Perhaps nothing feels more fulfilling to Stevens undergraduate students than commencement, a moment to celebrate that they "made it" – they, indeed, persevered to earn a degree from a premier university and are launching to the next phase of their lives.
Although their experiences and destinations are diverse, graduates of the Stevens Class of 2011 share a commonality at this important milestone in their student careers. The Stevens advantage continues to give graduates a remarkable return on investment. An impressive 96% of last year's graduating class accepted employment opportunities of their choice, and the Class of 2011 continues to experience higher placement rates than last year at this time, a stellar record, especially, in the constrained job market they face today.
The 2011 Commencement ceremonies mark the start of promising careers in the workforce and advanced degree programs for Stevens graduates. They have accepted offers at top companies in industry and government. Among the long list of employers are ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, DuPont, and the Department of Defense. What's more, those who sought medical, dental and other graduate schools will be attending programs at Columbia University, Georgetown University Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, to name a few.
While we would be delighted to highlight the accomplishments of each and every graduate, meet graduating seniors Veronica Smith, Rui Xiong, Ellyn Griggs, and Robert Bishop. Their stories represent the overall success enjoyed by this year's graduating class.
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Employment: Johnson & Johnson
As a Stevens co-op student, Veronica joined the 40% of Stevens students who take part in this unique academically-based program. She alternated semesters in class with full-time work experience, and that's where she was first introduced to Johnson & Johnson, the company she has chosen for full-time employment post graduation. Graduating with a biomedical engineering degree as well as graduate certificates in project management and health care management, Veronica is on her way to an exciting career at Johnson & Johnson in the highly selective Global Operations Leadership Development (GOLD) program in which she'll serve in three, eight-month management rotations. "It's exciting, and I look forward to this new experience," Veronica said. "I'll be supervising at the Acuvue® contact lens plant. It'll be a challenge, and that's exactly what I wanted and am prepared for."
At Stevens, Veronica also seized the opportunity to participate in tissue engineering research under Dr. Hongjun Wang and was able to take part in a neuroscience summer research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was a member of Stevens' track and field team as well as a peer mentor, an upper-class undergraduate student who assists new undergraduates in their academic transition into college.
Reflecting on her transformation at Stevens, Veronica noted how independent and focused she's become. "When I first came to Stevens, I thought I wanted to focus more on research and go to graduate school," she said. "And I got to try that here. I changed my direction, but it was great to be able to test my original interest right away. I wouldn't have found the path I'm on now had I not had the opportunity to explore my options before graduating. My friends who were at other universities didn't have such opportunities. Because I did, I was able to actually create a more focused plan while I was still an undergraduate student. I highly encourage students just beginning their journey here to take full advantage of all the ways Stevens allows students to discover their passions."
Major: Business and Technology
Employment: Federal Reserve Bank, New York City
Rui is launching from Stevens with both a bachelor's degree in business and technology and a master's degree in global innovation management. He also earned graduate certificates in project management and technology management. Rui is happy to have accepted a fulltime post at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City as a bank examiner and is excited that the role will allow him rotational stints in various areas of the company (for example, liquidity, management and financial analysis) to further diversify his experience there. He was first introduced to the Federal Reserve Bank through an internship at Stevens, and for two years he also took part in their College Federal Challenge, a team academic competition for undergraduate students. Among the topics he tackled was quantitative finance.
Rui pursued many opportunities in- and outside of class to explore his interest in economics, business, finance, and monetary policy, a curiosity he said grew from following the financial crisis events of 2007. Ample openings for student involvement and its proximity to Manhattan were significant factors in his choice to attend Stevens.
"I liked my program, and I was fortunate to have access to a wonderful group of peers and faculty," Rui said. "The size of Stevens is a great asset for students. I developed close relationships with everyone, including faculty and administration. Here, you won't have a class with someone once and then never see them again. My peers at other institutions certainly weren't saying that about their experiences. And the classes at Stevens are diverse; that is very true. The global influence here is extremely beneficial. Stevens really transformed my world view in many ways."
