Graduates of the engineering studies program have an array of options before them. Students are well-prepared to enter a number of technical or non-technical fields, bringing with them the engineering ways of thinking and a liberal arts degree.
Some decide to further their studies in business, law, public policy, medical school, or architecture school. Others attend graduate school in engineering or engineering management. Those who go right into the work force often take jobs in project management, construction management, technical sales, finance, and information systems, working for companies such as Schiavone Construction, Turner Construction, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Olympus, Skanska, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Bloomberg.
Charles Felix ’08 started off with certainty about a career in engineering, but things got complicated quickly. “I walked onto campus absolutely sure that I wanted to be a civil engineer. Then I took an English class and I wanted to study English. I was a flip flopper. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to build bridges as a civil engineer, write plays, or study music theory,” he says.
Combining engineering studies and English meant he could develop strong communication skills—essential in any field—and study something technical. His extensive involvement in College Theater productions and with QuEST, and his leadership roles as a Posse Scholar and McKelvy Scholar, helped prepare him, too, for his position at Bloomberg as an exchange specialist. It’s a job that involves the ability to understand technical processes and then communicate them effectively, both in writing and in presentations, to a sales team, for example. As he puts it, “I have to maintain relationships with multiple arms of the company.”
If you are uncertain about engineering studies, Felix has some advice. “People you’ll meet know that [engineering] is challenging and nearly everyone I’ve encountered respects that I have an engineering background for that reason. Study what interests you, but take every course seriously; everything you learn has value.”
For Elizabeth Mancuso ’10, the engineering studies program has served as a primer of how real-world working environments function. Whether it’s the ability to communicate effectively or “meet the challenges of getting up really early in the morning and working long hours,” her time at Lafayette trained her well.
Upon enrolling at Lafayette, Mancuso says she knew she wanted to study engineering, but couldn’t decide upon what type. “I was drawn by the extra flexibility of the program that allowed me to pick up a second major in economics/business. In all of the interviews that I’ve been on, most, if not all, interviewers really liked that I partnered the engineering curriculum with economics,” she says.
Currently, she is working as a field engineer for Schiavone Construction, one of the firms responsible for the construction of New York City’s 2nd Avenue subway line. “I am supervising the waterproofing operation in one of the tunnels. It is a great experience and I learn several new things everyday,” says Mancuso.
Christopher Prudhomme ’10 found a great balance of interests at Lafayette College. For starters, the College’s “engineering studies program was unlike any other school that I looked at. It allowed me to study a broader area of engineering without having to take a specific concentration. Additionally, the curriculum was flexible and best suited my intentions of continuing my education.” Coming to Lafayette for engineering also meant he could continue playing lacrosse at a competitive level in college.
For Prudhomme, that meant a minor in architecture and application to study at the Boston Architectural College, where he is working toward a Master’s degree. He characterizes his experience with the engineering studies program as “wonderful,” and found himself ahead of the game upon entering graduate school. “Many of my undergraduate credits transferred and will allow me to move through my architecture program in less time.”
Tsion Tsegaye ’10, who double majored in economics/business, says she does not use her technical skills every day, but her coursework helped her to develop good intellectual habits. “The courses that I took at Lafayette, both in the engineering and economics departments, broadened my intellect and allowed me to always see the bigger picture,” she says.
After graduation, she started working as an Olympus Fellow, a two-year leadership developmental rotational program that provides her with invaluable experience in various parts of the company. “The work ethic and intellectual capacity that I gained from studying at Lafayette makes me better prepared to face challenges and resolve problems in the real world,” she says.
Her advice to students considering Lafayette is to come with an open mind and be prepared to work hard—especially if you are starting off as an engineer. “Participate in various activities and clubs that Lafayette offers. After all, college is a place where you broaden your horizons and experience new things,” she says.