The Office of Engineering Professional Practice in the Tickle College of Engineering was founded in 1926 to help engineering students add experience to their education and prepare for the transition from student to employee.
In the 94 years since, the office has placed countless untold thousands in academically relevant paid co-op and internship opportunities, many of which came about thanks to one of the two expos it holds, one each in the spring and fall.
The spring edition returned again this week, setting records for student and company participation for the fourth consecutive year. With 103 companies registering to attend and over 920 students participating as well.
“The expos are our premiere events, as far as the sheer amount of interactions between students and businesses,” said Todd Reeves, director of the office. “The knowledge our coop and internship students get through opportunities gained at these events can help shape their lives long after they’ve graduated thanks to the connections made and experiences they’ve had.”
Tennessee companies such as AMS Corporation, Bridgestone, FedEx, Jewelry Television, KUB, MAHLE, McKee Foods, MLGW, Oshkosh Manufacturing, Pictsweet, Pilot Flying J, Radio Systems, Strongwell, TDOT, and TVA were among those taking part, as were more nationally known organizations including ABB, Amazon, AT&T, Brasfield & Gorrie, CDM Smith, Colgate, DENSO, Discovery Network, Duke Energy, Emerson, Garmin, MAHLE, PepsiCo, Siemens, Shaw Industries, Southern Company, Texas Instruments, and Trimble.
Through the office, more than 1000 businesses maintain contact, with more than 2000 undergraduate engineering students interacting with them each year, helping them achieve more than 700 annual placements with participating companies.
“I think the engineering expo is a really valuable experience for all types of engineers,” said Riley Toll, a junior in biomedical engineering. “There is a lot of opportunity for students to talk to companies, make connections, and get more hands-on experience.”
Toll interned at Siemens in the past and was serving as a recruiter for them this year, giving her a unique perspective on the expo from both sides.
During the expo, students meet one-on-one with prospective employers on the first day, with the second day set aside for students to go through a formal interview process with companies that share a mutual interest in bringing them on board.
Participation in the program is seen as essential by the Tickle College of Engineering, with nearly 70 percent of eligible students taking part.