From the outset, Sang-kyu Kim knew that Lewis University would propel him towards his goal of becoming an aerospace engineer. The university is widely known for its aviation programmes. And having friends and family who have studied here and launched their careers was another a great incentive.
Moving across the globe from Seoul, South Korea, to pursue a BS Aerospace Technology at the campus in Chicago, Illinois, has thus far been rewarding. “The Aerospace Technology programme here combines engineering courses with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates, allowing me to work while studying,” he says.
While being situated in Chicago — a major transportation hub in the US — is convenient, Lewis University goes the extra mile when it comes to offering the right resources for its students. For Kim, the “Aviation Careers – Take Flight” career day was an opportune moment. There were 300 local, national, and international companies within the aviation, logistics, transportation, and safety regulations industries visiting the university to recruit students. “Many were offered jobs on the spot,” he says. “This is where I interviewed with my current internship employer and learned how the FAA certificates I earned at Lewis University would be advantageous in my job applications.”
Kim’s successful interview is in big part thanks to the keen attention he gets from faculty and staff. “I always feel that I have the personal attention of my advisors, and they provide me with thorough assistance whenever I need it,” he says.
Kim also found unsparing help from the Career Centre. “They reviewed my resume, offered helpful suggestions to improve it, assisted me with my internship applications, and even practised interview questions with me,” he says. “So when I attended my first career day, I felt confident that I could compete with the American students who are already familiar with this system and process.”
Recent MS in Computer Science graduate Sravika Ravilla echoes that sentiment. “There is a Career Advisor whose speciality lies in international student employment. It is such a crucial resource that international students really need,” she says. “The advisor helped me with every part of my job search in the US, including navigating the hiring process for a non-US citizen. I recommend every international student schedule a time with them because she helped me to find my job, assisted me with the application, prepared for the interview, and even helped me with all the hiring and tax documents needed to be employed in the US.”
For Ravilla, who already had three years of work experience and was no stranger to foundational computer science programmes, it was advantageous to skip to the more challenging courses. Lewis University does not require all their MS in Computer Science students to go through the fundamental lessons unless necessary. “I really enjoyed the start of my master’s degree because it was very challenging,” she says. “This saved me a lot of time and money, allowing me to focus on my advanced software engineering and research courses.”
Another form of heavy lifting done by the university is having professors who are active industry professionals with an extensive network of connections. Sravika herself benefited from this. “Many of my friends received their CPT or OPT job offers from companies that were recommended by professors,” she says. “My professors have helped me by encouraging certain computer science-related skills or certifications sought after by employers.”
The university’s location plays a crucial role too. Unlike the popular picks of schools in New York, Boston, California and Texas, Lewis University’s proximity to a prominent international city like Chicago ensures higher-than-average employment rates for international students. The competitive nature of global companies means that these students are recognised and valued for their diverse insights, providing prime opportunities in securing CPT internships or OPT employment in the US.
In 2023, Lewis University was ranked among the top 15 Midwest Regional Universities by US News & World Report. The report assesses institutions with a full range of undergraduate and master’s programmes, examining it on at least 11 widely accepted indicators of excellence, including peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance.
As the stories of Kim, Ravilla and many other graduates show, Lewis University is a launchpad to success. Between opening doors to opportunities and equipping their students with the right skills, experiences and confidence to enter or re-enter the working world, the chance to grow beyond your own limits is yours to seize here.