The Career Advice Panel provides valuable lessons for engineering students

By Jue Wang

The Career and Leadership Advice Panel provides a series of recommendations to the transportation engineering students and help to equip them with professional skills to be more competitive in the future.

ISU hosted the 2016 Institute of Transportation Engineers Midwest Student Leadership Summit (ITEMSLS). It is an annual event to provide social activities, technical sessions, leadership workshops and banquet for students.

“It is the first session of the Midwest student leadership summit, and the Iowa State ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) was selected to host this conference due to our strong transportation program and central location in the Midwest,” Ellen Nightingale, the summit chair said. “We are very pleased to win this opportunity to host it in our school.”

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The career advice panel was one of the sessions in this summit. It found representation from academia, industry and government. During the session, the panelists shared working experience and provided the opportunity to answer questions that students had interested.

Since engineering students are confronted with various difficulties in academic and challenges in future, the panel mainly focuses on two suggestions for the students. JoNette Kuhnau, who’s the traffic engineer at Kimley-Horn, mentioned the knowledge and skills would be two valuable tools in future work.  She also stated due to the basic professional knowledge are correlative, trying to fully master them was very important. It would give students more initiatives to select the job they want to strive for. Other panelists also emphasized the importance of catching every opportunity and challenge.

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Panelists JoNette Kuhnau and Qilin Liu

Based on this panel, students gave positive feedbacks. Qilin Liu, the volunteer of the summit said, “I think this panel is really helpful. The speakers gave us many tips on how to polish the resume, how to leave a good impression on recruiters, and how to improve the probability to be hired.”

“Even though I am in the master of transportation engineering, I still have been worried whether it was wise to select this major. What if I change my mind and decide to transfer to another aspect of engineering, does it mean I am wasting my time on the thing I won’t use in future.  Since JoNette once transferred from civil engineering to consulting engineering, she gave me some suggestions, which were really valuable,” Liu said.

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