Published: Nov. 13, 2019 By

At ME Alumni Connect Day, students complete mock interviews, ask their most pressing career questions and have lunch with alumni all in one day. Thanks to over 50 mechanical engineering alumni volunteers, students were able to engage with alumni over lunch and breakfast, on 12 class panels and during more than 90 mock interviews.

Class Panels

Class panels took place across campus in 12 different classrooms, reaching over 300 undergraduate and graduate students and covering topics including Dynamics, Materials, Solids, Manufacturing, Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, Sustainable Energy, System Dynamics, and Advanced Product Design. Alumni discussed how class material has surfaced in their careers and answered questions from students. Alumni chosen for each panel represented a wide range of paths, industries and years of experience, providing students with a broad range of advice and encouragement specific to their interests. Students said they enjoyed hearing about differences and similarities across fields. 

Photo: Alumni Sean Kowalik, Sarah Schindhelm and Param Singh speak on a panel at ME Alumni Connect Day. 

Networking Opportunities

Throughout the day, there were various opportunities for alumni, students, faculty and staff to engage with one another. The day started with a breakfast for graduate students, transitioned into a networking lunch for both graduate and undergraduate students and ended with a happy hour for alumni, faculty and staff. New connections were made and past connections were strengthened.

Photo: Students network over lunch in the Idea Forge Commons. 


Mock Interviews

Over 90 mock interviews were conducted, giving students a chance for feedback in a supportive environment. For many students, as sophomores in MCEN 2000: Mechanical Engineering as a Profession, this was their first exposure to an engineering interview. The practice these students received puts them at a great advantage as they prepare to apply and interview for internships this summer. Alumnus Dave Wolenski said he would rather hire someone who has failed and gotten back up than someone who has never failed. Mock interviews are a great place to make mistakes and improve for next time. 

Alumni also benefit from the mock interviews they conduct. One alumnus was so impressed with a student he interviewed that he decided to invite him to interview for a position at his company.

Photo: Alumnus Tom Ebner conducts a mock interview with a mechanical engineering student. 

Reconnecting with CU ME

Alumni expertise is foundational to the mechanical engineering curriculum. One project the department recently completed was a redesign of the mechanical engineering hallway that highlights alumni who have founded companies. Alumni who visited during ME Alumni Connect Day were excited to see their companies being recognized and displayed. 

“The experiences of our alumni inspire students in a way that is difficult to replicate in the classroom. Our students need to see and hear these stories,” said MCEN 2000 Professor Julie Steinbrenner. “That’s why we’ve been so intentional about exposing our students to engineers in practice.” 

Photo: Alumnus Joel Johnson poses in the mechanical engineering hallway next to a new display highlighting his company, Berrendo Energy. 


The Department of Mechanical Engineering is grateful to our alumni near and far who continue to invest in the professional development of next-generation engineers. 

“This a really fun event that’s grown a lot in just a few years,” said Senior Professional Development Advisor Kat McConnell, who organized the event. “We’ve gotten great feedback from both students and alumni and are already looking forward to next year.”