The third annual ME Alumni Connect Day was a success thanks to the engagement of students, alumni, faculty and staff.
On November 9, forty-five mechanical engineering alumni traveled to campus to meet with one another, connect with students, conduct mock interviews and participate in classroom panels. Alumni arrived with varying experience levels and experience across industries. Graduation years ranged from 1977 to 2018.
Over 500 students participated in at least one event during the day. Events included 12 classroom panels, 75 mock interviews, breakfast with graduate students and a networking lunch attended by approximately 200 graduate and undergraduate students. To follow, alumni were invited to attend an alumni happy hour.
Classroom panels are central to the objective of the event, designed to demonstrate how the content learned in a course connects with real engineering work in industry. For example, a student might learn how fluid mechanics is related to a role in the biomedical field and how the same subject matter might relate differently to a role in space flight. This year, 30 alumni working for 29 different companies and representing careers in manufacturing, automation, construction, electronics, automotive engineering and consulting spoke on panels. Students indicated that the event helped them see what it means to be an engineer in practice and how course material relates to future engineering practice. They also commented that “insights of these professionals were invaluable.”
Throughout the day, alumni reflected on their time as CU ME students, sharing helpful advice with current ME buffs. Alumni discussed interview practice techniques, the importance of being open to learning new things, work-life balance, classes they wish they had taken, and how to make the most of work travel, among many other professional and personal topics. Through their involvement in the event, alumni demonstrated the power of networking and the extraordinary value that comes from talking with peers and mentors.
But students weren’t the only ones to learn at this event; alumni also benefited from their interactions with students. This year, students had the opportunity to showcase impressive work at a student project expo, sharing posters and prototypes to highlight the achievements of groups like CU Baja, Engineers Without Borders, Engineers in Medicine and the student-founded EdBoard Technologies. After learning from students, a recurring comment from alumni was that CU students had reinvigorated their hope for the future.
Senior Professional Development Advisor Kat McConnell says, “We owe the success of this event to our alumni. With so many new ways to get involved with the ME department, alumni are changing the way we connect students with industry.”
Though ME Alumni Connect Day 2018 has come to a close, ME alumni involvement continues to bring professionalism opportunities for students to life.