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Networking key in industry event

staff writer

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:02


STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS NETWORK at the Evening with Industry. Northrop representative Monica Berret, right, speaks with students as part of the event’s activities. DELAYNE LOCKE photo



Those who attended the College of Engineering’s annual “Evening with Industry” event seemed to have one word to describe student interaction with some of the engineering industry’s top companies: “networking.”

“You have tons of very interesting companies,” said Cesar Hunt, a senior studying structural engineering. “It’s a great opportunity for us to start networking and get to know a little bit more about them.”

The event let engineering and computer science students speak to representatives for potential employers in an informal setting, discussing career and internship opportunities. Based upon interaction, students and employers can schedule job interviews for the future, building a professional relationship for the student’s future.

“This is basically a networking event for engineering students of all departments,” said Jenica Hillyard, president of USU’s section of the Society of Women Engineers. “It’s put on by SWE, as well as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers.”

Students began with an hour of interaction with company representatives, Hillyard said. Divided into two groups, students rotated between different companies in order to have a chance to speak with the company of their choice.

“When the students signed up for the event and bought their tickets, they also chose one company to sit and have dinner with,” Hillyard said. “After their networking session with all the companies, they sit and talk and mingle with the representatives from their chosen company. Basically it’s one-on-one and so much more personal than a career fair.”

Companies who sent representatives to the occasion were mostly based locally and regionally. Rio Tinto, the Space Dynamics Lab, Hewlett Packard, Solutionreach and Moog’s aircraft division were among those employers present.

The number of companies represented at this year’s “Evening with Industry” was less than in past years. Last year there were 17 companies present. Indhira Hashbun, vice president of corporate affairs for SWE and event organizer, said only 11 of the more-than 100 companies contacted this year participated.

“Our first three years the number of companies that participated got bigger and bigger,” said Kristina Glaittli, SWE counselor at USU. “This year there aren’t quite as many. I think the economy is having a lot to do with that, but we still got a great response from our industry partners who are here.”

The number of those in attendance was less this year as well, totaling 111 participating students. At the 2012 event, more than 130 students took part.

Still, this year’s group of students was mostly gracious and grateful for this opportunity.

“As a student, it’s nice to see what these companies are expecting from students and how they interact with us,” said Kyle Hinchcliff, a senior studying electrical engineering. “This has been really interesting and beneficial for me to see this aspect of companies.”

Wendy Merkley, Region B Collegiate senator for SWE, said the event is a great chance for students to prepare for their professional future.

“We’re striving to make this more of a networking activity because it builds students’ abilities to interact and talk to employers on a social and professional level,” Merkley said. “This is more than just a list of potential jobs.These are contacts at companies that are looking to hire college graduates.”

Boyd Wheeler, a representative for HDR, a global firm providing architecture, engineering, consulting and construction services through various operating companies, said participating in the event was an easy decision for his company.

“We’re always looking for fresh minds,” Wheeler said. “At things like this, those kinds of people are all gathered right in front of us. Utah State University has a prestigious engineering department and we can network with potential employees. We get to talk face-to-face and let them know what we’re all about, and they in turn can ask us questions and let us know where they’re coming from. It’s a fantastic opportunity, in my opinion, for us and for them to build solid relationships to help us both.”



Twitter: @PChristiansen86

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