Sixty-nine companies and over 500 students were present at the Engineering Student Council’s 27th annual iExpo, the largest student-run career for engineers in Arizona, on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Engineering students put their best foot forward for national and international engineering companies, who got to meet internship and job candidates from the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering.
“We broke the record as we know it,” said Jaclyn Wycoff, director of corporate relations for ESC and a junior majoring in optical sciences and engineering. “We started getting the logistics together for this year’s event right after last year’s iExpo.”
The event raised about $34,000, which ESC will use to pay expenses and then distribute to more than 50 clubs in the College of Engineering.
We love UA students. Their knowledge, background, experience and overall education have proven to be a good fit at Burns & McDonnell.”
Attending companies included industry leaders such as Raytheon, Intel and W.L. Gore & Associates. While the industries they specialized in ranged from defense to mining to computer science, they all had one thing in common: They were seeking the strong job candidates that they’ve come to expect from the college.
“We love UA students,” said Rachel Radmacher, a college recruiter for Burns & McDonnell, an engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting firm based in Missouri. “Their knowledge, background, experience and overall education have proven to be a good fit at Burns & McDonnell.”
Return of the Alumni
Many of the company booths were staffed by UA alumni, returning to their alma mater on the other side of the equation from when they were students, seeking employees rather than employment.
Ganesh Raikhelkar, who graduated with his master’s degree in computer engineering in 2018, landed an internship at Intel through iExpo while he was a student. The internship turned into a co-op, and the co-op turned into a full-time position as a product engineer.
“All the courses I’ve taken prepared me for this full-time job,” he said.
Bryan Eberson, a process engineer with W.L. Gore and a 2017 mechanical engineering graduate, had a similar experience. His first encounter with W.L. Gore was at iExpo as a student, where he fell in love with the company, completed two internships and started a full-time job after graduation.
He jumped at the opportunity to come back to iExpo as a company representative, not only because he was eager to experience the event from a different perspective, but because he knows first-hand that UA engineering courses leave students well-prepared for the working world.
“Of course I want to go back to the UA -- I love it there,” he said. “My UA education made me technically sound, and my core classes prepared me for what I needed to do to work for Gore. Knowing that these students went through the same training I did is great.”
Nick Patzke, a 2018 mechanical engineering graduate and a manufacturing engineer trainee representing RBC Bearings, laughed when he remembered visiting the company’s booth at last year’s iExpo.
“When I showed up at the booth, I asked ‘what is a manufacturing engineer?’ and a couple months later, they called me and I wound up with a full-time position,” he said. “I always thought no one got jobs from these things, but here I am.”
Practice Makes Perfect for Students
This is the first year ESC hosted a career week in collaboration with other clubs in the college, including a professional trivia night, a resume workshop with Texas Instruments and the Society of Women Engineers’ Night of Networking.
Students like Maddie Coates, an Engineering Ambassador junior studying chemical engineering, and AJ Purvis, a mechanical engineering junior, were looking for summer internships. Others, like chemical engineering senior David Salazar, were in search of full-time positions.
“I like the face-to-face contact,” he said. “You can talk more freely about your resume and qualifications.”
There were even some diligent freshmen and sophomores there to polish their networking skills, even though they weren’t yet seeking internships or jobs.
“It’s good practice for getting comfortable with talking to companies,” said James Wilson, a freshman studying optical sciences and engineering. “Sometimes they recognize you the next year when you come back.”
Company representatives like André Leon from the Salt River Project, who graduated from the UA with his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2008, agree that the students the company representatives meet at iExpo are what keep them coming back every year.
“We know we’re in good hands because of the kind of talent we’ve gotten before,” he said.