In an effort to increase the number graduate students from the U.S. – and boost the state workforce as a result – the School of Engineering this month hosted its first domestic graduate student recruiting event.
More than 50 students from across the U.S. came to UConn to learn more about the opportunities offered at UConn Engineering. The student candidates, who are pursuing either Masters’ or PhD degrees, came to campus to meet with Engineering faculty and students to learn more about the research, UConn initiatives and student life. Many of the candidates have received offers from multiple universities, but said they’re drawn to UConn due to the caliber of research here.
It’s crucial that the School recruit more students within the U.S., said Prof. Mei Wei, who serves as the Associate Dean for Graduate Education at the School of Engineering. Currently, fewer than 30 percent of the PhD candidates in the School are domestic. Increasing the number of U.S. students increases the chances that they stay in Connecticut after receiving their degrees. And that’s a huge advantage for the state’s industry and workforce, since it broadens the pool of candidates.
At the event, Dean Kazem Kazerounian spoke about the numerous initiatives at the School, impressing the candidates with the number of collaborations SoE has made with major companies such as Comcast, GE, UTC, FEI and Pratt & Whitney. The student candidates also met one-on-one with faculty members to discuss research topics in their fields. They also talked with peer graduate students about their research and daily life. Some candidates toured the labs and saw the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Representatives from the Student Association of Graduate Engineers (SAGE) talked to the candidates about activities and social life at UConn.
Based on the very positive feedback they received from the candidates, Wei said they plan to make it an annual event. “Many of the students we spoke to said they felt that it’s a very friendly and healthy environment for them to pursue higher degrees,” she said.
Graduate Outreach Manager Aida Ghiaei, who spoke to the candidates about fellowship opportunities, said all the School’s departments have held individual recruiting events in the past for graduate student candidates. “This was the first time, though, that we all focused our recruiting efforts as a whole,” said Ghiaei, adding that doing so gave the candidates a much more complete picture of everything that the School of Engineering has to offer.