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ECE Night, 2018

Students majoring in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) at The Ohio State University braced the cold weather Wednesday evening for the annual ECE Night.

The event allows pre-major students, or students new to the major, the opportunity to ask education-based or career-based questions to a panel of five EE/ECE Alumni Society members; including event mediator Bradley Clymer, a society member and ECE associate professor.

Supaphen Niroula, an academic program coordinator for ECE, said the event is a chance not only to hear stories from working engineers, but also meet and chat one-on-one with the professionals.

"A lot of students have questions on career prospects and as advisors, who aren't engineers, it's important for them to come to this to get a better feel on what they can do with an electrical and computer engineering degree," she said. "It also offers some different perspective and a networking opportunity, which is really important in this field."

Students asked questions and received answers on topics such as defining engineering versus management positions in the workforce, how to keep up with evolving technology, finding a specialty, and even dressing the part of an engineer; which, surprisingly, doesn't always require a suit. 

Student Voices

PenningtonSteve Pennington

A first-year student, Pennington said he attended ECE Night to gain some tips on how to pursue his academic experience to achieve his career goals.

"I thought it was a good opportunity to get some more info, learn about what I should go through and what I should do to gain experience in engineering," he said.

Pennington's interest lies in electrical engineering, and he hopes to apply his major to a career in the automotive industry.

"I've always been fascinated with technology, especially the hardware and how it runs," he said.

Hribar

John Hribar

A second-year student, Hribar also attended the event to learn how to gain experience and how to find a niche in the engineering world. 

"I thought it was great to be able to put a face or a personality behind the end goal, to see the types of people I might be working with," he said about meeting and asking questions with the alumni. "These [alumni] have all been out of school for 10-plus years, so to see where the paths can lead, and the variety of [the paths] was super exciting too."

Hribar has always enjoyed taking apart home appliances and improving or analyzing the machines, so his interest lies in micro-controls.

"I got to a point where I was like, 'if I'm going to do more of this stuff, I need more training; and since I can do the math, I might as well take a paycheck,'" Hribar laughs.

He also jokes about one day being a professional tinker, but he hopes to stumble upon his career interest as he continues his academics. As for the event, Hribar said he had a "great time, and it was really, really cool."

A word from a professional

Shisler speaks to a student at a previous ECE Meetup poster event.Peter Shisler, a member of the EE/ECE Alumni Society and one of the panelists at the event, is now a deployment engineer for the Columbus-based Nokia, an international communications and information technology corporation, where he mostly works with enhancing 4G wireless networks.

Shisler said he enjoyed the evening because it gave students an opportunity to learn from working professionals who have been through the Ohio State ECE major.

"It helps students get a long-term view and students can ask people that have graduated from this program, what are their experiences like? What can I learn from them to help me when I get to that point? What can I do at this stage in my education that will better prepare me for what's coming up? What should I do the same or different?" he said.

Shisler, who graduated from the program in 1995 and then gained a master's degree in industrial engineering at Purdue University, joined the Alumni Society two years ago to help the Ohio State ECE community.

"It's been nice to come back to campus, to see the students, and knowing it wasn't that long ago when I was here, and I had those same questions and concerns and wonders about what it's like beyond Ohio State," he said. "So, I'm glad to be able to give back some time and donate back and pay it forward."

Story by ECE Student PR Writer, Lydia Freudenberg