Record career fair connects thousands of UW-Madison engineering students with recruitersPhoto Gallery
“I’m keeping my eye on the student at the next table—his nametag says he’s a civil, and I’d like to talk to him,” says Ryan Bliss, a recruiter for Electrical Consultants, Inc. As the student turns from the nearby table, Bliss strides over to introduce himself and his company.
The incident was one of the thousands of times recruiters shook hands with University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering students at the fall Career Connection held September 22–24 in the Engineering Centers Building. Career Connection hosted a record number 990 recruiters from 315 companies looking to fill intern, co-op and professional positions with students from all engineering disciplines.
Jon Augelli, a senior civil and environmental engineering student, was among the more than 1,300 students attending Career Connection. Electrical Consultants was one of the companies he was especially interested in since the company offers recent graduates leadership and advancement opportunities.
“I’m looking for an established company with opportunities for growth,” says Augelli, who wants to become a construction manager or structural engineer. “I always ask what I’d learn from a particular company because I want to become a better engineer through the projects I work on.”
He’s not just looking for opportunities in faraway cities or countries. Augelli, an Iowa native, is willing to stay in Wisconsin after graduation if he finds the right job. He was in luck—this year, dozens of Wisconsin companies were on hand to meet students looking for “the right job” in the Badger state.
“The reputation of the College of Engineering keeps growing, and local companies want to tap into that,” says John Archambault, Engineering Career Services (ECS) interim director. “We do our best to serve Wisconsin companies because they are most consistently on our campus whether the economy is good or bad.”
The fall Career Connection was the first time Friction Stir Link has come to the UW-Madison campus. The Waukesha, Wisconsin, company is looking for students interested in design and manufacturing, and the recruiters talked to dozens of students already familiar with the friction stir welding process. “We want people who will enjoy what we do,” says recruiter Scott Gillis.
“It’s cool that this school knows and is teaching what is cutting edge."
Recruiters from Michaels Engineering, which is based in La Crosse, Wisconsin, were at Career Connection looking for mechanical and chemical engineering students. With four offices in the Midwest, the company specializes in design and environmental consulting. “We’re looking for someone who is passionate about energy efficiency,” says one recruiter, adding that Michaels has doubled in size in the last four years and offers employees a lot of flexibility. After an employee has worked at the La Crosse office for at least six months, Michaels allows engineers to work remotely from other cities or states.
Michaels’ growth is good news for junior chemical engineering student Sara Beth Horton. Horton is currently an intern at Virent Energy Systems Inc., a Madison company specializing in renewable fuels. “Energy is a growing field, and there are lots of jobs in that area,” Horton says.
At the career fair, she spent time getting to know some of the smaller companies. “I’m open to anything,” she says.
This includes a Wisconsin company. “I love it here,” says Horton, who originally is from Janesville, Wisconsin. “There’s a draw to be close to here, especially for an internship or co-op.”
Horton isn't alone. Students are asked to list their preferences for employment location when they register for ECE services, and Wisconsin consistently ranks as the No. 1 place UW-Madison engineering students want to work—in part, says Archambault, because many students are from Wisconsin and would like to stay in the Midwest.