Fourteen Brookdale engineering graduates returned to campus on April 14 to share advice, answer questions and help current students take their next educational step during the 2017 Engineering Alumni Transfer Panel, held in the Student Life Center.
The panelists, including recent graduates studying at universities like Rutgers and NJIT and young professionals who recently entered the workforce, shared their experiences with the transfer process and provided a number of tips to help current students navigate the transition to a four-year university.
From tuition, class sizes and credit requirements to more logistical concerns over things like parking, commuting and available tutoring, attendees were able to get an inside look at some the region’s most popular transfer destinations for Brookdale engineering graduates.
“They have been through it,” said engineering and technology professor Lisa Hailey, who hosted the panel discussion. “There are a lot of bumps in the road when you transfer, or things that students just don’t know. I can tell them my experience, but that was a long time ago now. It’s not as fresh and relevant. Current students can definitely benefit from the experience of more recent graduates, many of whom are still studying at the universities they plan to transfer to.”
Dozens of students attended the program hoping to learn more about their transfer institution of choice and ask specific questions about the transfer process, university life and the differences between Brookdale and a four-year institution.
“I don’t want to give anyone any illusions. It’s not 20 people and Lisa [Hailey] in a classroom. But it wasn’t difficult,” said panelist Laura Ostar-Exel, currently a graduate student of mechanical engineering at Rutgers. “You just kind of have to make friends and sit together with a text book. It’s like here; peers help each other. At Rutgers, I think that is kind of the primary mechanic for learning outside of the lectures. Students helping each other, and then when they can’t solve a problem then they go to the professor.”
Panelists also provided some professional advice, encouraging students to take advantage of university career fairs, online job boards, available internships, co-ops and other opportunities to hone their career skills outside of the classroom.
“A lot of the professors are doing research themselves,” said Nick Marcouiller, a junior engineering major at Drexel University. “If you find that they are doing something interesting, they are always looking for either part-time help during the school year or during summer breaks. So keep that in mind.”
Panelists enrolled at the New Jersey Institute of Technology included: Shaun Cappelluti, a senior mechanical engineering major; Isat Osmanaj, a junior civil engineering major; Scott Kime, a senior mechanical engineering; Kenny Foreman, a senior mechanical engineering major; Jessie Cusanelli, a senior chemical engineering major; and Michael Eiras, a mechanical engineering major.
Panelists attending Rutgers included: Luiza Guazzelli, a junior civil engineering major; Laura Ostar-Exel, a graduate student of mechanical engineering; John O’Leary, a senior electrical engineering major; and Aimee Prendergast, an industrial engineering major.
Also joining the panel were Nurali Khananov, a Rutgers University graduate currently working as a civil engineer for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development; John Dywer, a chemical engineering graduate of NJIT currently working in the gas industry; Nick Marcouiller, a junior engineering major at Drexel University; and Gregory Widmaier, a senior mechanical engineering major at Stevens Institute of Technology.
For the current students and pending graduates in attendance, the program provided valuable insight into the transfer process and highlighted the importance of remaining connected with fellow Brookdalians long after graduation.
“For students who are looking ahead to graduation, this kind of connection is priceless,” said electrical engineering and physics major Joe Bongiorno. “From alumni to the students you are studying with, it’s so important to have people you can turn to. They are going through the same academic hardships as you, and they understand that kind of strain and the course-load you’re taking. The kinds of friendships and relationships that you make here, they will last a lifetime.”
Check out more photos of the Engineering Alumni Transfer Panel here.