Major: Mechanical Engineering
As a Stevens Scholar, Ellyn is graduating with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in systems engineering. In addition to summer research in nanotechnology at Stevens, her involvements outside the classroom are more than impressive. Ellyn's activities include varsity field hockey (captain) as well as a stint on the track and field team her freshman year. She participated in two paid summer internships at L'Oreal in the company's Franklin, New Jersey manufacturing plant. Ellyn was one of only two juniors selected for the internship. She also served as a resident assistant, member of the leadership honor society Gear and Triangle, a student blogger for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, treasurer of her sorority, secretary of the Greek honor society, club field hockey coach, and a peer mentor.
In a fulltime position at L'Oreal, Ellyn will enter her new career through the company's Management Development Program, a rotational leadership program in which she'll work two or three rotations at various locations and in different job functions to then take on a managerial position within the company. Ellyn looks forward to her first placement at L'Oreal's manufacturing plant in Kentucky, where the majority of the company's hair care and hair styling products are made.
It's clear from her resume, Ellyn has lived the advice she gives to new students. "I would tell anyone entering Stevens that they can do anything here. Really, it's such a benefit to get involved," she said. "There is so much to do here, and you don't need to be intimidated by all the options. It's all about time management. Once you get that down, the sky's the limit!"
Major: Business and Technology
Employment: JPMorgan Chase
A business and technology major who minored in economics, Robert is graduating from Stevens with a fulltime position at JPMorgan Chase as an operations analyst, and he is looking forward to the challenge. He said the main draw to his program of study at Stevens was his dream to someday work for a top company on Wall Street. Although he had some ambivalence about pursuing that passion, he's grateful Stevens allowed him the opportunity to experience it first hand to see if it was good fit. Indeed, it was.
Not only did he get hands-on experience through an internship with the company during the summer concluding his junior year at Stevens, but Robert was also involved in a major project born from the Stevens Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED) program, which joins select students from the Stevens' Schaefer School of Engineering and Howe School of Technology Management to develop market plans centered around Stevens startup companies. The goal is to cultivate tomorrow's technology entrepreneurs through first-hand research and commercialization experience.
Like many of his peers, Robert leaves Stevens with appreciation for the diverse experiences available to students. "The opportunities available here really set Stevens apart from other schools," Robert said. "I was a varsity student athlete, had a competitive internship, handled a rigorous course load, and teamed up with peers, professors and business leaders to advance a new tool designed by a software startup company, ID8 Systems, within a new marketplace. And as if that wasn't enough, I had the chance to do more." At Stevens, Robert also served as a Resident Assistant and captain of the varsity wrestling team, played club men's lacrosse, was a peer mentor and Orientation Leader, and enjoyed being heavily involved in a fraternity.
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Isabel Anderson is launching from Stevens this year with more than bachelor’s degrees in naval engineering and history and a master’s degree in maritime systems. As if those accomplishments weren’t enough, she also graduates having the distinction of being Stevens’ first Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholar.
Created and facilitated by the Department of Defense (DOD), the SMART Scholarship for Service Program supports undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. As a SMART scholar, Isabel received a full scholarship to Stevens and will be employed at the DOD after graduation.
Isabel has navigated the waters – and started the journey to an exciting career – from an early age growing up in Washington, D.C., she said. Learning how to sail with Sea Scouts, a Boy Scouts co-ed Venture Scouting program geared toward water activities, proved to be a catalyst for realizing a passion turned college and career pursuit. From early experiences with the Sea Scouts, she said, she fell in love with boats. The rest is history.
It was during her sophomore year at The Lawrenceville School, a private high school in Lawrenceville, NJ, that Isabel decided she wanted to be a naval architect. She selected Stevens specifically for its Naval Engineering program. At Stevens, she was also able to continue sailing – as co-captain and crew member of the Stevens sailing team.
