By Kat J. McAlpine
UConn senior Sirjan Xhurxhi, who will graduate in May, is poised to begin a promising career at General Electric. He will participate in the company’s Edison Engineering Development Program, a prestigious opportunity for entry-level college graduates to combine job experience with graduate-level coursework. Sirjan will experience different job opportunities through rotational shifts at six-month intervals, culminating in a permanent job assignment after two years. In the process, he will complete graduate courses through GE which he can apply toward a master’s degree.
Earlier this year, Sirjan applied for a co-op with General Electric. During the co-op, GE tasked Sirjan with setting up a test facility for photovoltaic research. He was responsible for every aspect of the laboratory’s assembly; he researched simulation software and personally placed purchase orders for all the equipment he selected for the lab. The experience proved invaluable; the co-op culminated in Sirjan accepting an offer to join the highly esteemed Edison Program after his graduation.
Sirjan’s drive to succeed has been influenced by the encouragement and dedication of his high school teachers and UConn professors. In fact, he believes the impact of his instructors has been so crucial to his path in engineering that he hopes to complete the cycle and become a teacher himself one day. During his undergraduate years at UConn, Sirjan has acted as an informal student tutor after quickly realizing he was able to explain complex concepts to his classmates. The enjoyment he gains from helping others has led him to devote countless hours of his personal time to tutoring his peers and has earned him a reputation as a caring mentor.
As a commuter student, Sirjan was at first apprehensive that establishing relationships on campus would be challenging. However, he found that his concerns were quickly assuaged once he chose to involve himself in a variety of organizations within the university community. Sirjan is a member of UConn’s chapters of IEEE (Institute Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and OSA (Optical Society of America). In addition, Albanian-born Sirjan met fellow students who shared not only his interests but also his cultural background among members of the Albanian Student Association. The club’s members organize volunteer work, sponsor scholarships, and host social gatherings such EUROnight, an annual event that exclusively plays techno, trance and house music at a local venue. Furthermore, Sirjan was pleased to discover that after finishing the enormous, rather impersonal lecture courses of freshman year, he became good friends with many of his classmates from the intimately small classes of higher-level engineering courses. As such, he refers to the electrical engineering major as being a “club” in its own right.
In May’s commencement ceremony, Sirjan will receive his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with three minors: mathematics, physics and nano-technology. After graduation, Sirjan is looking forward to spending time with family in Albania before returning to Connecticut in June to begin his job at GE.