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WomEngineers Day 2017

WomEngineers Day 2017 brought together students from high schools and universities, UT engineering faculty, and industry professionals to discuss topics related to women in engineering. Through several panel discussions and a keynote address, the following tips and advice were shared to help both current and prospective engineering students on their path to becoming professional engineers.

Attendees met with a panel of advisors for 50 minutes to gain helpful tips to those graduating high school or first-year engineering students.

Knowing how to operate in the professional workplace is vital. We have some tips that will get you from your first interview to when you are top dog.

  • Interviewing with a company is your first step to the job. Here are some dos and don’ts to ace your interview.
    • Do
      • Do: Take a notepad and pen
      • Do: Wear a business suit
      • Do: Send a Thank You note to follow-up
    • Don’t
      • Don’t: Bash a previous company
      • Don’t: Talk about divorce
      • Don’t: Talk about salary
  • Now that you have aced your interview and have the job, creating trust is key. Being confident but humble is one way to build trust with your employer and coworkers.
  • Starting your own company may be your dream. Building a company takes a dedicated, motivated, and passionate individual. There are quite a few things you need, but you can begin working on the foundations now.
    • Networking is key and there is no better network than your Volunteer Family
    • Take classes on entrepreneurship now; they are offered through the Haslam College of Business. Learn more about the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
    • Learn to communicate with all types of people; this will help you as you will take on an important leadership role.
    • You will need money to start your company. Knowing the value of other people’s money will help you be wiser about using it and more people will be comfortable to lend it.
    • You will most likely be borrowing money. Be sure to know and understand the differences in loans and equity.
    • Learn to say “No,” if the deal isn’t right for your company.
    • Finally, learn from your failures. You probably won’t get it right the first time but perseverance is key.

For many students, graduate school is a common next step after graduation. If you are considering graduate school or just starting out, here’s a few common questions that were answered just for you:

How do I even begin?

  • Talk to your advisors and pay special attention to your own passions. Find a place that gives you the opportunity to build on your passion.
  • Make sure you read publications from the universities you are considering.

Should my graduate degree match my undergraduate degree?

  • It is up to you and what you want to do.
  • It is recommended to diversify your degrees for appeal in industry.

How do I deter away from a job opportunity and focus of further education?

  • You have to be passionate about you graduate degree.
  • Graduate students must have the three DDD’s — Dedication, Determination, Discipline.

What was the transition from undergrad to grad like?

  • It was more exciting and intriguing.
  • More classes are taken in the beginning of your graduate career.
  • You must treat graduate school as work, studying is more vital than ever before

How do I prepare for graduate school?

  • Research what your program is like and talk to recent graduates of the program
  • Write a lot, whether formal or informal. Don’t lose what you have learned between undergraduate and graduate schools.
  • Find motivation through other organizations and alumni.

Our panelist shared how their degrees have helped in their professional life.

  • The use of technical knowledge and the ability to quickly learn and utilize it has been invaluable.
  • Intangible skills like time management and problem-solving were both learned through engineering and have made each panelist more marketable during job searches.
  • A degree in engineering has given many the opportunity to work on both academic projects and industry projects.
  • It’s given them the opportunity to work internationally.
  • Your degree along with passing the PE/FE exam and licensing will give you necessary qualifications to work in most states.

Do you not want your academic life to end after you get your PhD? What about pursuing a career in academia? Here’s what your professors have to say about that:

Why consider academia as a career path?

  • It offers the ability to work with students and train the next generation.
  • More availability to research what you want if funding is accessible.
  • Family life in academics is much more flexible.
  • Results are measured through teaching, researching, and serving.

What’s the difference between academia and industry?

  • Academia = Responsibility; you will be thinking about research 24/7.
  • Industry = Duty; it has a cut off time of 5 p.m.

So, I need to go to more school?

  • Yes! This is extremely important to securing future employment.
  • Going to a different school may also give you more insight into academia and how different campuses solve problems.
  • Post-doctoral degrees can increase your prestige and while you can still get positions prior to receiving your degree, it may prolong opportunities for faculty positions.

How do I receive research contracts and start-up packages?

  • Research must be your own interests, but comply with a company’s or sponsor’s ideas and be driven by a beneficial and modifiable direction.
    • Once you start your research, be proactive in gaining feedback.
  • Start-up packages are negotiable, but the initial offer will be fair; you’ll need good reasoning for adjusting the terms.