Mechanical Engineering Majors Have Track Record of Securing Employment Opportunities Months Before Commencement
The robust mechanical engineering job market in Connecticut and the University of New Haven’s highly regarded program in the discipline are leading to more students fielding multiple job offers before the spring semester even starts.
April 10, 2019
By Jackie Hennessey, contributing writer
For Olivia Passin ’19, her senior year was just getting rolling when she received her first job offer.
A mechanical engineering major, Passin had interned for two summers with Cummins, a Fortune 500 power, components, and engine systems company in Columbus, Indiana, giving her "the opportunity to work with incredible people in and out of engineering."
She shadowed employees who worked in product validation, parts, service, and vehicle integration, enabling her to drive a newer-model pickup truck on a test track. The employee she shadowed "explained all that he does in his role and how this was a key part of the job," she says.
"One thing I really wanted for my job was to not have to be glued to my desk, and this was certainly the opposite of that," continues Passin. "I fell in love with the company and community. So, when I received my offer back in September, I was more than ecstatic to join the team."
Fielding one or multiple job offers well before commencement is not an anomaly for mechanical engineering undergraduates at the University of New Haven. It’s become the norm, says Ravi Gorthala, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the mechanical engineering department.
For the last five years, many mechanical engineering undergraduates arrive at graduation with a job lined up. In the class of 2017, within a year of graduation, close to 95% percent were employed or in graduate school and about 91 percent are employed in their field of study.
"Fielding one or multiple job offers well before commencement is not an anomaly for mechanical engineering undergraduates at the University of New Haven. It’s become the norm."Ravi Gorthala, Ph.D.
Graduates have gone on to work for companies including Sikorsky, Medtronic, Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corporation, RBC Bearings, Amphenol, Carlin, Emcor Group, SpaceX, SEA CORP, APS Technology, The Lee Company, IBM, Schick, Pepperidge Farm, Bloomy, and ASML.
Eric Dieckman, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, says that percentage of undergraduates with jobs secured before they graduate continues to rise, due, in part, to a very robust mechanical engineering job market in Connecticut.
"Many local companies can’t hire our mechanical engineers fast enough," Dr. Dieckman says, adding that employers in the state and around the country seek qualified candidates who "are strong collaborators and independent thinkers."
"Our students receive three-pronged experiential education – analytical, computational, and experimental," Dr. Gorthala says. "Experiential education is not just a buzzword. Our students do at least one 300-hour internship. Some get involved in faculty-mentored research. Some classes have semester-long design-build-test projects. Their year-long capstone senior design projects that challenge them are the ultimate experience. Most of these are sponsored by industry at levels up to $100,000."
"Our engineering students typically have very successful employment and graduate school outcomes as their particular skills are in high demand, and employment recruiting for engineering college disciplines is very active," he says.
Caporale says employers recruit heavily in the fall "to get a jump on identifying and hiring the best candidates early. In fact, over the years we have seen fall recruiting move earlier and earlier," he says. "For seniors in engineering recruiting for May graduates and summer interns starts in September and concludes by late October or early November."
Passin credits her professors for guiding her when choosing electives that would help her pursue her passions within the engineering field. "They pushed me to apply for internships at many different engineering companies early in my education," she says.
"I am excited to work for a company where I can continue to educate and promote girls and women in engineering."Olivia Passin ’19
"Attending two national SWE conferences allowed me to fully immerse myself in how to find what I wanted to do with my degree and how I fit in as a woman engineer," says Passin, noting connections she made at the conference led to interviews with Cummins and her two internships with the company.
Beyond being able to apply what she was learning in the classroom, Passin says her internships broadened her in other ways.
"I volunteered with women from my team in a program that helps teach girls about engineering," she says. "I am excited to work for a company where I can continue to educate and promote girls and women in engineering."