Alumni Share Career Insights with Students

Mechanical Engineering is such a diverse field that there are almost limitless options for any aspiring engineer. From medical applications, robotics and sensors to energy, automotive design and beyond, the possibilities may be daunting to young engineers.

In an effort to provide students with insights into potential career opportunities, the department started the Career Paths course, ENME201, to help students navigate the multitude of options available to them.  To do this, the course invites alumni who have followed some of the many different routes in the field—including less well known paths such as entrepreneurship, the biomedical industry and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office—to present their take on a career in engineering, the route they followed and to chat with students about their unique experiences.

Mark Sartain (B.S. '80), Vice President of Nuclear Engineering at Dominion, took some time this spring to speak with the class and offer his views on a career in nuclear power that that has spanned more than 30 years and included positions in both corporate offices and nuclear power plant sites in Virginia and Connecticut.

"I truly enjoyed my visit with the ENME class," Sartain said. "[The students] were very engaged and I had a line of ten students wanting to talk to me after the class ended."

Doug Skorupski (B.S. '92) discussed his career in alternative fuels that included working seven years in Booz Allen Hamilton's Transportation Department before becoming the Powertrain Strategy Manager at Volkswagen of America where he is responsible for planning future hybrids, plug-in vehicles and electric vehicles along with conventional gas and diesel cars.

As an undergrad at Maryland, Skorupski had the opportunity to work on one of two student projects—Terps Racing's formula car or the liquefied natural gas (LNG) truck. He chose the LNG truck project and credits the choice with cementing his career in alternative fuels. Through the project, he met his first employer and has been in the field ever since.

Namrata Boveja, Esquire (B.S. '00, MBA '04), a Supervisory Patent Examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has not only presented to students in Career Paths, but she has been active on campus attending job fairs and coordinating outreach activities with the Hinman CEOs Program to connect more students with opportunities at the USPTO.

"I really enjoyed being a speaker in the Mechanical Engineering Career Paths course," Boveja said. "It was a great experience to interact with the students to share information about the opportunities at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and about my personal experiences."

ENME201 instructor and Keystone Professor Ken Kiger says the diversity of speakers seems to be what the students find most helpful and engaging during the class.

"We provide concrete examples from our alumni about their experience in navigating those options in a manner that best suited them," Kiger said. "This really gives the students multiple snapshots to think about what they may find on 'the other side' of graduation."

Our Career Path speakers help students gain a better understanding of what career opportunities are available to them, the important roles they can play in society as engineers and what it takes to lead a successful professional life.

This course is made possible through the generous donation of time from our alumni, and we would like to extend thanks to our spring 2015 Career Paths speakers:

Tim Arnold
(Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ’76) AME Director, Stanley Black & Decker

Dylan Chirichella
(Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ‘00) Mechanical Engineer, Naval Surface Warfare Center

Fred Rosenberger III
(Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ’99; M.S. ‘01) Registered Patent Attorney, Miles & Stockbridge

Mark Sartain
(Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ’80) Vice President, Nuclear Engineering, Dominion

ToniAnn Thomas
(Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ’82) Vice President, Unisys Corporation

Aurore Zuzick
(Mechanical Engineering, B.S. ‘10) Naval Architect, Naval Surface Warfare Center

View photos from the spring 2015 Career Paths course.

Interested in being a Career Paths speaker? Please contact Natalie Grandison, Director of External Relations at either 301-405-1364 or

Published June 10, 2015