.  

young man in a black dress shirt and silver vest

Scott Tursic chose mechanical engineering after a tour at UC. Photo/Provided.

Scott Tursic, a second-year mechanical engineering student, shares his experiences and advice on how students can gain insight into their future at the event.;

What did you enjoy most about the event last year?

It was nice to talk to industry leaders without feeling like I had to “sell myself.” There’s no pressure. They're there because they want to share their experiences in engineering.

The event is designed to help you learn what's out there in the field and how you could make a positive impact on society using whatever degree you might earn.

What was the biggest takeaway for you?

Hearing directly from engineers about the interdisciplinary applications of engineering was powerful. You hear about it in class, but wonder, “Is it actually true?”  Their real-world examples of working across all kinds of industries reinforced that concept.

What was the biggest learning opportunity for you?

Communication. You can't accomplish much if you can't share your thoughts and work. Communication skills are just as important as STEM skills. The event is a great opportunity to develop networking skills. It’s a low risk, possibly high reward situation.

What advice do you have for students attending the event?

Attend at least one Q&A panel of engineering professionals! Hearing firsthand what engineers do day-to-day helps you make connections between majors, disciplines within the field and potential career paths.

Ask questions! That’s why the presenters are there. They want to support the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Attend a session with someone and compare notes. I attended with classmates last year. We encouraged each other to talk to people and discussed what we learned and questions we had.

What steps do you recommend students take after the event?

Investigate anything that interests you, even if it seems unrelated to your current or intended major.

Get contact information, especially if someone gives an informative answer. Email the presenter(s), introduce yourself and ask follow-up questions.

Learn about the variety of engineering roles, titles, responsibilities, skills, degrees, etc. Look up job descriptions. Research the different positions engineers can hold and what is required to perform which duties. 

What’s the biggest impact the event had on you? 

I made a contact that led to a summer internship. A representative from CRG recommended I apply the following spring. I interviewed and accepted their offer right before everything went remote in March. It's really cool to see how that all connected, from last fall up to this summer, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

What helped you decide to study mechanical engineering? 

When I visited UC my junior year in high school, I was debating between chemical or mechanical engineering. Talking to the fifth-year chemical engineering student who led the tour gave me more insight on what chemical engineering students do, and it wasn’t for me. Knowing this helped me choose mechanical engineering. I enjoy working on the macroscale and having a broad base of knowledge, which I find mechanical engineering does well.

Students interested in attending the virtual event can register online. For more information, contact engineeryourmajor@ucmail.uc.edu

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/xWZR-bOhXCI?rel=0

Featured image at top: Member of ACM-W UC holding a Raspberry Pi kit. Photo/UC CEAS Marketing/Corrie Mayer