Carnegie Mellon University
March 10, 2014

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon's Real World Engineering Program Gives Students Head Start in Competitive Marketplace

Students Get Firsthand Look at What Job Market Has To Offer

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /

PITTSBURGH—Fourteen Carnegie Mellon University engineering students will network with industry leaders and get valuable job advice March 12-14 in the annual Real World Engineering (RWE) Program in Washington, D.C.

In a program sponsored by CMU's College of Engineering, students shadow engineering professionals, attend a networking reception with alumni and D.C. industry professionals, and tour Lockheed Martin's Energy Solutions Center and Space Experience Center.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to see firsthand what the job market has to offer and to get valuable tips from industry leaders," said Treci Bonime, director for undergraduate studies at CMU's College of Engineering. "It is important to keep students interested in engineering due to the increasing need for these skilled workers."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 24 percent of the engineering workforce will retire by 2020, taking with them an incredible amount of skill and knowhow. Estimates are the U.S. will need more than 365,000 engineers in that same time frame to keep pace with attrition.

At Carnegie Mellon, students are asked to broaden their experiences as members of interdisciplinary and diverse teams that tackle everything from energy and environmental policy to exploring the overlap between biological systems and design.

"I attended the RWE program last spring and was assigned to shadow prosthetics work at Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital. It was an incredible experience," said Anne Alcasid, a senior mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering major from Orlando, Fla.

Benjamin Paren, a sophomore majoring in materials science and engineering and engineering and public policy from Naperville, Ill., also praised the RWE program. "The program was extremely valuable in exposing me to many of the different types of work that incorporate both engineering and public policy. Between job shadowing and meeting with many people from different organizations, many doors were opened for me in terms of understanding what kinds of jobs I could have in the future," Paren said.

Both Paren and Alcasid will ultimately join an economy that is expected to add more well-paying STEM jobs. In the U.S., the average college graduate earning a STEM degree earns about $78,000 annually compared to the overall average of about $43,000 for all college grads.

The RWE program gives students access to job leads as well as top business, industry and government leaders. Last year, CMU students heard Paul Parfomak, a specialist at the Congressional Research Service speak. This year, students will hear from Tobin Smith, vice president for policy at the Association of American Universities, an organization of 62 leading U.S. and Canadian research universities. He also is the co-author of a book about national science policy titled "Beyond Sputnik-U.S. Science Policy in the 21st Century."

The 2014 CMU RWE participants are Jonathan Dyer, Thomas Murray, Shahana Ganesharajah, Veronica Jaime-Lara, Divya Kothandapani, Roslyn Lee, John McDonald, Edward Cao, Grant Langevin, Nicholas Tan, Wing Tung Wong, Grace Yee, Lyinoluwa Akinlabi-Oladimeji and Jaime Chu.