Engineer Your Career conference connects students with alumni and industry insight

Posted on October 28, 2019


The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) hosted its inaugural Engineer Your Career conference in Mitchell Hall, September 28. The event, envisioned to help further prepare Queen’s engineering students for the workforce, featured faculty- and alumni-led workshops, networking opportunities, and a keynote fireside chat with Queen’s alumna and National Football League Chief Operating Officer, Maryann Turcke (BSc ’88, Civil).

Turcke shared insights with the students about the value of varied experience and the versatility of an engineering degree, describing how the Queen’s collaborative student experience gave her a solid foundation for problem solving with teams and colleagues in all disciplines. Turcke has worked as an engineer, consultant, and senior executive across large organizations in several sectors.

Turcke

The new Engineer Your Career conference was held on September 28 for a group of graduating engineering and applied science students. Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science alumna Maryann Turcke speaks with students in a fireside chat on the value of networking and the versatility of an engineering degree.

“Engineering is a phenomenal undergraduate degree for quantitative people; you can do so many things with it,” says Turcke when asked what advice would she give to engineering students who are thinking about professional development. “It has always given me a massive amount of confidence when I’m in a room and we’re talking numbers and doing analysis. It just gives you the confidence to sit back and be thoughtful about your arguments, what you are doing with your analysis, and to be confident in the business decisions you make.” 

Turcke spoke candidly about her experiences, both as a student and along her career path. After the Q&A portion of the session, students were given the opportunity to network with Turcke.

Practical networking strategies were delivered earlier in the day by Queen’s alumni Alexandra Shaw (BSc ’88, Mechanical) and Anne Raymond (BSc ’88, Electrical) during their Alumni Insights: Jumpstart Your Job Search workshop. Shaw and Raymond collaborated to design this interactive networking session specifically for engineering students in their graduating year.

“We really want to support students’ transition to industry and the workforce,” says Shaw. “Eighty percent of jobs are obtained through networking connections. Our goal is for students to walk away today feeling confident in their abilities to develop their professional networks so they can access the full range of job opportunities for which they’re qualified.”

Raymond and Shaw

Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science alumni Anne Raymond and Alexandra Shaw showed engineering students how to build their alumni network for professional experience through an interactive practical workshop and reflection.

“I really enjoyed the interactive aspect,” says fourth year student Qiwen Hu. “I feel like this workshop gave me a lot of useful strategies and practice, and it was fun too. I definitely feel more confident in the idea of networking as a result. This was one of the first events I really got involved in and I’m looking forward to engaging in more networking opportunities in the future.”

Additionally, students participated in a conference session entitled Industry Trends and Technical Interviews, co-led by FEAS Associate Dean (Corporate Relations) Dr. Shahram Yousefi, and FEAS Director of Corporate Relations Chelsea Elliott. This session covered current hiring trends in engineering industries and what students can expect from behavioral, case, and technical test style interviews. Dr. Yousefi provided strategies students might use when preparing for a technical interview, and answered student questions based on his lived experiences in the tech industry.

“Queen’s engineering students are passionate about professional experience,” says Dr. Yousefi. “Corporate Relations’ North Star is accelerated student success, and career readiness is key in that regard. We see strong demand from students for events like this conference, so we're already planning to do it again, next time on a larger scale.”

The Engineer Your Career Conference is one of several new career support initiatives developed by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Corporate Relations team. Through collaboration with key stakeholders, including Queen’s community of dedicated alumni, on campus partners, and industry, the Corporate Relations team is creating targeted opportunities for students to enhance professional skills and connect with alumni and industry professionals.

To learn more about the career development opportunities and resources the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is creating, contact FEAS Corporate Relations.