Isabel is grateful that the SMART scholarship has given her the opportunity to be exposed to wide range of extraordinary projects and unique experiences – at Stevens and also at the U.S. Navy’s Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, where during the course of her student career, she spent three summers working with the very team she’ll soon be joining at the DOD after graduation. The projects she worked on gave her first-hand experience in human systems integration – specifically in ergonomics and spatial design.
The curricula, research and design experience she received in Stevens’ undergraduate and graduate programs worked hand-in-hand with what she gained through practical summer experiences with the DOD. “Because Stevens has a broad curriculum program and requirements, I was exposed to a wide range of engineering coursework and experience,” she said. “I felt confident working in human systems integration for the DOD, for example, because of all that I was exposed to at Stevens.”
Working on an interdisciplinary team with mechanical engineers and computer science students to design, build and program an unmanned underwater vehicle for a research project sponsored by the Office of Naval Research was one of the highlights of her student career. The team went on to present the vehicle and findings with teams from the U.S. Naval Academy and Georgia Tech.
Regarding other factors that influenced her success, Isabel also gives credit to the opportunity to find a healthy balance between school work and ample breaks for recreation and fun. “I try to take advantage of any opportunities for new, different and challenging experiences,” Isabel said. “I love to travel and take every opportunity to visit friends and family members and to see the world.” Her recent destinations include Africa, South Korea, Thailand and Brazil.
At Stevens, Isabel also enjoyed being a tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, noting that it was especially rewarding to explain to prospective students how engineering can be fun and challenging at the same time. She also appreciates experiences she had as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity that allowed her to volunteer for events like the New York Marathon and also serve on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation and vehicle anchoring teams.
In the further distance, Isabel said, is a possible future in underwater engineering. For now, she’s grateful and happy to have been able to realize her passion and interests and continue to do so in an exciting job at the DOD. “I’ve been so lucky to have the SMART scholarship fund my education at Stevens,” she said. “Here, I was able to do what I loved and to be challenged. I worked with amazing students and faculty. I have an exceptional sense of accomplishment.”
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“Class of 2009, we are awesome!!” proclaimed valedictorian Michael Bertucci as he addressed administration, faculty, families, friends and his fellow graduates at the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony yesterday.
The weather was perfect and DeBaun Athletic Complex was filled with proud well-wishers honoring the Class of 2009. David Ladd spoke to the graduates, imparting valuable advice for the transition from school to the “real world” and quoted the popular Dr. Suess book Oh! The Places You’ll Go. Then Michael Bertucci took the podium, speaking of the extensive accomplishments of this year’s class, and encouraging his peers with the advice that as long as everyone keeps their eyes open to all possibilities, they will have much success.
Degrees were then conferred on 427 students by their respective Deans, as friends and families cheered them on. Following the recession, a reception was held on the lawn of the Schaefer Center honoring the newest crop of Stevens alumni.
UPDATED: Read a transcript of Governor Corzine's speech.
Profile By Nicole Moldovan ‘08 (Stevens News Service)
Dave Barker is a 5/5 senior, a term used by many students at Stevens Institute of Technology, denoting participation in the cooperative education program. Dave chose to do a five-year college plan, alternating semesters of study with real-world paid work experience. Roughly 600 students are currently enrolled in Stevens’ co-op program, meaning about 40 percent of the undergraduate student body opt to do this five year combination of classes and corporate experience, with 150 employers to choose from.
“It’s really the co-op program that brought me here to Stevens, even more so than its academic reputation,” says Dave. It was the overall strength in career development that caught his attention as a high school senior and that of his guidance counselors at Roselle Catholic in Roselle, N.J. Five years later, Dave feels he got what he expected – a well established program that has “really, really strong ties with many industries that makes the process easy for students.”
Watch the set up for Commencement 2008 in real time via our campus Web cam.
As of this week, 82.3 percent of the Class of 2008 have finalized their post-graduation plans, with 71.3 percent accepting job offers and 11 percent going on to graduate or professional school.
So far, the top employers of the Class of 2008 are:
URS – Washington Division
63 percent of the class received more than one job offer, with 24 percent receiving three job offers.