Outdoors and Out of The Box
Scott Hackel has always been an energetic guy. And soon, it will say so on his business card. A lover of problem solving, he enrolled in the grueling mechanical engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a course of study he decided on in high school. But tough as the program is, he wanted to get more out of it. So, he got active in the student chapter of ASME (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers). "Got active" hardly describes what he did. Working his way through committee chairmanships, he eventually became the chairman of his student chapter, making it his personal mission to get the alumni involved in the students' academic life. Great move. His efforts helped him and his fellow students learn the fine art of networking, critical, as everyone knows, in finding employment. Not that finding employment was particularly tough for Hackel. "I love the outdoors," he says. And one place in engineering where he could be outdoors and still get into the technical problem solving he craves is the energy industry. He plans to join Exxon Mobile Corp. (Irvine, TX) after he graduates in May.
An Engineer With Heart
Forget anything you've heard about today's youth being self-centered. MIT senior Anne Dreyer is focusing her career on others. "My dream is to help people on a fundamental level," she says. That's why she plans to apply her education and training to biotech applications, where she can help patients with cardiac or other health problems. She may have already started. In one of her student internships, she worked on the design of robotic arms with force feedback mechanisms. Other students studying surgery could use them to practice their skills. Her association with MIT's Society of Women Engineers (MITSWE) helped her navigate the treacherous waters of student life at MIT, she says, where the coursework is, to put it mildly, challenging. "They throw an enormous amount of work at you, but there is always help since students work together often in groups," she says. One other thing she has taken away from her MITSWE membership is organizational experience. Her official duties within the organization have helped her develop those skills as well as her leadership ability.
Give Him The Real World
Ivory towers are for scaling, not dwelling in. That sums up the attitude of Garry Tan, a Stanford University senior majoring in computer science and engineering. Though he has spent the last few years studying at one of the country's most prestigious institutions, his eyes are very much fixed on the real world. "Great technology for the sake of technology doesn't change the way people see or think, " says Tan. "I want to take technology and find success in the market." Tan claims it's common for engineering students at Stanford to focus on management and business aspirations. "I would like to be in management," he says. "Most engineers here want to be CEOs." Even his extracurricular activities point him toward the business world: He is president of Stanford's Asia-Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society, which emphasizes linking technical education with business-oriented results. His internships have involved designing and producing software applications for business-to-business software firms.