Engineering dinner puts table manners to the test

Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter
September 25, 2012

No interviews, no resumes, just an opportunity for UAF engineering students to meet with potential employers and grab a bite to eat.  The third annual Engineering Connections Dinner was held at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center last Tuesday at 6 p.m. to give an inside look at the job prospects of various companies like BP, Baker Hughes and Design Alaska.

The American Society of Civil Engineers and Society of Women Engineers hosted the event with the objective to connect students with the engineering industry, allowing students to self-promote and share their interests.

James Bowman, KinRoss representative, gives a brief speech. September 18, 2012. Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter.

“It’s a great platform for interacting with so many companies in a short period of time,” said Chaitanya Borade, president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers chapter at UAF,

Students register for the event and choose which company they would like to be seated with when filling out the application.  They provided students with a chance to familiarize themselves before the Job Fair held the next day.

“You get to cozy up with the company you want to meet, and tomorrow hand them your resume,” said Justin Cannon, secretary of the Society of Petroleum Engineers UAF chapter.

The dinner provides students the opportunity to learn if the company is suited for them or not quite what they expected.

“Last time I met a company that was completely off-the-wall, so this time I’m hoping to meet a company in my field,” said Calvin Beattie, a sophomore petroleum engineering student.

After everybody was seated, Sally Starn,  a junior petroleum engineering student and representative of SWE, warmly welcomed the students, faculty and organizations for attending the event.  Andy Chamberlain, president of ASCE, recognized student achievements and activities including the steel bridge, electric snow machine and ice arch.  This gave the companies that sponsored the projects a chance to see what they invested in.

BP Engineer at Prudhoe Bay Jennifer Star was the guest speaker. Star gave a speech on how she became an engineer and encouraged students to take opportunities outside of their comfort zones.

“The more that I could learn the better,” Star said.

Following Star’s speech, a microphone was passed between company representatives to give a brief introduction of themselves and what they are looking for.

“Your education is going to get you your interview. Your attitude is going to get you the job.” said James Bowman, ChiefEngineer for KinRoss at Fort Knox.

After each company introduced themselves, beef and chicken were served, followed by door prizes.

The SWE  spent $6,000 to reserve the room, catering and other costs.  Many attending companies participated in sponsorships that covered SWE’s fees.  Current indications show that the net profit from sponsorships is over $4,000. Remaining funds will be divided between SWE and ASCE as specified by the sponsors’ contracts to fund field trips and sending students to out-of-state conferences.

Be on lookout for posters, banners and class presentations for learning more about attending the next Connections Dinner in the spring.  Students looking to be involved with planning the event can contact engineering clubs with information found in Duckering 243.  Involvement will require time and dedication.

“Start out your freshman year, and start working on getting professionalism down,” Starn said.

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