Engineering mentorship program offers new experience for freshmen and sophomores

The Engineering Center of St. Louis is offering a College Engineering Mentorship Program to freshmen and sophomore engineering students.


The program’s goal is to give engineering students guidance on what will be expected of them in an engineering career. The students will be assigned to engineering mentors by the Engineering Center. They will shadow these mentors to be introduced to professional engineering. Christopher Gordon of the associate dean of the School of Engineering, said he is excited about the investment of local companies in SIUE’s students. 


“It’s very exciting our local industry is investing in the future of the industry by connecting with our students and really helping our students learn more about the possible directions they can go, making informed decisions on what they’re passionate about,” Gordon said.


Gordon said the School of Engineering is happy to take part in the program.


“It’s geared towards connecting our students with regional professionals to give them more exposure to the opportunities that are available in their areas of interest. So we’re very excited about participating in this new program,” Gordon said. 


Gordon said this program’s virtual format allows students and mentors to connect instantly.


“What we learned about remote instruction and virtual communication, it really opens up new opportunities to connect and seek mentorship remotely or in person. So with this program, it’s focused on connecting students and professionals, however that works out. With any of these programs, there is that opportunity for just personal communication that really provides instant access to mentorship,” Gordon said. 


To be eligible for the program, students must be a freshman or sophomore in an engineering  or engineering related program and fill out an application on the Engineering Center’s website. Civil Engineering Professor Brad Cross said the program is a great experience for  students. 


“If there can be a shadowing of practicing engineers, they’ll get a really good idea of what the job is actually like, so it could help them make decisions, [like]whether they want to be an engineer and what area of engineering they want to go into,” Cross said. 


Cross also said this program can be a good start for engineering students who are unsure about a career in the field.


“It is a good starting off point, especially for freshmen who aren’t exactly sure what they want to do. They may have some ideas about the way things are out in the world, but once they get involved in a program like that, they get a much better sense if they’re going to like that particular type of job,” Cross said. 


Serdar Celik, a professor of mechanical engineering and mechatronics, said the mentorship program can also offer many advantages to SIUE engineering students.


“I think there are two significant advantages here. One of them is the students will be expanding their network, and obviously, having a network is important. The second thing is they’ll benefit from the experiences of the engineers of the greater St. Louis area, in regards to both technical and business-related aspects,” Celik said.


The program is designed to have engineering students mentored by local engineering professionals. Companies that are participating in the program are Burns & McDonnell, CCI (Code Consultants), Cincinnati Insurance Co., Civil Design, Inc., EFK Moen, Farnsworth Group Inc., FM Global, GBA, HDR Inc., Lochmueller Group, Oates Associates, Reitz & Jens Inc., Steward Steel Inc., and Vestal Corporation.


To learn more about the program, visit the Engineering Center of St Louis’ website.

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