ENGINEERING NEWS

Students Helping Students: Mentors Help Undergrads Prepare for Engineering Careers

At McCormick, gaining industry experience through internships or the Walter P. Murphy Cooperative Engineering Education program is an important part of many undergraduates’ experience.

But entering the workforce for the first time can be daunting. How do you decide what company to work for? How to prepare for interviews? What coursework will make you best prepared?

McCormick students now have a new place to go for help with these questions: their peers. Kappa Theta Epsilon (KTE), an honor society for students who have completed a cooperative education experience, and the Co-op program have recently launched a new mentorship program.

The KTE Mentor Program pairs mentors — McCormick juniors and seniors who have experience with internships or Co-op — with younger students who are looking for career advice, networking, or other support.

The program seeks to inform younger students about career opportunities and to remove some of the anxiety from the process, said Sebastian Galvez Martin, a senior in civil engineering and a KTE executive board member.

“I’m the first engineer in my family, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Co-op at (the Peruvian construction company) GyM,” Martin said. “When you’re a freshman or sophomore, you’re still figuring out what’s out there, what your industry is. It can be kind of overwhelming.”

Professors and advisers from the McCormick Office of Career Development are always available to give assistance to McCormick students. Still, Galvez said, “Sometimes it helps to talk to students who have been through what you’re going through.”

Over lunch or dinner in a restaurant, KTE mentors and mentees can discuss what to expect through Co-op or internships, strategize about interviews and course selection, and learn from one another how to make their early career experience a success.

KTE mentors come from a range of majors, including biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and electrical engineering. Their Co-op or internship experience has brought them to companies like Fenwal Inc., ITW, USDA Forest Service, and NASA.

For more information about the KTE Co-op/Internship Honor Society’s mentorship program, contact northwesternkte@gmail.com.