Graduation Plans - Class of 2003

By Annie Adams

(Adams is a 2003 graduate, majoring in mechanical engineering and economics)

As I approached my graduation in May 2003, I was not surprised to find my friends and classmates entering a diverse array of career paths. One lab partner from a mechanical design class moved to Canada to pursue business, one classmate from an electrical engineering class moved to Detroit to design racing cars, and one study partner from a physics class plans to attend Divinity School. In fact, in last’s year’s graduating class, about one quarter pursued graduate engineering programs, 40 percent found jobs in engineering and business careers, 20 percent pursued professional degrees in law or medicine, 10 percent joined the military, and the last 5 percent pursued a surprising assortment of other careers. Pratt School of Engineering graduates find themselves in a strong position to not only succeed in their chosen engineering field, but also enter nearly all career pathsÂ… and I say this from personal experience.

As a May 2003 graduate, with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Economics, my background was viewed favorably in virtually all career paths that I investigated. When interviewing for mechanical and chemical engineering positions, firms appreciated the hands-on engineering design experience that I experienced through my coursework, through independent study projects and summer internships. When I spoke with engineering and management consulting firms, my analytic ability to break down problems and solve them piece-by-piece (learned through four years of toiling homework problems and exams questions) was a strength that pushed me through rounds of interviews. When investigating graduate school opportunities, not only my academic background but also my involvement with campus groups (like the DukEngineer) helped me distinguish myself. When interviewing for Wall Street positions, my engineering background showed that I was hard working, quantitative, and ready to take on any challenge.

So what is my point here? As anyone reading DukEngineer understands, Duke Engineering recruits and develops some of the most dynamic and promising undergraduates and positions us for whatever career path we choose to pursue. Certainly in such a challenging job environment, the ideal job is never easily (or quickly) attainable, yet the ambition needed to graduate from Pratt is the same ambition that will take any Pratt undergraduate into that graduate program or job that he desires.

Annie Adams currently works in New York as a Sales and Trading Analyst for Citigroup.

Some of our May 2003 graduates:

Amar Tanna
Amar Tanna, an Electrical and Biomedical Engineering double major, is one of many Duke Engineering undergraduates who have chosen to begin their career outside the field of engineering. Utilizing the strong analytic skills instilled in an engineering education, Tanna will apply these skills to a career at Lehman Brothers’ Investment Banking Division in New York City. “Investment Banking is something I have always wanted to learn,” Tanna said in an interview, “and I am confident that my engineering education has given me the skills I need to succeed.”

Deborah Seibold
Passionate about the field of Environmental Engineering, Deborah Seibold is pursuing a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering at Stanford University focusing on International Environmental Policy. “Some of the biggest issues in the upcoming decades will be affected by international environmental issues,” Seibold said in an interview. “ My Masters Degree will allow me to learn about these issues in depth and work internationally upon completion to help improve our environment.”

Joseph Baltz
“I have always loved biology and the sciences and I chose to major in biomedical engineering because I was attracted to how engineering made science practical,” Joseph Baltz said in an interview. An ideal combination of his biomedical engineering major and his talent for working with people, Joseph Baltz is studying to become a doctor and have patients of his own. Baltz is attending University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Mausumi Syamal
Mausumi Syamal chose to pursue Mechanical Engineering because it is one of the most versatile engineering majors one can pursue. “Whether you find your interests in mechanical, aerospace, biomedical, or electrical engineering, you can do it with a mechanical engineering degree.” Through her undergraduate education, Syamal confirmed her interest in Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Syamal worked at General Motors in the Advanced Vehicle Integration area this summer, a position that she plans to pursue full-time after completing her Masters.

Kyle Smith
Kyle Smith is currently pursuing graduate study in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Whitaker Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Smith, the 2002-2003 president of the Engineering Student Government, said one of the reasons that he tackled the challenge of Biomedical Engineering when he came to Duke is because “the human body is so complex and biomedical engineering allows for so many interesting things to study that have a significant impact.” He will continue to focus on biomedical research with the intention of becoming a professor.

Julia Wang
Julia Wang is excited to pursue a hands-on career applying her background in Biomedical Engineering. Techconnect 2002 was a meeting sponsored by the Department of Computer Science to bring engineering and computer science students together with industry recruiters for individual interactions and an insider’s look into tips and techniques for interviewing and resume writing. Wang, a Biomedical and Electrical Engineering double major, walked away from this meeting with not just a new technique for the job search, but actually her new job. Wang is currently working as a Tachyarrhythmia Field Engineer for Medtronic. As such, Julia administers and aids the implants of pacemakers and defibrillators in surgery. "This is truly a unique opportunity that I am excited to be a part of," Julia said in an interview.

Elizabeth Ralston
Elizabeth is described by her peers as a highly motivated, fun-loving, and focused individual. A Civil and Environmental Engineering double major, Elizabeth will be working for the County of Los Angeles in their Department of public works, Watershed Management division.

Sarah Donahue
Sarah Donahue is pursuing a unique career path for a talented Mechanical Engineering major. She is spending this year as an intern at the Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church working at the church, at a non-profit agency, and also taking classes in religion/seminary. Sarah plans to attend Divinity School next fall.

Raphael Alford
With a Biomedical and Electrical Engineering double-major, Raphael has always set his sights on pursuing a career in the field of medicine. Raphael is currently attending the program in medical sciences at Boston University School of Medicine.