Engineering & IT Career Day draws record crowd with good prep, plentiful options

Daniel Anastos (ES'16), left, listens to a pitch from Nissan North America recruiter Daphne Smith.

A record-breaking crowd of Vanderbilt University engineering students squeezed through row after row of eager recruiters Tuesday, both sides working to be heard over the excited buzz of people planning futures.

The Engineering & IT Industry Career Day in the Student Life Center is an annual opportunity for students to polish their resumes, research potential employers and then make their best pitches for internships and jobs. Local and national employers welcome the opportunity to attract engineering’s brightest candidates.

“All of our opportunities are not just for senior individuals in the workplace,” said Daphne Smith, a Nissan North America recruiter. “We’re very interested in talking to young people — especially those from schools like Vanderbilt — who have taken the time to get their education and skill set and who will move into those senior positions.”

National Instruments brought an all-alumni team of recruiters to Vanderbilt. Those included Haley Nesmith (ME’13) and Jennie Wolfgang (EE’10), who gushed about the opportunities they found with their new employer. National Instruments isn’t afraid to give big assignments to fresh graduates, Wolfgang said, and seeks candidates who will be a good fit with the company’s work hard, play hard philosophy.

This year’s event drew 57 employers and 607 students — the highest student attendance of any of the Vanderbilt Center for Student Professional Development’s Industry Career Days, said Tim Grubbs, assistant director of the center.

Cynthia Paschal

The event’s popularity is no surprise to Cynthia Paschal, associate dean of the School of Engineering and associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiology and radiological sciences. She said this Career Day is popular and successful because it appeals to students at all levels and gives them the advance information they need to narrow their searches.

That includes a folder with company descriptions and check list of what each company is seeking in terms of education level.

“We have first- and second-year students here, but they are networking, practicing and learning the process and what kind of credentials they’ll need,” Paschal said.

Eighty-two percent of Vanderbilt School of Engineering’s domestic students seeking a job had an offer by commencement, she said.

Dennis Colbert

Dennis Colbert (ME’16) waited in line behind two other students for his chance to land a summer internship. He did all the usual things to prepare, he said, but one step was the most important.

“The biggest thing was finding employers that hire in the field I’m in – mechanical engineering,” Colbert said. “So I’m looking for automotive and aerospace companies. This is a good solution for finding them.”

A few rows over, Amy Pickens (CE’16) straightened a stack of neatly printed resumes, preparing for her next conversation. She wanted to gain experience talking to employers and also hoped to find a summer internship, she said.

In addition to providing coaching on resume-writing and professionalism, the Center for Student Development offered another perk this year – a photo booth where students could get portraits taken for their LinkedIn profiles while dressed in business attire.

School of Engineering Dean Philippe Fauchet, in his announcement opening the event, quipped about his students’ professional look.

“Those of us who are dressed like this are not looking for a job or internship,” he said, motioning to his plaid button-down and slacks. “But those who come very well dressed and very well prepared will be here soon.

“I am sure you will enjoy them. I am sure they will be very interesting and challenging.”

Here is the full list of participating employers:

Accuride Corporation, AT&T Services Inc., Baker Hughes, Bell and Associates Construction LP, BNY Mellon, Brainlab Inc., Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, Bury Inc., Capgemini, Capital One, Chevron, Clarity Consulting Inc., Clark Construction Group, Computer Technology Solutions Inc., Crowe Horwath LLP, DCS Corporation, Deloitte Consulting Federal Practice, DENSO Manufacturing, Digital Reasoning, DISH Network, Emma Inc., Epic, ExxonMobil, Fast Enterprises LLC, Georgia Tech Research Institute,  Halma Plc, HCA Healthcare Corp., Hitachi Automotive  Systems Americas Inc., Humana Inc., Huron Consulting Group, Institute for Software Ingregated Systems, Intentional Software, LeadsPedia Inc., Lexmark International, Manhattan Associates, Microsoft Corporation, National Instruments, Nissan North America, Noranda Aluminum, Nucor, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, OSIsoft Inc., PhamaSys Inc., PowerPlan Inc., QGenda, Quality Manufacturing Systems Inc., Rustici Software, Schneider Electric, Skanska, Smith Seckman Reid, Spirit AeroSystems, Strand Associates Inc., Tennessee Department of Transportation, Turner Construction, UnitedHealth Group, U.S. Navy, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company


Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
On Twitter @VUEngineering