Marist High School’s leadership program, Explore, hosted an engineering symposium on Friday, January 22, 2016. Approximately 170 students were in attendance to hear from Marist graduates working in the engineering field about college majors, internships, careers, and scholarship opportunities.
Erik Cempel ’96 and Pat Maloney ’11 shared their personal journey in the engineering field. The pair represented the Chicago Engineers Foundation, which works to spread awareness about the industry and provide scholarships to college students.
The two shared basic information about the field as well as personal insight and experience. They discussed the variety of engineering types available to major and work in, including chemical, cultural, biomedical, aerospace, civil, and electrical, among others. They explained that ideal engineering candidates have strong math and science skills, can communicate well, can function well within a team, and are good problem solvers. Some of the main employers of engineers are consulting firms, public agencies, mass transit, and utility and construction companies.
Cempel, a principal and transportation planning and management regional manager at Cambridge Systematics in Chicago, told the students that engineering has allowed him to work around the world. He lived in South Korea for two years, working directly for the nation’s government on transportation planning and policy. He has worked in the Philippines and other countries, and travels often to client sites. He enjoys creating plans that will meet anticipated changes and needs. Cempel, a Cornell University graduate, encouraged students to visit different engineering schools, as they each have a distinct atmosphere.
Maloney, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 2011, works as an electrical engineer at ComEd. Maloney said he was drawn to engineering because he was good at math, liked to design and build things, and was intrigued by the opportunities available within the field. Like him, he explained, most of his fellow engineering majors had job offers before graduating from college. He shared what the workload was like at college and gave specific examples of projects and assignments. Today he tests equipment at substations, and pointed out that an oversight or mistake on his part could wipe out power for more than 50,000 customers.
The pair encouraged students interested in engineering to apply for the Chicago Engineers Foundation scholarship , which awards a $1,000 scholarship, renewable for up to $5,000, to residents of Chicago or students who attend a high school in Chicago. The applications are due in April. The two also fielded nearly an hour’s worth of questions from the students regarding internships, majors, minors, diversity within the field, valuable skill sets, and more.
The Explore Program provides unique events and programming to give hands-on experience and insider insight into college and career choices. Ongoing mentorships in a variety of fields are offered, along with events such as college visits, panels and discussions, career shadow events and more.
For more information about Explore, contact Ms. Anne Brusky.
Photo: Paige Solcani '16, Erik Cempel '96 Pat Maloney '11, Mike Laird '16, and Laith Abad '16