Submitted by Middlesex Community College
A leader of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, Middlesex Community College is hosting the annual Engineering Panel Night from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the Bedford Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.
“This event promotes student success and motivates students to continue their education, even when it feels difficult to do so,” said Cris Algarra, MCC’s Chair of Engineering. “Our population of students work, study, they’re parents, they have different struggles. When they hear people on a panel sharing that they also had these challenges but were able to overcome them and become an engineer, they will see themselves reflected in those people.”
MCC’s Engineering department will welcome six professionals in the field to share their personal stories, including three MCC alumni panelists. They will discuss how they decided on working in engineering, where they went to school, their career paths, and the challenges they faced.
An MCC graduate, Taylor Fossey now works at Petersen Engineering. Having once attended the panel as a student, Fossey appreciates being able to return to the college and speak to the audience in this different role.
“My presence shows students their preferred career isn’t out of reach,” Fossey said. “It’s important to me to share how recently I was in the very same position asking the very same questions. Now I work daily with my team to consult on and design sustainable MEP/FP building systems, making a positive impact to the environment across New England.”
As an Assistant Professor of Practice for Merrimack College’s Civil Engineering Department, Jared Peterson teaches a variety of engineering courses and labs. At the panel, Peterson hopes to show students how they are responsible for finding opportunities for their career paths.
“Do not wait for things to change if you are unhappy or are looking for something different, be the driving force,” Peterson said. “Stay/get involved in professional organizations and causes you care about – this will compliment your day-to-day work and be terrific networking opportunities. Most importantly, it will make you a more wholesome engineer and provide you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.”
Douglas Marquis is a senior staff member in the space systems analysis and test group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Having worked in many parts of engineering, Marquis looks forward to sharing his four decades of experience working as an engineer with MCC students.
“I hope that students can – either by listening to a short overview or asking direct questions – understand things they can do now to increase their chances of success,” Marquis said. “I certainly attribute things I did as an undergraduate to whatever success I’ve achieved since.”
“Hearing from people who started at the same school gives more value and meaning to a community college education,” Algarra said. “Students listen to people who were once in their position now currently working in the industry and see where MCC’s programs can lead them.”