Article Written by Joshua Brown.
Now that spring weather is rolling in, there’s no better time for college of science and engineering students to come together for the annual College Engineering Jamboree. On April 12, students gathered in ISELF 118, a campus building, for the opportunity to meet with notable companies from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and enjoy free food and beverages.
The event was hosted by three student organizations: Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the newly added Kappa Eta Kappa Electrical Engineering Fraternity. With at least 100 engineering students expected to attend, the jamboree provided a chance for students to meet with nearby St. Cloud engineering businesses and learn about what each company was looking for in potential employees.
Representatives from the notable engineering companies that attended were DeZurik, Graco, OSI/ApsenTech, Frontier Energy, Apex Engineering Group, City of St. Cloud, and Optum. They were present to answer any questions and discuss their company’s background and opportunities.
“One thing we strive to do as an organization is to connect students with employers — this is a chance for employers to come to campus and meet with students to find out what these different companies do and how these company representatives got to where they are today, and then a chance for networking and possibly setting up internships or jobs; that’s the inspiration behind this event,” said Hannah Loukusa, vice president of Society of Women Engineering.
With students, professors, and employers all together, the event was not small. To make the event run smoothly, it was divided into two parts. The first hour of the event involved short presentations from companies. During the second hour, each employer representing their company had set tables where students could come up to them and give them their sales pitch, followed by employers explaining what they do.
The event was particularly significant for women engineers, as the field is male-dominated. Not many women are represented in the field of engineering, so by having women students connect with women engineer representatives, this event helps promote gender equality by increasing the representation of women in engineering and increasing the field with women engineers, as many female students may possibly land jobs and internships while building their network overall with men as well. What’s really special is that when students who are women see other women professional engineers, they get inspired.
“There’s not very many women in engineering… There’s more and more as the years go on, but as it started out as primarily a field that men would go into, a lot of people think of engineering as a job for men… Being the minority can sometimes be quite intimidating… we have quite a few representatives that are women, so having students that are women come to this event and seeing these other women in these positions is inspiring and also gives them a chance to connect and build that network,” said Loukusa.
With the semester coming to an end, it was very difficult to plan and put together a big event in one month for many students to attend. All three organizations have put in a great deal of time and effort to prepare and advertise for this event, given the limited number of members in each organization and the fact that this is the second year of the jamboree since COVID-19.
“Because of COVID, enrollment in all of the student organizations has dropped drastically… Finding the time to do tasks like inviting students and companies, preparing for the event, and budgeting was a tough task. Planning the event was the biggest hurdle,” said Zak Abdi, President of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Overall, the college engineering jamboree was a successful event. The students had the opportunity to see the latest trends in the engineering industry while connecting with industry professionals and employers for the chance of landing a job or internship within the next month or year in hopes of making an impact on the world. Each of the organizations hopes this event will help grow their organizations by giving students career opportunities, internships, and ideas of what they may be interested in.
“Students might get an idea of what they could be doing in the field once they graduate with an engineering degree, and from the few companies that came, an idea of how other companies might operate as well… That’s the main takeaway that students can get from this event,” said Abdi.