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University of Louisville: Helping tomorrow’s engineers find their niche

Engineering is a vast and multifaceted discipline encompassing branches such as civil, mechanical, electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering (to name a few); each brimming with endless specializations. The incredible breath of the fields of engineering means that for professionals in the field to unleash their full potential and truly make an impact, specialization is key. By zeroing in on an area of expertise, tomorrow’s engineers can effectively channel their efforts, skills, and knowledge to effect change in a more precise application area. There’s no better place to do so than the University of Louisville’s JB Speed School of Engineering, where students evolve into career-ready graduates who have found their niche and are ready to start making an immediate impact. 

Little wonder why it ranks first for engineering co-op placements within Kentucky. It’s equally impressive when it comes to industry recognition, boasting US$20.4 million in research awards earned by faculty & staff between July 2020 and June 2021. 

University of Louisville

Source: University of Louisville

 “The JB Speed School of Engineering is particularly well positioned to stay well apprised of the changing needs in the industry,” affirms Erin Gerber, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs. “With our own dedicated office of Co-op and Career Development, our staff has direct working relationships with over 200 different companies (locally, nationally, and internationally). These industry partners are given frequent opportunities to provide insights and feedback on the skills they need in their workforce.”  

This is precisely why an impressive 97 % of Speed School Graduates accept a job within 90 days of graduating with their undergraduate degree. “Additionally, the school, and each Department within the school, engage with various selected Industry Boards of Advisors (IBAs) to gain further insights and recommendations on future workforce needs,” says Gerber. Learning by doing is undoubtedly an effective method, particularly in the field of Engineering, no matter which programme students choose.  

Speed School has seven degree-granting departments — each offers a related Bachelor’s degree (or two), at least one Master’s degree and one PhD or pathway to PhD — and an additional eighth department is committed to Engineering Fundamentals. These programs include a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science. 

“Students in these degrees also have a variety of Minors they can opt to add to their degree program to expand their studies,” says Gerber. “Additionally, all of the BS degrees include a required series of Cooperative Education (internships) built into the curriculum.” 

Undergraduate Engineering students complete three co-op rotations. Each rotation includes full-time (paid) work in their respective field. BA Computer Science students, however, complete two internships. These opportunities were set in place to ensure learners are able to get a better feel of the industries they hope to one day take by storm. 

According to the detailed degree plans, the first year of study is similar across all bachelor’s programmes, so students gain a better foundation. There is even a course in the first semester called Engineering Methods, Tools, and Practice I (ENGR 110), which teaches students a variety of tools used across the engineering fields and walks students through all the degree pathways available to them.  

“Students are assigned an advisor upon admission into the undergraduate program and will stay with that advisor throughout their time at Speed School.” says Gerber. These advisors are highly trained at assisting their students in not only finding their pathway but also to address changes throughout their path.”  

Plenty of queries are answered within classrooms as well since Speed School’s student-faculty ratio is 30 to 1. Furthermore, students are given access to a separate set of specialized advisors in the Co-op and Career Development Office — these guides prep students for career-related topics like interviews, building resumes, and completing skill-based badges and programs.  

University of Louisville

Source: University of Louisville

Their insights are crucial for students who are ready to showcase their niche while exuding depth and breadth to the hundreds of employers who appreciate multi-faceted candidates. Knowing this, Speed School encourages learners to strive for interdisciplinary excellence. How? By pairing its comprehensive programs with electives, minors, certificate, cross-disciplinary co-op/internships, opportunities to work alongside Capstone teams from other departments, and much more.  

“A large portion of engineering jobs in the industry are looking for employees with a broad skill set, including not only the ability to work in teams but also exposure to other disciplines or niches related to that particular company,” says Gerber. “Students who have completed multiple BS degrees or an undergraduate degree with a minor find themselves in a unique position to be more competitive in the marketplace. Even without a separate degree or minor, the vast majority of students graduating from our engineering programs have a full-time job within three months of graduation, thanks to their extensive work experience via co-ops/internships, compared to graduates of other programs.”  

Despite this level of rigour, every Speed School student enjoys a vibrant and dynamic environment where learning becomes a worthwhile and fulfilling endeavour — mainly because their school prides itself on cultivating an inclusive community where learners of all backgrounds feel welcomed and valued. “It is a great place to learn,” confirms student Heba Kandil. “There is a diverse feel, and it’s a very good place for international students because, in this community, everyone gets involved.” 

To join them, click here to apply to the University of Louisville’s JB Speed School of Engineering now. 

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